These five weeks have been full of learning and reflections and new ideas. The lectures were full of information. I especially liked that they made it very clear in the beginning that this class was not to be a regular research class. This was not going to be a research class where you went to the library and looked up a subject and they wrote a paper about that subject. They also introduced the blog issue. I already had a blog where I shared my prek ideas so I had some experience with one but this blog was going to be a little different because we were going to share the research and reflections and expected feedback from others to help shape our research.
I also liked their second lecture where we examined the purpose of action research. They also suggested that you picked a research question that is close to your heart which makes lots of sense since picking something that means nothing to you will be torture.
It was also a great lecture when they spoke about the 8 steps for analysis of action. It was really great to hear them explain a little about it and then go and read the book. You could grasp it a little better.
I also really enjoyed looking at the interviews about action research with people that really used it in their schools and implemented the action research way in their district. It was a good thing to see that it really works. I really liked Mr. Briseno’s work and I made a connection that action research can work at my school.
As I wrote in the discussion board, I was amazed to find out this week that our district uses it as well but in a more central office way. They had meeting to use the action research to improve the ways things are done to help students that are not succeeding.
I also very much enjoyed the reading especially the Dana book Leading with Passion and Knowledge. I liked that it had so many examples of action research because at first I was really lost as to how to pose the questions of my inquiry but after reading so many samples, I really had the idea of how to do it. Sometimes models help a lot and this book did that for me. It helped shape what the inquiry could be and how far it can go and how great it is to have that kind of inquiry in the schools cause it drives the staff development and it also drives change for the better.
It also really gave a great definition of what inquiry is all about and how it is a great way to gain understanding about the school and about you. It also really focused on reflection and how that really helps shape the inquiry. It also helped answer questions on how to manage the research inquiry process in terms of time. It also helped reflect on different passions one can have and how that also shapes the inquiry.
I also enjoyed the other book called Examining What We Do To Improve Our Schools:8 steps from analysis to action. This book gives the steps and I especially liked the part that I recently read about strategies for sustaining improvements. This really gave me ways to help sustain the changes and how to get the teachers involved in the changes.
All the reading and lectures had me researching things to understand more. It was a way to get more information and I really enjoyed it. I also got ideas on my research on behavior by researching articles and even getting ideas from the web conferences and discussion boards. I looked up what the head starts use for discipline and how that might help my teachers.
I also got ideas from the discussion boards by people posting about a program called Love and Logic and other programs called Champs. I really have got to dig in and see what those programs are all about.
I have started getting information for the teachers and have even found staff development that might get them on their way to come to a consensus on what kind of discipline management program they might want to adopt as the one the school would use.
The assignments were something that really made me reflect on what inquiry was about and if I was going in the right track. I liked the assignments because they made me think. They made me really dig into the readings and learn the material. I really liked the assignment of the interviews because it helps me see the action research process in action in different districts and ways that will help my research go smoother and easier.
The discussion boards are a must with this program. It is people that know exactly what you are going through and can answer the questions that you have. They really want to help as I want to help them. I get to see so many great ideas and inquiries and it help me see how others think and how others are doing their inquiry. I really think those discussion boards have helped me out of jams and are really a support system for all the students.
The blogs are another form of discussions and also help in seeing what others think and reflect on and what others are inquiring. It also helps with organizing thoughts and even researching.
I must say that I really learned so much in this class and am glad to have taken it because now I see action research as such a valuable tool to use in the classroom, school and district.
I also like that we have to discuss this with our site supervisor because that is another sort of support system that knows what the school is all about and what is allowable and knows the teachers as well. I am glad my site supervisor approved my research and is actually glad because that is a subject that teachers always ask about.
Dana, N.F. (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action researcher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press
Harris, S., Edmonson, S., Combs, J. (2010). Examining what we do to improve our schools: 8 steps from analysis to action. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education, Inc.