Significance of Action Research
Action research is a process that offers to learn a practical way of investigating one’s work, checking as it is, and structuring it in a way one wants it to be. Since action research is often conducted by the teacher-researcher, it is often called a practice-based study. The research revolves around self-reflection but still utilizes empirical research methodologies, thus the conclusion drawn from such research is authentic.
Action research offers information beyond the simple assumption that theory creates practice to a realization that theory is generated from practice. The theory is only useful as far as it is used in a practical setting. There is an intimate relationship between theory and practice but it is often complicated by a myriad of factors. For any social change to be experienced many of these contradictory factors are experienced almost instantaneously but with plural qualities, universal and specific must be brought to harmony. The understanding practice is hence dialectical. The action research projects were successful as they used proper and authentic research methods for collecting data and analyzing it thus the conclusions were sensible.
Nourishing the spirit
This action research study was based on the question “What aspects of learning can nourish the spirit of the adolescent students during learning in a classroom?”
Participants: out of the 30 students she taught, 21 students expressed interest in the research. Only 16 students returned signed forms (7 girls and 9 boys, aged 13-14 years) (Brown, 2004, p. 12). Data methods: the researcher’s study method choice was the Participatory Action Research (PAR) design. This PAR design created a structure that followed Kessler’s passages program in the classroom process (Brown, 2004, p. 12).
Journals were kept for each session from the students and a reflective journal by the researcher. Significant Finding: the key finding from the sessions and interviews as well as the reflective journal kept by the experimenter showed that adolescents needed encouragement during learning. When encouragement was provided, the adolescents felt their spirits nourished and their confidence boosted (Brown, 2004, p. 19).
The holistic approach in classroom teaching can reach the inner ‘space’ of adolescents. If teachers can make sense of what they teach and devise teaching approaches that enable the learners to deliberate and draw logic, then learning can be very easy and more advantageous to students.
The action research forces on learning, the obstacles encounters and the interests of both learners and teachers. The researches were conducted in a classroom setting thus a good environment to function in. the challenge from this type of research is that it can be biased based on the philosophical perception of the researcher, ethnicity, cultural beliefs, and even religious inclination. With such strong influencers on the researcher and participants, it has been difficult to realize the research was flawed.
The authenticity of the Researches
Action research offers satisfactory results but it’s a challenging process. The researcher has to have a well-structured plan to allow smooth execution of the research process. Due to this, this part seeks to answer the following questions,
- Did the researchers employ the correct methods with well-defined plans or not?
- Was the data collection and analysis scientifically relevant for the studies? Observations were done by the school psychologist, speech therapist, the students’ parents, classroom teachers. The researcher observed the behavior of children (Schoen & Bullard, 2002, p. 36). The process of observation is a valid scientific research data collection method.
- Did the researcher correctly identify the problem, define it and develop an appropriate research question(s)? Like the Research Question: “What nourishes or feeds your spirit while you are in the classroom? What nourishes the adolescent spirit in the classroom? the first writing is structured correctly and directs the research appropriately to the research objective (Brown, 2004, p. 12).
- Were the results obtained expandable to a greater population? For the second writing, significant finding: One point that Kwok says is that “we as educators need to be aware that everyone learns and reads differently”. Surprisingly, many teachers have to be reminded that students learn differently and that we as educators have to embrace that difference and work with it (Kwok, 2009).
- Can the action plans be transferred to another setting outside the classroom? etc
Action research targets contributing to the practical concerns of the students and expound the social science applications. To be precise, action research is simply a process of learning by doing. When the teachers identify the problem, they take action to resolve it and then evaluate the success rate of their action.
The researchers conducting these studies need to understand that the main objective of the action research is to initiate changes that enhance student learning. To ensure such an objective is met, then the outcomes have to be authentic and the conclusions have to be accurate and practicable. These researches show that action research is set to rebuff the perception of an objective, value-free process, to the development of knowledge, and support the explicit opinionated, socially stimulated, and autonomous practice.
“Action Research during Recess: A Time for Children with Autism to Play and Learn”
The research question was, “How to facilitate the Social interactions among peers in the natural recess context in school for children with autism” (Schoen & Bullard, 2002, p. 36). The participants: the researchers carried out a research of 7 children as participants during their 45-minute recess periods in their daily curriculum program. The students were aged 5 to 7 years. The data method used was Observations.
The school psychologist, speech therapist, the students’ parents, classroom teachers kept journals of the behavior of the students. Implication: the research revealed that autistic children presented different patterns of behavior during playtime. They lacked the social skills of playing together or creating friendships. At playtime, different therapists and professionals were able to observe the behaviors of the autistic children and then devised the learning approach according to their behaviors
The article, Boys and Reading: An Action Research Project Report used the research question: “what are some promising strategies that could help third-grade boys who are reluctant readers to be motivated in reading and increase their stamina in reading?” the participants: Jenny Kwok used two boys named Jesse and Nathan as her subjects (Kwok, 2009). Data methods, Kwok used a journal of the to-do list and reviewed literature that dealt with the same topic. Significant finding: the researcher realizes that as teachers, it was proper for them to understand the different learners learn differently.
The article is Parental influence and obesity prevention in pre-schoolers: a systematic review of interventions. The data method used was a theoretical and practical literature review on the parenting variables intended in interventions devised to transform the risk factors for obesity by enhancing healthy routine or changing sedentary lifestyle in families with children between the ages of 2 and 6 years (Kouteris et al., 2011). Implication: the research outcomes indicated that parenting approaches could be modified so that they offer children healthier living as a strategy to reduce obesity among pre-school children. However, further research is required on this conclusion. Parenting behavior thus remains crucial in determining whether pre-school children get obese or grow healthy.
Brown, H. (2004). Action Research in the Classroom: A Process That Feeds the Spirit of the Adolescent. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 3(1), 1-30.
Kouteris, H. H., McCabe, M. M., Swinburn, B. B., Newgreen, V. V., Sacher, P. P., & Chadwick, P. P. (2011). Parental Influence and Obesity Prevention in Pre-Schoolers: A Systematic Review of Interventions. Obesity Reviews, 12(5), 315-328.
Kwok, J. (2009). Boys and Reading: An Action Research Project Report. Library Media Connection, 27(4), 20-22.
Schoen, S.F., & Bullard, M. (2002). Action Research during Recess: A Time for Children with Autism to Play and Learn. Teaching Exceptional Children, 35, 36-39.