EDLD 5301 has expanded my knowledge on all aspects of action research. It has given me the tools needed for continual school improvement while developing the leadership skills essential to creating a positive change. Prior to starting this class, I was somewhat nervous about taking a class called Research. Although I have always enjoyed reading research based literature, the thought of having to do a research project followed by writing a research paper was somewhat daunting. My prior experiences led me to believe that I would be doing the type of research that requires extensive statistical analysis, experimental designs, a control group, and all the other things that you think of when you hear the word research. To my relief, I learned that administrative inquiry focuses on the concerns of the practitioner, allowing them to provide insight into their own practice in an effort to make changes leading to improvements.
What I appreciate most about this course is that it offers various avenues for learning in order to develop a deeper understanding of administrative inquiry. The videotaped lectures provided valuable insights, and I especially enjoyed the week 2 interviews of the scholars. I learned different ways that educational leaders are using action research to improve their schools and districts. One thing that stands out in my mind is a piece of advice given by Dr. Chargois. He said that you should never stop learning. As a leader, this is advice that I will continue to live by, and hope to instill in those that I lead. I appreciated the opportunity to learn from the respected educational leaders. I was able to reflect on the advice that was given and apply it to what I am doing now as a leader.
The weekly web conferences were extremely beneficial. This gave me the opportunity to interact with the professor and others in the class. Being able to ask questions and get immediate feedback was extremely helpful in completing the weekly assignments. Similarly, the blogs, discussion boards, and Facebook page were all valuable resources in developing a greater understanding of the inquiry process. By commenting on each other’s posts, we were able to offer new perspectives, and pose questions and recommendations that led to deeper thinking. The feedback that I received was instrumental in helping me to develop my action research plan. Some of the comments led to revisions of my plan, and others gave me new wonderings. Overall, the interaction and feedback from others was a critical piece in developing a solid action research plan.
The assignments where I met with my site supervisor were extremely beneficial. Being able to get her input and expertise in choosing my action research plan was very helpful. She fully supported the action research plan and offered valuable advice such as the need to make sure that the assessment instrument I used to determine the students’ reading levels was research based, valid, and reliable. The second meeting to finalize my proposed plan went very well. My site supervisor asked questions about my process that led me to realize that I had left out two critical steps. Her insights and recommendations for revisions were helpful in creating the final action research plan.
The assigned readings from both textbooks in the course were also beneficial. I learned various ways to continuously examine school improvement, and have developed a deeper understanding of conducting administrative inquiry. I especially found the readings about the nine areas where many school leaders find their wonderings to be useful in examining areas for improvement on my own campus. Of the nine areas, the one that stood out to me the most was the area of staff development. I learned that this is an important area of action research because it is essential for teacher, student, and school improvement. It enriches learning and improves the learning of students (Dana, 2009, p. 32-34). Since principals play a critical role in developing a meaningful staff development program, I can definitely see myself using inquiry in this area in the future.
As I near the completion of this course, I feel completely prepared to implement an action research project on my campus. The tools that I learned in this course are invaluable for continually improving student, teacher, and school performance. I am confident that I have the skills and knowledge to continue the process of inquiry throughout my administrative career.