Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Action Research

Research! The thought of research brings to mind hours of pouring over academic literature, the onerous task of collecting data, plotting it into absurdly complicated cluster/bar graphs and analysis. For the next 8 weeks, I will be learning how to undertake an action research. I tried it once before. But I don't think it was a success. I felt no sense of accomplishment. I got lost in the process. And worst of all, I changed my mind about my wondering half way through the process!

The first thing I learnt this week is to look at this process more as an inquiry than a research. This knowledge was soothing. I have been teaching through inquiry. The only difference is that the spot light is on me and my learning, not the students. The whole purpose of AR is of course to improve student learning. It also gives voice to the otherwise neglected teachers who rely on outsiders, scientists and university professors who have spent years thinking about something connected with education, quite objectively. AR or Inquiry Research  is more subjective.

The second thing I learnt is that my "wonderings" have to be absolutely spot on. They need to be clear, concise and must capture my "nagging thoughts" in a way that allows me to tackle them in a systematic manner. It has to be be within a specific time frame, otherwise it can go on and on and come to nothing.

So these are my wonderings:

How can I encourage my students to think critically and incorporate this into their classroom discussions?
How can I improve reading fluency and comprehension skills of my ESL students?

How can I help my students become more proficient at solving math word problems?

I will have to decide on any one of these.

Fingers crossed :)

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