Action Research Final Thoughts

What defines action research is a data driven course of action to correct a deficiency.  After all that has been said and done, the concept of action research is about identifying a problem, gather some data about it, analyze that data to weed out variables, then plan to fix it.  The emphasis is on fixing the problem that has been discovered; hence the ‘action’.  This can be intellectualized, but regardless, the result is what matters. 

I loved what Chris had to say about the reflection aspect.  Reflection is a shallow term that points to a rather shallow process.  I can reflect on the pot of coffee I made this morning, but there is nothing quantifiable or action related to prod or assist me into making a better pot tomorrow.  Honestly, my opinion of the coffee could change from day to day.  As he pointed out, reflection seems to hinge too much on opinion and not so much on data.  I agree, the simple act of reflection is too subjective and is less valuable in the classroom setting.  Action research calls for a deeper look with a corrective action to follow.

This is not a new invention of the wheel, but a method that has been around for a long time and has been packaged with many different names.  So too in the classroom, however, the classroom has an added element.  The article, “It’s About the Kids” (Rogers et al., 2007) points out that teacher conducted research is a fantastic tool that can be used to dig deeper into the lives of the students and has often been shown to develop positive teacher/student relationships.  As teachers our first and foremost charge is to put our students first and learn who they are as learners.  Action research is certainly a great tool to use for honing teaching skills, but I really found common ground with this line from Leslie Burdick: “With all research done in classrooms, we must make sure we are focusing on the students and how our research can improve their learning.”  The students must always come first. 

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One thought on “Action Research Final Thoughts

  1. I understand what you are saying about reflecting. I am not sure I totally agree that it is less valuable. If you chose not to take action then yes I totally agree. But why reflect if you are not going to do anything about it? Personally I find notes (reflections) around the class that I have left at the end of the day. I then enter that data into my lesson plan for the next time I decide to use that plan. Or a note about partners that worked well or didn’t work at all. Reflecting is very powerful and useful when You have follow through. The follow through is the part that many miss unfortunately.
    If you are comparing reflection to Action research then I would then agree that is is less valuable due to the factor of data collection. Data is powerful and multiple sources of data are even more valuable. That is another point that I am trying hard to work into my research is the multiple points of data so I can look at it from different perspectives.

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