Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Possible Action Research Topics

Three topics I came up with for possible action research projects are: What are the benefits for students and staff to switching to a bell schedule instead of our current flexible schedule? What is the relationship between sixth grade math scores and teaching in cooperative groups rather than whole class? How do we make sure resources purchased for our campus match the needs of our students? My principal is leaving the final decision up to me as to which topic I choose. I am probably most interested in seeing if a bell schedule will work with our campus. I am skeptical about the change, so it will be interesting to see what I find out.

Friday, July 9, 2010

How Education Leaders Might Use Blogs

Blogs can be used in several ways. Campus leaders may create blogs to collaborate and reflect with other campus leaders. An administrator working on action research may blog their progress to share their findings. Colleagues could them comment or ask questions that may lead to additional reflection. Blogging can offer collaboration and support from colleagues that may be separated by great distances and would not be able to share insights otherwise. Teachers can use blogging in the classroom to communicate with parents and students. Blogging is a neat tool for leaders to use and share with their colleagues and staff. I hope to see of more use of it on my campus.

What I Have Learned

Action research is a tool for teachers and administrators that actively engages them in the research process. Through action research, practitioners are able to find insights into current practices and reflect on their own practices to make improvements at the campus or district level. Action research "focuses on the concerns of practitioners (not outside researchers)," or experts, (Dana, 2009). This is how it differs from traditional research models. Traditional research models rely on information from universities or outside experts that have done the learning for you. Action research is based on the idea of inquiry. "Inquiring professionals seek out change and reflect on their practice by posing questions or "wonderings," collecting data to gain insights into their wonderings, analyzing the data along with reading relevant literature, making changes in practice based on new understandings developed during inquiry, and sharing findings with others," (Dana, 2009). Action research follows the guidelines for professional development for principals. Reflection is important for administrators to grow in their practice. It is suggested that administrators find time for inquiry and reflection daily. By doing so, principals become less stressed and have more energy to face the daily demands of principalship. Some benefits of action research include increasing collaboration between principals and colleagues, creating role models for teachers and students on campus, helping best practices flourish on campus, and by slowing down the frantic pace of principal's daily activities.

Dana, N. F. (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action researcher. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.