Friday, January 18, 2013

Action Research

Administrative inquiry or action research is a process of an administrator engaging and determining an idea and taking action for change based on what is learned from the idea by principals, teachers, and people involved in the school. The goal is to improve the learning and performance of your school.  The idea is focused on the insight to make and effort to change and improve the school by the administrators and teachers.  It allows the administrators and teachers involved to feel they have a say in the change and will work harder to make the change happen in the school setting.  It is the process of a principal engaging in a problem or idea and taking action for changing the idea based on what is learned as a result of the problem or question. We as professionals seek out change and want to determine how to change by posing questions or ideas and then gathering data to gain knowledge of the findings.  You then study the data along with other related data to the idea and make changes based on the findings and share those changes with the entire staff and department.  I feel that action research could be used in many different situations in the high school where I work.  Sometimes I feel we use a more traditional approach to solving problems where experts come in and give their findings, but recently with the expansion of technology in the classroom our school is shifting to more of an action research style.  Action research can also be used in dealing with excessive absences and tardies, STAR testing strategies, departmental curriculum, technology, and any other issues that administration deals with on a daily basis.  

The difference in action research to traditional educational research is the involvement of the administrators and staff to participate and use their personal experiences.  They collaborate with one another these experiences and decide what the best results are based on the collaboration with the entire staff.  They then put the changes into place and practice making those changes happen for all involved.  It basically allows for the people in the trenches to make decisions on what is best for the school and not outside people(staff development) to make and shape what happens at the school.  It breaks away from traditional research where experts tell you what is best at your school and now the staff and administration are the experts on what changes need to take place based on research and inquiry.  In our readings Dana Fichman lists four examples of how action research can be effective.  They are portfolio assignments, leadership meetings, professional learning communities, and building leadership teams that can be effective action research teams.

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