When teachers meet during a faculty meeting or professional development workshop to address school issues and come up with a solution they are conducting action research. Teachers perform an action research when preparing students for standardize testing by collecting student data results from teacher made exams and diagnostic tests. From the test results teachers create strategies to help students improve their test scores.
In the 1940s, educational psychologist Kurt Lewin developed the concept of action research. The idea was to have teacher(s) address a classroom or school wide problem by collecting data, analyzing data and coming up with a solution for the problem. When teacher(s) conduct action research they record and reflect on the planning, process, tasks and steps that were done to solve the problem.
Identifying the Problem
Depending on the age and grade of the students teachers tackle problems in their classroom on a weekly basis. Some of the issues in the classroom may interfere with the student’s academic performance. The second step in action research is to identify the problem. A problem a second grade teacher could address is helping English language learners blend consonants and vowels after recess when they are still hyperactive.
Forming a Question
How can I teach second grade English language learners to blend consonant and then make a sentence with the word they have learned?
Observe and analyze your students by evaluating their work habits in class. Use formative evaluations when teaching classroom lessons, observe students when working on assignments and during question and answer sessions. Collect data by using teacher made tests, diagnostic tests, and behavior charts. From the data you have collected about each student chart your results by using a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel.
Have students participate in the process of collecting data themselves by charting how well they performed on teacher made exams and their classroom behavior each day.
Writing a Plan of Action
Write out your findings from your observations and data collection. Then write out an action plan that states what steps you will take to address the problem.
Address the problem area
Write out strategies you have taken to address the problem. They can range from you reading a book to students sitting in the carpet area to settle down after recess or have students partner read for 15 minutes.
Reflect and Report findings
Record your findings by writing a reflection that states what worked best in helping English language learners learn how to blend consonants with vowels. Arrange the observational statement or checklist, data collection and reflection in to a binder. Share your results with your colleague and principal to get their feedback.