Saturday, March 30, 2013

Action Research Project Update 1

My first action step in my action research project was to survey teachers to elicit feelings regarding current grade level meeting agenda and structure. In all actuality, I should have made my first step about the creation and planning of the survey. My site supervisor and I have met to discuss the items/questions that should be included on the survey and how we should word questions. We have discussed using different rating scales for the items, using open ended response questions and a check list of items on the survey. Creating the survey has taken more time than I had initially expected due to the multitude of options available in creating the survey. I plan to meet with my site supervisor to gain her approval of the survey before I open it up to the teachers. Ultimately, we will use a variety of response options so that the teachers taking the survey are not limited in the way they wish to express their feelings regarding the current grade level meeting agenda and structure. This first step I estimated to be completed at the end of March but will now need to be extended 2 weeks into April due to the unforeseen delay in creating the survey. After creating and implementing the survey, the next item on the agenda is to review the results with my site supervisor. Over the past couple months, I have heard even more complaints from the teachers regarding the agenda items being out of date and the structure of our meetings not leaving time for vertical team planning. I have been able to record most of the complaints and plan to use them in a way that will improve the productivity of our meetings in a way that will benefit all involved. (15 hours total)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Week 5 - Reflection

Through the five weeks of this course, I’ve learned the most about action research and how it differs from traditional research. During this course, I have identified, planned, designed and begun to implement my action research plan. In the first week, our assignment was to study and describe the main differences between action research and traditional research. In the book, Leading with Passion and Knowledge, the author describes action research as a, “defined and systematic, intentional study of one’s own professional practice” (Dana, 2009). This statement helped me to identify what topics would be appropriate for an action research project.
I began to look back at my internship plan for suggestions of areas of improvement in our school. The grade level team meetings for teachers caught my eye. After posting in the discussion board my possible action research topics, there was a clear winner, in the sense that most of my fellow students commented on how helpful PLCs have been in their schools and how meetings need to have clear objectives, agendas, and structures. I used Table 2.1 (Dana, 2009) to help with the wording of my action research question.
When I began planning my project, I relied heavily on the Tool 7.1 Action Planning Template from the book, Examining What We Do To Improve Our Schools (Harris, et. al., 2010). Using this template helped me to organize my plan in a way that was easy to follow and included all the basic components of a successful action research plan. It also helped me to clearly articulate the goals and objectives of my project.
After my project had a plan for executing, I needed to create an actual design for it to follow. In one of the weekly assignments, we were asked to plan ways of sustaining the improvements that are made from our action research project. In the book, Examining What We Do To Improve Our Schools, the author described several methods or strategies for sustaining improvement. I incorporated the Delphi Method into the design of my action research project my including several questionnaires and surveys to be given to the teachers before, during, and after the implementation of the action research project. The Delphi Method encouraged me to rely on “a panel of people who would be affected by this decision” (Harris, et. al., 2010). I made sure to include this new addition into the design of my plan.
Now that I’ve began to implement my action research plan, I am very hopeful for a positive acceptance from the teachers and am looking forward to reaping the benefits of my project. This is due to the fact that in one of our weekly assignments, we had to generate a list of possible obstacles of completing and implementing our plans. I scheduled a meeting with my site supervisor to discuss a plan for overcoming these challenges which was very beneficial. Planning for future hurdles was important for the preparedness that I will need in incorporating my plan. In this last week, we also used the Tool 8.1 CARE Model: Planning Tool to identify concerns and affirmations, set goals and evaluate the plan (Harris, et. al., 2010). This tool helped my site supervisor and I to come to a final revision of my action research plan. I plan to continue using my action research blog as a way for me to reflect on and report the progress of my plan.