Friday, 3 October 2014

CLASSROOM ACTION RESEARCH



INTRODUCTION
Teaching and learning centers provide an array of programs and services to assist the instructor who is struggling or the excellent teacher looking for something new. The pedagogical tools suggested can range from collaborative group work to problem-based learning to on-line instruction. The dilemma facing the individual instructor is choosing from a myriad of teaching strategies to use in a particular classroom situation. Factors such as class size, content area, and student demographics play a role. The instructor’s own skills and style are also critical factors. Classroom Action Research (CAR) is systematic inquiry with the goal of informing practice in a particular situation. CAR is a way for instructors to discover what works best in their own classroom situation, thus allowing informed decisions about teaching. 
CAR occupies a midpoint on a continuum ranging from teacher reflection at one end to traditional educational research at the other. It is more data-based and systematic than reflection, but less formal and controlled than traditional educational research. Instructors use data readily available from their classes in order to answer practical questions about teaching and learning in their classrooms.  Further CAR integrates the two faculty roles of teaching and scholarship and is one form of the scholarship of teaching and learning (Cross & Steadman, 1996). Methods of conducting classroom action research projects are diverse, and easily mastered by faculty from any discipline.


DISCUSSION
A.    Definition of Classroom Action Research (CAR)
Classroom Action Research is the integration of teaching and scholarship [where] instructors use data readily available from their classes to answer practical questions about teaching and learning in their classrooms,”. It is less formal than traditional educational research, but more systematic and data-based than teacher reflection
Action Research is a process in which participants examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully using the techniques of research.  It is based on the following assumptions:
·         teachers and principals work best on problems they have identified for themselves;
·         teachers and principals become more effective when encouraged to examine and assess their own work and then consider ways of working differently;
·         teachers and principals help each other by working collaboratively;
·         working with colleagues helps teachers and principals in their professional development.
Action research is the process through which teachers collaborate in evaluating their practice jointly; raise awareness of their personal theory; articulate a shared conception of values; try out new strategies to render the values expressed in their practice more consistent with the educational values they espouse; record their work in a form which is readily available to and understandable by other teachers; and thus develop a shared theory of teaching by researching practice.

B.     Steps in Classroom Action Research (CAR)
The CAR process includes seven manageable steps. Instructors may complete small projects within a single semester, while projects more ambitious in scope might require planning ahead or collecting data over several semesters. 
·      Step 1: Identify a question.
A good question has three major qualities. First, the question is significant to your classroom situation. Second, the research findings will lead to action, such as keeping or changing a teaching strategy. Third, the question should lead to a project that is feasible in terms of time, effort, and resources. 
·      Step 2: Review the literature.
You need background information on your question, but a brief review of secondary sources is adequate for these purposes.
·      Step 3: Plan a research strategy.
There is no single best strategy for data collection. Depending on your research question, you might gather data about individual students or an entire class.
·      Step 4: Collect data.
This data could be quantitative (e.g. test scores, grades, survey results) or qualitative (e.g. dialogue from focus groups or class discussions).
·      Step 5: Analyze data.
The goal of data analysis is to look for patterns.
·      Step 6: Take action based on results.
Your research findings should inform your teaching decisions.
·      Step 7: Share your findings.
Teaching can be a solitary activity, with successes and failures rarely acknowledged to others.

C.    Techniques For Gathering Data
1.       Interviews with students, parents, teachers
2.       Checklists of skills, behaviors, abilities, movement, procedures, interactions, resources
3.       Portfolios of a range of work from students of different abilities around a particular topic; a representation of a total experience; a collection of documents for analysis
4.       Individual files of students' work (e.g., tapes, samples of work, art work, memos, photos of models/projects, reports), of students' opinions; of student attitudes, of students' experiences
5.       Diaries/journals written by teachers, students, parents, class groups, teachers
6.       Field notes/observation records - informal notes written by a teacher
7.       Logs of meetings, lessons, excursions, school expectations, material used
8.       Student-teacher discussion/interaction - records of comments and thoughts generated by students
9.       Questionnaires of attitudes, opinions, preferences, information
10.   Audiotapes of meetings, discussions in class or about data gathered, games, group work, interviews, whole class groups, monologues, readings, lectures, demonstrations.
11.   Videotapes of classrooms, lessons, groups, demonstrations, a day in a school, lunch times
12.   Still photography of groups working, classrooms, faces, particular students over time, at fixed intervals in a lesson
13.   Time-on-task analysis of students, teachers; over a lesson, a day, a week
14.   Case study - a comprehensive picture/study of a student or a group of students

D.    Characteristic of Classroom Action Research
1.    Identification and formulation of the problem should allow for examination by CAR.
2.    Formulation problem formulated properly and clearly so that researchers can easily put the theory or conceptual framework in solving problems and alternative solutions appropriate action.
3.    Formulation of the problem and appropriate action to the problems faced will allow researchers to formulate hypotheses and collect data action research .
4.    Formulation of action should reflect conformance with less issues, and suggests changes or better improvement.
5.    Problem in action research is different from the problem research in general (conventional) because the researchers directly involved in CAR.
6.    Election problem TOD meet the following criteria: (a) to make a change , improvement or performance improvement process (learning process) ; (b) have a direct impact on researchers that foster self- dn willingness to always make efforts to repair and (c) foster a culture of research and make the teacher a researcher.

E.     Conducting Classroom Action Research
Conducting classroom action research can be a rewarding yet challenging endeavor. Having a well-defined plan will make the process go more smoothly and result in more interesting and useful research. There are several models you can follow to conduct classroom action research, but at its most basic form you will:
  1. Identify a problem or research question(s).
  2. Plan the research (including a literature review and theory of understanding or conceptual framework).
  3. Collect and organize data.
  4. Analyze data and make interpretations.
  5. Reflect on the process and what you learned.
  6. Share findings and take action.
  7. Repeat the cycle with new questions or problems found in your research.

F.      Advantages of Classroom Action Research
1.      Improve your teaching. CAR will help you discover what works best in your own classroom situation. It is a powerful integration of teaching and scholarship that provides a solid basis for instructional decisions. CAR’s easily mastered techniques provide insights into teaching that result in continual improvement.
2.      Document your teaching. Course materials and teaching evaluations are a good beginning for documentation, and peer observations and student work samples add depth. CAR adds a new dimension to documentation by providing both a measure of teaching effectiveness and a record of continuous improvement. These projects are particularly appropriate for teaching portfolios, where they complement descriptions of teaching strategies and student learning.
3.      Renew your excitement in teaching. CAR provides a new lens for examining your teaching. Learning the methods of conducting CAR projects can provide an interesting challenge, and discussing your project findings can open a whole new area for teaching discussions with colleagues. 

G.    Research Methods
1.      Setting Research
Setting the research describe when and where the research will be conducted, which includes the study subjects who, how many, how their characteristics and their collaborators should also be included .
2.      Procedure research
Includes procedures that will be implemented in the TOD as follows:
a.       Plan (Describe the planning procedure) :
v  Problem identification plan and how to establish the actual state .
v  Alternative plan of action which may be done in learning that is used to change , develop and improve learning .
v  Plan for the provision of the necessary means and media research
b.      Implementation measures (Describe the implementation of the action steps that will be performed that includes strategies what will be done , what materials will be taught or discussed)
c.       Monitoring. Stages describes monitoring :
v Any monitoring tool to be used in monitoring the implementation of the actions and events during execution of the action
v Anyone who is doing the monitoring officer
d.      Reflection (Describe how to reflect on the implementation of measures based on the results of monitoring)




CONCLUSION

Classroom Action Research is a method of finding out what works best in your own classroom so that you can improve student learning. There are many ways to improve knowledge about teaching. Many teachers practice personal reflection on teaching, others conduct formal empirical studies on teaching and learning. Classroom Action Research is more systematic than personal reflection but it is more informal and personal than formal educational research.
The goal of Classroom Action Research is to improve your own teaching in your own classroom, department, or school. While there is no requirement that the findings be generalized to other situations the results can add to knowledge base. Classroom Action Research goes beyond personal reflection to use informal research practices such as a brief literature review, group comparisons, and data collection and analysis. Validity is achieved through the triangulation of data. The focus is on the practical significance of findings, rather than statistical or theoretical significance.
Findings are usually disseminated through brief reports or presentations to local colleagues or administrators.



REFERENCES
http://www.drawntoscience.org/educators/action-research/classroom-action-research-1.html



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