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Action Research: The School as the Center of Inquiry. R. Martin Reardon’s summary of Chapter 20 Glickman, C. D., Gordon, S. P. & Ross-Gordon, J. M. (2009), 304-320. The ideal of the scholar-teacher. Lewin (1948)

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Action research the school as the center of inquiry l.jpg

Action Research:The School as the Center of Inquiry

R. Martin Reardon’s summary of Chapter 20

Glickman, C. D., Gordon, S. P. & Ross-Gordon, J. M. (2009), 304-320


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The ideal of the scholar-teacher

  • Lewin (1948)

    • Social research should be based on the actions groups take to improve their conditions

    • Certainly not “gold standard” randomized control

  • Corey (1953)

    • Traditional research has little influence on school practice

    • The value of action research…is determined primarily by the extent to which findings lead to improvement in the practices of the people engaged in the research” (p. 9)

  • Sagor (1993)

    • Collaborative action research as a vehicle to develop an active community of professionals

  • Hubbard & Power (1993)

    • Use our own classrooms as laboratories & our students as collaborators to change the way we work with students

Chapter 20: 9 slides


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How to conduct Action Research?

  • Similar to developing action plans with individual teachers (Chapter 16)

    Phase 1: Select area of focus

    Phase 2: Conduct a needs assessment

    • Understand the problem & how it might be solved

    • Gather baseline data

      Phase 3: Design an action plan

    • Including evaluation plan

      Phase 4: Carry out the plan

      Phase 5: Evaluate the effects

    • Use the change from the baseline data

    • Expand, revise, or discontinue based on findings

Chapter 20: 9 slides


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Developmental levels

  • DC

    • Not compatible with Action Research

  • DI

    • Suggest alternative goals, data collection & analysis methods, & actions plans & invite s to choose from the menu

  • C

    • Joint decision-making

    • Transitional to…

  • ND

    • Full-fledged “teacher-researchers”

    • Houser (1993): “They initiate every aspect of the research project…responsible for formulating the questions, selecting the tools, collecting, analyzing, & interpreting the data” (p. 58)

Chapter 20: 9 slides


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Decisions about Action Research?

  • Needs Assessment (Phase 2: Conduct a Needs Assessment)

    • Eyes and ears, Systematic classroom & school observations, Official records…etc. (Ch 13)

  • Brainstorm Activities (Chs. 16-19)

    • What type & frequency of direct assistance in appropriate?

    • What meetings & discussions integrate with faculty group development?

    • What inservice opportunities are required?

    • What curriculum development is indicated?

  • Make a plan (Phase 3: Design an Action Plan)

    • Affinity diagrams, Impact analysis, Gantt chart…etc. (Ch. 13)

  • Determine ways to observe progress

    • Observation instruments (Ch 14)

  • Choose evaluation design

    • Qualitative, quantitative, or mixed design (Ch 15)

Chapter 20: 9 slides


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Action Research as Catalyst

  • The key to it all…

  • Begins with a focus on need to improve instruction as perceived by faculty

  • Ripple effect activates

    • Direct assistance

    • Professional development

    • Curriculum development

    • Group development

Chapter 20: 9 slides


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Expanding boundaries of AR concept

  • Problem-solving approach

    • Interpretative AR

      • Inquire into meaning participants make of e.g., “change”

    • Critical Action AR

      • Challenge existing practices

      • Praxis: interactive cycle of practice & theory building

    • Logic Model as a blueprint for both

Chapter 20: 9 slides


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Shared governance for Action Research

  • Three Premises

    • Every professional who wants to be involved can be

    • Any professional who does not want to be involved can make that choice

    • Once a decision is made, all must implement it

  • Three Principles

    • One person, one vote

      • Expertise, influence, & credibility more important than status

    • Decisions limited to scope of school

      • Focus on creating a dialogue about instruction

      • Not a depository of complaints about non-instructional concerns

    • Authentic feedback

      • Establish a true forum for intellectual discourse in a small group (7 to 11 members)

Chapter 20: 9 slides


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Operational Model of Shared Governance

  • Three formal groups

    • Executive Council (7 to 11 members)

      • Acts on & monitors schoolwide instructional improvement recommendations

      • Majority of teachers (& Principal who is neither Chair nor Co-Chair)

        • Perhaps elected from Liaison Groups

        • At least 3 years with staggered terms

      • Potentially also includes parents & students

      • Does not make recommendations

        • These must come from Task Forces

      • Not administrative or intrusive into Departmental matters

    • Liaison Groups

      • Communication links; deliberately NOT departmental groups

    • Task Forces

      • Ad hoc—created by Executive Council for specific purpose

      • Volunteers & 1 Executive Council member (who is not Chair)

  • Decision-making Procedures

    • Task force recommends to Executive Council for vote or tabling until next meeting

  • Implementation

    • Task Force disbands at this stage

    • Executive Council (including the Principal) enforces & oversees Action Research to monitor & evaluate

Chapter 20: 9 slides


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Facilitating Action Research

  • Provide basic preparation in gathering & analyzing data (see ADMS 620)

    • Simple quantitative & qualitative methods

    • Simple methods for reviewing & summarizing data & drawing data-based conclusions

  • Establish a set of ethical guidelines

    • Process of review to make sure of adherence

  • Provide resources

    • Especially time to plan, gather data, analyze, & implement

  • Provide opportunities for sharing findings

    • Both within & outside this school

Chapter 20: 9 slides


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