With action research, or, as Dana (2009) describes it, “administrator inquiry” (pg. 2), I focus on an issue that is right in my own realm of responsibility. Once that focus area is narrowed to one that is manageable, I search for information/literature that can help with the issue. Often times, another educator has been in a similar situation, and a possible solution might just be nearby! Data gathering, another component necessary in action research, can include not only disaggregated test data, but also discussions with stakeholders, diagnostic tests, and samples of work. At this point, I have narrowed the problem, read applicable literature, and gathered appropriate data, so now it’s time, as Harris et. al (2010) states, for “taking action for improvement” (pg. 6). Basically, I develop a plan to put in to action that will, hopefully resolve the issue. Personal reflection and sharing the actions/results with coworkers, parents, administrators is one of the most important components of action research. Reflection allows teachers to gain confidence in their decision making and sharing can result in the creation of learning communities where all members benefit (Ringler, 2007).
Time consuming? Yes. But definitely worth it since it’s beneficial for not only the students, but also the educator, the administrators, and the school!
Fichman, Nancy Dana (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action researcher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Harris, S., Edmonson, S., and Combs, J. (2010). Examining what we do to improve our schools: 8 steps to improve our schools. Eye on Education Press.
Ringler, Marjorie (2007). Action research an effective instructional leadership skill for future public school leaders. AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, 4(1), 27-37.