My greatest insight is that action research never stops for an administrator who wishes to improve his/her own practice. I learned that action inquiry does not have a start and completion date, but is an area an administrator must make time to do. It is a continuous and ongoing process. As one wondering concludes, it spurs new questions.
I learned that collaborating and sharing my ideas is key in action research. While viewing and commenting on research with my colleagues through our blogs, there are multiple perspectives on the research and considering the viewpoint of others will strengthen my research and provide different perspectives validity to the research. Lamar cohort, Lori Ramsey, comments on my blog,
“We have to keep parents informed on the child's academic performance. Their support of retention or passing is vital. Also, comparing the data of the retained group to the group that was passed on will help show whether or not your tools for deciding on retention are a good predictor. And finally, teachers have to pay close attention to the performance of the children that were retained otherwise it is a waste to hold the child back.” (Ramsey, 2013)
Lori Ramsey’s comment on my blog reiterates the need to back up our stances on our action research and work with parents so the parents, as stakeholders, understand our reasoning.
A theme throughout the course has been the administrators must exemplify learning. “Principals, like teachers, need and treasure collegiality and peer support. Yet, perhaps even more than teachers, principals live in a world of isolation…” (Barth, 1990) I can be a part of Professional Learning Communities to accomplishing this goal. I will need the support of a working group of administrators, whether in a monthly meeting forum or through online collaboration. Teachers’ and other administrators’ action inquiry can be transferred to my own practice by using the five quality indicators to assess their action research (Dana, 2009). As my colleagues work through their action research, I can reflect upon their inquiries to make informed decisions in my educational practice.
As I become an administrator, I must be a “Head Learner” as referred to throughout the Dana text. I can also work with teachers within Professional Learning Communities utilizing Nominal Group Technique (Harris, 2009, pg.96) to provide support for strategies that work well within our school and problem solve and build consensus. As a part of this collaboration, I want to inspire action research within my own school and among my own peer group of future administrators.
To add support to action research, I will lead by sharing my own research when it is finished by using some of the techniques for oral presentations and write-ups discussed in Chapter 5 of the Dana text. I enjoyed the planning process of the research and I am anxious to dive into the research element of the inquiry. I am interested in sharing this process with teachers and think it may be a fulfilling way of professional development. I could begin by coaching others through the action research process to help others inquire about their own wonderings. As teachers begin their own research inquiries, the benefits will multiply and the wheels of educational improvement will turn.
Barth, R. S., & Guest, L. S. (1990). Improving schools from within: teachers, parents, and principals can make the difference. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Dana, N. F. (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge: the principal as action researcher. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press, a Joint Publication with the American Association of School Administrators.
Harris, S., Edmonson, S., & Combs, J. P. (2010). Examining the Work: Sustaining Improvement. Examining what we do to improve our schools: 8 steps from analysis to action (pp. 91-103). Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
Ramsey, Lori. (2013, February 10) Re: CARE about Action Research [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://stacywilliamsok.blogspot.com/2013/02/ CARE about Action Research.html