Teachers are professional learners. They experience learning through teaching and reflecting. The way teachers interact with students in and/or outside the classroom determines how students experience information and learning. Teaching professionals have much to offer. Through action research projects, teachers can reflect, document problems and solutions, and share best practices with the world. Reflecting and documenting the process can transform teaching and learning. Action research provides teachers with research-based ideas for academic writing. Find out more about conducting action research and academic writing by enrolling in a free 40-week online course on Action Research.
Academic Writing with a Purpose
Academic writing communicates non-biased research. The writing appears in peer-reviewed journals. The authors focus on formal and structured sentences. The purpose of academic writing is to share research-based information with practitioners. Teachers are always looking for ways to improve their classroom performance and student learning. Teachers do not view themselves as scholars because they do not conduct formal research. However, teachers can now conduct action-based research and publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals using academic writing.
Teaching transforms both the student and teacher as they partner for learning. Jack Mezirow discusses the transformation that takes place in and out of the classroom. Teachers want students to be happy. They want them to relate to the information in meaningful ways. Teachers are constantly searching for ways to improve instruction and learning. Action research can pave the way.
Teachers can conduct action research individually or in teams. The whole school may decide to conduct action research in order to make changes. Action research follows these steps:
- Select and describe the problem
- Conduct a literature review
- Identify research questions
- Collect data
- Analyze the data
- Report the findings
- Take action
- Observe the results
- Evaluate the results of the action
- Re-frame if necessary
- Select and describe the problem
Formulating the Problem Statement
Teachers may notice many problems in their classes. Identifying a single problem may pose problems. Specify the problem that may be the underlying cause of other problems in your classroom. The problem is… where … when…. Add the location or cirucumstances and the time. You are now a researcher teacher. Once you formulate the problem statement, make a list of research questions to guide the research.
Conduct a research review on the topic of your research. Use the Internet to help you find information through key words. You may find google scholar useful. Learn as much as you can on the background of the problem. You may be surprised to learn that others have also documented the problem. Similar studies may add non-biased information.
Collecting the Data
Remember you are now a teacher researcher. Observe what happens in your classes. Be objective and not blame anyone or anything. You may wish to conduct interviews. Be open to learning. Write your findings.
Data analysis requires objectivity. Remember that you want to get results so be open to learning. Think of the following as you analyze the data:
- What story does the data inform?
- Why does the data tell this story and not another?
- Can the data tell other stories? If so, what other stories can the data provide?
By answering the above questions, the teacher researcher can gain a more objective understanding of the problem and the results of the action research.
Improving Instruction and Learning
Teaching is a lonely process. Teachers may not want to share problems because problem may be a sign of failure. Problems can provide opportunities for improvement and much learning. Action research opens doors and empowers teachers. Teachers can transform instruction and learning through the process of becoming a teacher research.
Start Your Action Research, Today
Make a difference by starting your action research. You will transform your classroom experience, your learners, and yourself. Teachers from around the world will benefit from your action research. Start your action research project, today. Join a free 40-week action research course with Dr. Nellie Deutsch, an experienced teacher researcher.