I have learned that action research is an effective tool for improving teaching and learning. School leaders can use action research to address learning issues while simultaneously motivating teachers to improve their teaching practice. For educational leaders, the steps in action research are to identify a problem or “wondering” within the school, develop and implement an action research plan, collect and analyze data along with reading relevant literature, and then evaluate and share the results. It’s a process that takes time to develop, implement, and complete, but it becomes a powerful vehicle for learning and school improvement.
I also learned that action research is different from the traditional educational research approach in that it is focused on the concerns of the practitioner and allows them to play an active role in the research by investigating their own problems.
Action research has numerous benefits for school leaders. It can serve as a powerful tool for professional development; it forces principals out of isolation by allowing the opportunity to collaborate with others; it allows principals to become role models for teachers and students; and it helps best practices to flourish within a school.
I plan to use action research now and in the future as an administrator to continuously improve my school, especially where student performance is concerned. Currently there are two areas that I seek to improve at my school. The first involves a schedule change to address the need of a new long term unit of students. Last semester students were complaining that they did not feel they were getting an adequate education due to being in mixed grade level classes. A new schedule was created this semester to address the concern and I would like to use action research to measure its effectiveness. I also want to research the effectiveness of a newly implemented tutoring intervention program for reading improvement. I wonder if the new in school tutoring intervention is effective at increasing student reading levels.
Action research is an effective and powerful tool that I look forward to using now and in the future as an administrator.