Week 2 Journal: Action Research
Ashford University: EDU 694
According to Mill’s (2011, as cited in Mertler, 2017) , Action research is defined as any systematic inquiry conducted by teacher, administrators, counselors, or others with a vested interest in the teaching and learning process or environment for the purpose of gathering information how their particular schools operate how they teach, and how their students learn (chap. 1.1).
Educators who engage in action research ultimately find it to be a beneficial experience. Teachers who collect their data to assist in decisions about their students and classrooms become empowered. The most important aspect is that action research is always relevant and valid to the participants. “Teacher empowerment allows teachers to bring into their classrooms their own unique expertise, talents, and creativity so that they can implement instructional programs to best meet the needs of their students” (Johnson, 2008).
The use of action research can be a valuable and powerful tool for bringing change and developing a professional practice (Lloyd, 2002, pg.5). The purpose of new and alternative methods for teaching can improve students’ engagement. After identifying an area of focus where a student is struggling, the next step is to collect data (Mills, 2011). There are multiple ways to collect data and include your students in the process. Incorporating new technology into the classroom to support the student’s needs will allow data collecting easier, and begin a plan of action. Depending on the age range of your students, the technology can be modified to fit your classroom needs. The options in technology are endless. There are many alternative methods that will fit the needs of your classroom and students as well. As an action researcher and educator, you may see fit to find an alternative mathematic game for individual students, or in groups. The steps in action research empowers an educator leading to the social-emotional bonds of a safe classroom environment. When students are safe in the environment, their cognitive abilities flourish. According to McMahon (1997, as cited in Lyna et al…2016), “learning is neither a process that takes place only inside our minds nor is it a passive development of our behaviors shaped by external forces”.
In other words, “meaningful learning occurs when individuals are engaged with social activities from which relationships are formed through interacting with others” (Lyna et al… 2016). With action research, an educator can understand their student’s needs, find data to support their focus, develop a plan with alternative methods, and reflect with ongoing emotional support. Combining action research, and alternative teaching methods creates better relationships and builds safer environments.
Johnson, A. P. (2008). A short guide to action research (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Lloyd, C. (2002). Developing and Changing Practice in Special Educational Needs through Critically Reflection Action Research. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 17(2), 109-127. Retrieved from http://people.westminstercollege.edu/faculty/jsibbett/Supplemental%20Readings/Deveopingandchangingpractice.pdf
Lyna, Loong Hung, D., & Chong, S. (2016). Promoting teachers’ instructional practices in alternative assessments through teacher collaboration. Educational Research for policy & Practice, 15(2), 131.
Mertler, C. A. (2017). Action research: Improving schools and empowering educators (5th ed.) [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/