This research class was a very important class because it taught me many different things that I took for granted. In my first class we learned about leadership and how important leadership is to developing a great school for our students. We learned many leadership styles that will shape the culture of our campus, teachers, and students. I developed a better understanding for administration and the roles they play in making our school great. I also realized that teachers and administration need to work together for a common goal which is to increase student performance. In this class we talked about leadership in week two and Kouzes and Posner state their five practices of leadership as follows: “model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, encourage the heart”. These principles are important because they guide us as leaders to bring out the best in our students and staff. In this class we learned what research is and how important it is to developing an action research plan. We also learned the importance of collecting data and what that data can do for the overall research of your action research project.
In 5301week one, we learned how to develop a very important tool which will allow us to put many of our research concepts into reality. The action research plan as defined by Fitchman is,” Administrative inquiry or action research is a process of and administrator engaging and determining and idea and taking action for change based on what is learned by principals, teachers, and people involved in the school.” The ultimate goal of any action research inquiry is to increase student performance in your school. This class also taught us the difference between action research and the old traditional style of doing research. 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. Basically, it gives everyone a stake in the decision to determine what will help our students be more successful. We also discussed the importance of professional learning communities in developing our action research. The learning communities as stated by Fichtman are” small groups of faculty that meet weekly to learn and study more effective teaching strategies and practices. It is becoming an effective tool to replace outside professional developments with staff based professional developments which are geared more for action research style projects.
In week two we discussed the nine areas that administrators feel are crucial in developing an action research project. One particular are of importance that hits our school hard is social justice and equity. We are dealing with a lot of students that come from Mexico that are leaning the English language and are struggling on our TEKS and STAAR exit exams. We have a high number of these kids and they are still expected to pass our exams from the state. Administration is working hard with teachers to develop a plan to get these kids on level to be successful not only on the exams, but in the rest of their lives. This is a prime example of learning communities helping develop action research.
Throughout the entire process we have developed a great tool in action research. In this class each week, we developed a blog and put different things that we felt were important in developing our action research project. Each week something different was put on the blog that our colleagues had to comment on to help us shape our plan. We met with our site supervisors and developed three ideas that would be great action research topics and decided on one final product that we put on our blog for others to critique and comment. We also developed an outline for our action research. The SIP/PIP model in the resources section of blackboard helped us shape our action research plan by outlining the main points of interest for my project. We developed an outline that consisted of goals, activities, data gathering, timeline, monitoring, and assessing our research draft for our site supervisor. We then collaborated and came up with the idea for and action research topic that pertained to extra-curricular activities and increased student performance. This topic is of great interest to me because I coach and teach at a high school in Texas and I believe through my research and data that I can prove the significance of these activities and the increased performance of students.
In the final weeks of our course we have put our plans and outlines on our blogs and asked for our classmates to comment and share what sounds good or ways to improve our research. We also learned strategies from our Harris text book that can be used for my action research project. These strategies as stated by Harris are the “Force Field Theory, the Delphi Method, and the Nominal Group Model”. These three strategies can help support and sustain our action research project. As I sum up my experience in the 5301 research class I can tell you that I have learned more about research and the importance it plays on solving problems and developing issues. The benefits of action research are to develop a deeper understanding by working collectively on issues that affect our campus. We must identify the problems and successes, identify the solutions to the problems, and improve the overall success of the issue at hand. This process creates a learning environment that is significant and relevant. It also promotes and energizes staff members to work harder so they can get the best out of their students. Action research can create a support group for the administration, teachers, parents, and students of our school. The overall goal of any action research project is to increase student improvement and performance in our schools.