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Instructors who understand their teaching strategies coherently have an advantage of implementing high quality solutions in their teaching problems. According to Tillotson (2000), action research involves instructors in inquiries that seek to understand the problems and issues in their instructions. This practice motivates individuals into performing incredible work that fruits at the end.
It is right to state that the flourishing of an instructor’s work is determined by students’ performances. It, therefore, implies that instructors have a role to work tirelessly and improve the performances of their students. In a bid to do this, they must be ready to initiate and establish strategies of assessing their instructions. I will develop a practical example to outline the systematic approach of action research when investigating learning improvement in a class.
This step will define the prevailing situations of the students that will be presented in an action research study. I will, therefore, describe the place of study by point out the significant areas that will be incorporated in the research. The study is set for 8th grade students of McSwain Middle School in McSwain School District located within Merced.
A teacher is evaluating a class performance related to experimental learning in the school. He is motivated to improve the perception of students when learning science and raising the school performance in the region. The teacher has made a systematic experimentation plan that will involve students in experimental experiences.
He wants to teach a topic without experiment and then perform an experiment after testing their knowledge. Also, students will be tested again after the experiment. This strategy will continue until they complete 10 experiments. The teacher will, then, compare the outcomes and make a conclusion on his teaching strategies.
Problem formulation describes the strategy of identifying an issue that can be researched in an action research (Tillotson, 2000). To identify a problem, an instructor assesses what is known and what needs investigation. In this case, the teacher is aware that students are cooperative in class. They do their homework well and participate actively during class time.
However, perception of ideas and their retention is an issue that has challenged the students when he judges according to performance. The teaching sessions provide less time for practical experiences. Also, the administration does not provide sufficient facilities for efficient laboratory operations. Apart from the ignorance that students have when performing experiments, the school does not have experimental assessments and cooperative technicians.
However, there is a possible allowance for maximization of the available resources if the system is organized. He needs to test whether the resources could be utilized maximally to improve the perception and understanding of students in the school.
Data collection is a crucial factor for all researches that require statistical evidences. According to Sagor (1992), a minimum of three data sets must be considered to warrant the validity and reliability of the outcomes. Therefore, when collecting data for this research, the teacher targets students, teachers, and parents/guardians in the school. He has assembled two types of questionnaires.
One set of questionnaire targets the parents/guardians knowledge on students learning operations and relations. The other will assess the student’s views on the experimentation program. These questions aim at assembling data that could affect the system. The teacher will perform interviews on other teachers to evaluate their ideas in improving performance.
Further data will be collected after assessing the student’s performances before and after experiments in the parallel tests. This type of study is referred to as reflective study in action research (Feldman, 1996). A record of challenges faced during the research will be taken by the students, technicians, guardian/parent and other teachers. Lastly, he will observe student’s reaction within the period of performing the ten experiments.
Analysis of collected data provides evidence to the allegation that researchers make. The teacher will establish a way to analyze data. For instance, students will have done 20 tests at the end of the research. Ten of the tests will be taken before the experiment to provide an estimate of perception. The other tests will represent perception of ideas after performing experiments.
The analysis will, therefore, involve comparing the data sets and determining whether the experiments have any effects on the understanding of students. Other factors regulating the performance of the students will be determined in accordance to the views provided by the parents/guardians, teachers, and the students. Categories of data from the interviews and the questionnaires will be made to facilitate drawing of the conclusion.
For instance, the results could show that students perform better when they are involved in experiments than when experiments are exempted. The record of challenges could imply that there are low numbers of challenges to prevent the practice in the school. The findings could suggest that there is need for laboratory facilitation to enhance the improvement of performance in the school. The teacher, then, identifies the routes potential in improving the performance of the school.
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The finding of any research should be documented to enable transfer of knowledge to other people. It is true to state that knowledge grows when shared among people. Research reports motivates teachers as inquirers and learners (Cox & Craig, 1997).Therefore, the teacher will write a report indicating the research performed, the goals, the procedures, the methods of data collection, the evidences, and the lessons learnt from the research.
The report could target other teachers, curriculum coordinators, principals, administrators, and educational boards among other people. Therefore, the teacher recommends other schools to try the strategy keenly to enjoy its fruits. Calhoun (1994) describes action research as a cyclic process where one step leads to another. It is, therefore, crucial to mention the steps that will follow the above research. For instance, the teacher could chose to investigate about how group discussions improve performance.
Implementation of the research findings is the most crucial part of the process (Hurd, 1986). The teacher must, therefore, revise the current strategies of teaching. He could make experimental examinations to reduce ignorance. Proposing for facilitation from the administration would lead to arming the students in overcoming challenges.
The teacher could implement laboratory sections where students can experiment at will. The organization of laboratory instructions sessions are systematized to facilitate the efficiency of the experiments. Rules are set to regulate the technician’s cooperation, and/or several technicians are hired to provide the services.
He ensures that all available resources are used amicably to support the learning process in the school. The actions modify the previous learning strategies in a way that facilitates the improvement of performance as a result of proper and organized facilitation.
When teachers are concerned about the outcome of their work, they follow their teaching strategies and modify them into facilitating high performance. Most teachers remain reluctant to fix the problems and issues that appear during the learning process.
Administrator must, therefore, be curious about the operations of teachers. They should, therefore, assess the work that the teachers do and credit them accordingly. This will create a need for action research to all teachers as they avoid demotion and dismissal, or search for promotion and earning.
Calhoun, E. F. (1994). How to use action research in the self-renewing school. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Cox, A. M. & Craig, D. V. (1997). Action research. The science teacher, 59(7), 50-53.
Feldman, A. (1996). Enhancing the practice of physics teachers: Mechanisms for the generations of sharing knowledge and understanding in a collaborative action research. Journal of Research in science teaching, 33(5), 513-540.
Hurd, P. D. (1986). Issues in linking research to science teaching. Paper presented at the National Science Teachers Association Annual Convention. Wlishire, LA: ERIC document Reproduction Services
Little, J. W. (1982). Norms of collegiality and experimentation: Workplace conditions of school success. American Educational Research Journal, 19(3), 325-340.
Tillotson, J. (2000). Action Research in Science Education. Studying the Game, 74(1), 31-34.