Sunday, January 20, 2013

Debunking My First Impression on Action Research

When I read that "Research" was the next course on our journey, I must admit I wasn't thrilled.  While I like to write, I am haunted by those experiences of college "research papers" that were so time intensive and light on substance.  Visions of APA styling floated through my head. Boy, was I relieved when I started delving into the "action research" of EDLD 5311!

What first looks to be just another research project is, in reality, a valuable procedure for each of us to learn.  In visiting with a new administrator on my campus earlier this year, I was puzzled to hear her state "reflection" as her primary goal for our staff.  I get it now...

I've learned that the reflection of which she speaks really should be a cornerstone of my teaching protocols and that deliberate wanderings based on this reflection can result in incredible change in my classroom.  I've learned that  I can use the current knowledge I have of my school to find problems and solutions moving forward.  In addition, I can use data by my own students to support the choices I make in our curriculum!  This is a truly empowering model for improving our schools. 

In our readings this week, one idea kept resonating with me.  Time.  How many times have we all wished for just a little more time to re-work that unit or brainstorm another way for students to demonstrate their learning?  We know there are “kinks” in the material, and yet, we continue to teach around them because it is so difficult to restructure what has become natural.  Our action research plan and project are going to force us to address at least one of these issues in our school or classroom.  I’m excited to see what the rest of my classmates choose… I bet our schools and students are more alike than they are different.    

I plan to use this opportunity to study my audition process.  As a teacher of the fine arts, I facilitate two major auditions each school year.  The current process is filled with issues that can be improved upon.  I'm looking forward to answering the following question:  "How can I modify the current Highland Belle audition protocols to make the experience more reasonable and satisfying for all stakeholders, regardless of the outcome?   Good luck to each of you!


  1. I felt the same way Shannon. I'm glad we get to actually do something with the research information that we find rather than just turning it in for a grade and moving on to the next research project.

  2. I felt the same way when I found out I was taking a course called Research, & I completely agree with your thoughts on time. I've definitely been there, knowing there are kinks but not having the time to redo the lesson. I'm looking forward to reading more about your project!
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  3. The term research is a definite depressant. Action research however is right up my alley of self improvement. I believe in constant circle of evaluation and reflection with making changes and repeating.

  4. I totally agree with your idea about reflection. Recently, a 2nd year teacher told me that she often writes reflections of thoughts and ideas about how she wants to change something from year to year. I commended her for taking the time to do this. It is important for all of us to take time to reflect on procedures, lessons, etc. in order to improve. I can't wait to see how your audition process improves as a result of this journey!