Saturday, March 13, 2010

First week in action research cycle

Finally approaching my first action research cycle. I've navigated the ethics hurdles, sent out permission slips and finally can get started.

I'm looking at ways of improving effective on task communication between the teacher and the student in order to improve performance.

Communication is set at six levels:
  • School/Administration/Counsellor/Youthworker->Student
  • Teacher->Student
  • Mentor->Student
  • Peer/Friend->Student
  • Parent/Guardian->Student
  • Student Introspection

My task is to identify ways a teacher can successfully add to each communication layer. I am looking at how to get students to communicate how far they are down a learning path for a particular topic. I'll measure success by examining the effects on student self esteem and enjoyment of mathematics. I am particularly interested in how student group dynamics can be manipulated to improve my performance.

To establish benchmarks I plan to run a motivation and career survey and then check their ability to work independently through a task observation. I will also need to speak to their yr 9 teacher about each student, identify student NAPLAN yr 7/9 results, student yr 10 entry exam results and student grades in year 8/9.

My first tool is aimed at student->teacher communication, re-introducing choral responses (Eg. "The answer is... I can't hear you... that's better!!). For the whole class to respond requires the whole class to be paying attention. It also makes it fairly easy to identify students that are not responding. By ensuring students are vocal (during on task behaviours) I hope to increase risk taking in the class. It's also a great tool for waking a class up!

My second tool will be at the Student->Parent level with a letter home to parents about homework and then setting online homework with MathsOnline and Matheletics. Homework is a teacher->student communication as it can inform the teacher about student motivation and their current performance level if it is closely tied to current classwork. Their completion and performance is easily monitored and I can bop a few students for not doing their homework, whilst reinforcing that upper school classes require homework done on a regular basis to ensure retention of materials for exams. It is also aimed at improving parent->teacher communication through regular email communications with parents (although out of scope of the research project).

Let's see how the week goes!

1 comment:

  1. You may already have heard that Melbourne, Australia is hosting the 8th World Congress of Action Learning and Action Research on 6 - 9 September this year.

    All action research and action learning practitioners and academics from around the world are invited to be part of this very special event by sharing a paper, leading a workshop, running a poster session or simply coming along as a member of our global action learning and/or action research community.

    Whether your interest or experience is in (social) ecology, education, community / international / organisational / personal development, welfare and wellbeing, organisational and social systems, indigenous peoples, inter-cultural work or other aspects of action learning / action research and practice, there is a place for you at the World Congress. Bring along colleagues as well!

    The major themes that will guide the congress are:

    · Philosophical foundations of action-based and participatory approaches to learning and research

    · Our stories of integrating action-learning / action-research practice with theory and/or our theoretical learning and insights with practice

    · Power and its presence in learning and research relationships

    · Perennial issues of methodology, methods, epistemology and ontology in action learning, action research and participatory action research

    Keynote speakers include:

    · Budd Hall, a global elder of participatory research and adult learning. He is currently Director of the Office of Community-based Research at the University of Victoria, Canada.

    · Linda Tuhiwai Smith, an internationally renowned researcher in indigenous education and decolonizing our research methodologies. She is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Maori) at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

    · Alan Rayner, a biological scientist, ecological philosopher, artist, writer and key proponent of living theory and inclusionality. He is a Reader in Biology at the University of Bath, England.

    · Yoland Wadsworth, an Australian pioneer in the use of integral and transformative social research methodologies. She is Adjunct Professor from the Centre for Applied Social Research, at RMIT University

    Express your interest in participating by sending an abstract for a paper, workshop, poster session or a catalyst session to now.

    The congress will be preceded by two days of practitioner workshops, and the call for pre-congress workshops is currently open (an extension on the pre-congress proposals has been made). Early-bird registration for the congress are open until May 31st. The attached document will give you a short summary of the World Congress and the upcoming dates to remember. Visit the ALARA website at for dull details, to download the preliminary program, and to register for the Congress.

    I hope we can share ‘learning-full’ conversations at the Congress! See you then?!

    Mish Colla
    ALARA World Congress Organising Committee


Hi, thanks for leaving a comment.. it's good to hear what people think!