This paper is sectioned to four parts. Part one gives features of action research that may help an individual continue to move towards autonomy/to develop as a professional. In addition it illustrates the importance of literature review as well as sources of information appropriate for action research.
Part two reviews Mills work and considers Maxwell/Kemmis and McTaggart model and gives their common features. Part three evaluate the need and ways in which action research model might need to be adapted to the realities on classroom practice. Finally, the paper shows why developing a good level of each one of the NSW Institute of Teachers’ standards separately does not mean that you are a competent teacher.
Part One: What are the particular features of action research that you think will help you continue to move towards autonomy/to develop as a professional? Why do you think this? A number of authors place great emphasis upon the literature early in the action research process. Why is this? Where can knowledge be found (apart from in libraries) that is relevant to the action research?
Donato (2003) says that action research is carried out by teachers for their own use. It is localized, small scale as well as contextualized. These features help a developing professional to be focused in ascertaining, developing and entrenching changes to practice (Donato 2003). In addition, the features of action research help an individual to gain knowledge of dealing with “collaborative cultures of change.”
In particular, these features enable one to have clear knowledge about the organization as well as apparition and insight. Further, they make one to search for extra knowledge and feel the need to have enhanced performance. In addition, they compel one to uphold “self-reflective activity” and desire to enact change (Wallace 2000). In conducting action research literature review is required.
According to Mertler (2005), literature review is “an examination of journal articles, documents, books, and other sources” of importance to action research. Literature review early in research process enables an individual to identify a topic and streamline its focus. In addition, literature review helps one to collect information necessary for crafting research design and the overall project (Mertler 2005). Further, one may get illustrations of classroom application, study queries, hypotheses as well as “methods of data collection” and analysis (Wallace 2000).
Literature early in a project may also unearth studies which could be steadily replicated in an area of study or give potential answers to study problems (Mertler 2005). Furthermore, literature review may help one to connect his research with what others have accomplished and this helps to save time. It also enhances an individual’s ability to teach besides becoming more knowledgeable in the area of research. Apart from library this information can be retrieved from the internet sources like online peer reviewed journals. In addition, one may gather information from “self-reflection, descriptive activities, and explanatory activities” (Mertler 2005)
Part two: Review Mills (pp 15-20) and read Mills (pp. 22-48). Consider the Maxwell/Kemmis & McTaggart model (Lim 2007). What features are common to all?
According to Kemmis and McTaggart as quoted by Lim (2007), action research “is systematic and reflective”. In Kemmis and McTaggart model, action research has 4 stages that occur in a cycle. These are “planning, acting, observing and reflecting” (Lim 2007). Mills (2010) also gave action research process consisting of 4 stages which he termed “dialectic action research spiral”. The stages are; identifying an area of study, collecting data, analyzing and interpreting data and developing action plan with all stages intertwining data collection. The two models have four phases with common features like planning which involves identifying an area of interest, observing which entails data collection, and developing which involves crafting an action plan.
The two models are intended to help create an action plan to address problems in our learning institutions. This plan of action is developed by orderly process of data collection and analysis (Lim 2007). Further, “the research phase precedes the action phase in such models”.
Part three: Models are a representation. Evaluate the ways in which an AR model might need to be adapted to the realities of classroom practice. Why might this be so? Illustrate
The action research models put less emphasis on authenticating the action plan developed. In addition, these models may fail to cover a broad range of action research already carried out. In current studies investigating “implementation of new teaching strategies to address certain issues pertaining to teaching and learning”, action stage comes before research stage since the study is aimed at unearthing results of new learning strategies (Lim 2007). Action research model gives theoretical outline for a project and thus the need to adapt a more balanced model. A balanced action research model constitutes of two research stages- one before action phase and the other after action stage.
The action research model would entail identifying research problem, comprehending the research problem through reading relevant literature, coming up with an action plan and implementing as well as validating the action plan. The final step involves report writing (Lim 2007).
Part Four: If you have developed a good level of each one of the NSW Institute of Teachers’ standards separately does that mean that you are a competent teacher? Illustrate
Developing good level of the NWS Institute of Teachers’ standards separately does not make one to be a competent individual. These standards are very narrow and school based and this “would exclude some teachers who also work beyond the school for the profession as a whole” (ETA 2010). In addition, internet has made the issue of viewing teaching practice as school based look awkward.
These professionals can teach or communicate to various schools online. Further the concept does not acknowledge activities conducted by teachers outside learning institutions even for those who serve as community leaders. Furthermore, continued “diminution of subject centred criteria” implies that teachers cannot be “leader within one’s own discipline and needs to move out of the classroom to achieve this standard” (ETA 2010). Teachers should reconsider their criterion and understanding of training as well as learning with a motive to grow their individual professional praxis.
Action research has key features in that it is localized, small scale as well as contextualized. Literature review is import as it enlightens a researcher through the worker of other. Such information can be accessed from the internet as well as self-reflection, descriptive activities and explanatory activities. Action research models involve planning, observing and developing of action plan. Action research models may need some adaptations in real class activity so as to eliminate some of their shortcomings. Attaining NWS Institute of Teachers’ standards does not necessarily make one to be a competent teacher since they view the profession as only being school based.
List of References
Donato R. (2003) Action Research [Online]. Available from <http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/0308donato.html> [25 August 2010]
ETA. (2010) NSW Institute of Teachers [Online].Available from <http://www.englishteacher.com.au/govResponse06.php>[25 August 2010]
Lim P. T. H. (2007) Action Research for Teachers: A Balanced Model Available from <http://conference.nie.edu.sg/2007/paper/papers/OTH154.pdf> [25 August 2010]
Mertler, C. A. (2005) Action Research: Teachers as Researchers in the Classroom. NewYork: Sage Publications
Mills, G.E. (2010) Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Researcher.NewJersey Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River.
Wallace, M. J. (2000). Action research for language teachers. New York: Cambridge University Press.