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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Week 2 Reflection-Action Research


As I reflect over the last week, I have learned that the opportunities for action research abound.  I found no shortage of possible topics for action research.  In fact, sometimes it became difficult to decide which inquiry to complete first. Inquiry was modeled for me as I conferenced with my principal.  She probed me with further questions on each topic that I proposed until we narrowed it down to one inquiry with resonated with her.  This question “What is the relationship between students who were part of a Transitional-First Grade (T1) class or retained in elementary and their success at the end of middle school or in high school?”  I can see how the answer to this action inquiry may be a jumping off point for other similar action inquiries.

As I connected the assigned reading from Dana in Chapter 2 to everyday life in a school, I noticed that almost any part of a principal’s day can lead to an action research question.  I think administrators can often collaborate with teachers and other principals to conduct inquiries of the most important topics. Principals as part leadership groups should conduct ongoing action research.  I also noticed that teachers already do a tremendous amount of action research in the curriculum area or for the individual student although it may not be written up in a formal report.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Action Research Learning and Blog Use

Action Research

I have learned that action research is different than educational research.  It focuses on the concerns of administrators, as the people conducting the research, rather than the concerns of researchers from outside the school.  Action research connects theory to practice.  It allows me to pose a question or a “wondering” and collect data about a question.  When I combine analysis of the data and related literature, I can take action or make changes based on the inquiry results.  Since I am part of the research process, I will have a greater vested interest in the results and more likely to bring changes based on the results.  Action research should be part of a normal routine of an administrator because it is a continuous cycle of reflection and action. This fortifies the best practices at the school.

I can use action research to be a role model to teachers and students.  By practicing what I preach, I can be a “head learner”.  Action research can be part of professional learning communities with other administrators.  As an administrator, I can form leadership teams within my own school to further inquiry and have greater participative decisions for policies and strategic planning, and program coordination.  I can use district meetings or professional development time to allow teachers and staff to share their own action research.  By researching and answering burning questions, I can become even more proactive rather than reactive.  Action research leads me to become more intentional with my actions.

 Blog Use Analysis

Educators can use blogs to share ongoing thoughts and questions with both large and small audiences or just as an educational diary.  Research can be shared with colleagues who are hundreds, even thousands, of miles away.  It takes fleeting ideas or wonderings further than a moment’s thought.  Inquiry questions, thoughts, and answers are logged in blogs for future reference. Blogs can capture presentations for people unable to attend. It can be a multimedia interactive diary of thoughts.  Other people can comment and share insight or discuss questions or thoughts.