Action research is different from traditional research for multiple reasons. Traditional research relies on educational strategies that have worked in the past (Mertler, 2016). Traditional research places emphasis on past strategies, and there is no guarantee that old strategies will be the most effective solution. Traditional research is usually performed by college professors and there is a lack of consideration of a teacher’s typical daily activities. Often the research is not relevant to the specific teacher’s classroom. Action research allows educators to provide information relevant to their specific school and classes. This is an ongoing process, investigating specific problems that the educator is looking to improve. To be the most effective for our students we must relate what is currently benefiting our students, not what has worked in the past. If we focus our energy on what worked years previously, we may not be challenging students to the full potential.
The first step of action research, the planning stage, is about identifying the topic and developing a research plan (Mertler, 2016). This foundational step, seems to be the most challenging. Once the initial idea has been fully developed the other stages will seem to fall into place. Even when processing various options, it seems intimating to narrow down a specific direction. The action stage of collecting and analyzing data seems to be straight forward and logical. Developing an action plan will begin to transform once the initial step has been concluded.
The fourth step, is sharing results and reflecting on the effectiveness of the results (Mertler, 2016). I believe the reflecting step will be an ongoing process and will not be completed in this course. To provide an authentic action research project, there will be more than a couple weeks to deduct an effective study. Furthermore the reflection step, although challenging will be the most profound step in becoming more influential educator. I believe the most important part of performing action research is the ability to make the data relevant to the specific school and class that is taught. To have an opportunity to collect data, analyze, and interpret to benefit students in a shorter time frame then depending on traditional analytical research.
The thorough research in other courses has helped in developing an idea of what is lacking in the classroom and possible solutions. The research has suggested what has worked through public education in the states and globally. With the broad analyzation of the benefits of blended learning, I have been able to tailor a specific application of that model to my classroom. Although we did not develop specific data involving what was needed for improvement, there was reflection, implementation, and constant changes to improve the overall theme. In some ways, I feel like I have already cycled through action research. I studied my classes and decided I wanted to decrease the amount of students learning through teacher led instruction. I first embedded videos, which ended up being boring, so quickly revamped my idea and created my own videos that were much more personable and engaging. When I read through the brief example at the end of Chapter 2, it really brought to light, informally I had already cycled through an action research project, except for having no concrete data to prove the blended learning effectiveness, except for conducting observations.
I plan to focus my research questions on student engagement and possibly classroom management. I have found that students are much more engaged when they have the option of following along with the student instruction or watching a video. In the past, students had a challenging time seeing what I was teaching, so the last rows had to rely on what they were hearing only, which was ineffective. I plan to use both qualitative and quantitative methods, I believe the combination will create the most accurate results. These results will come from student testing, surveys, and observations. This combination will create a clearer picture of the effectiveness of videos through a blended learning model.
Mertler, C. A. (2016). Action research: Improving schools and empowering educators (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-1483389059