Action research in an educational context

Report
Professor Emeritus Lin Norton
Applied Pedagogy residentail 28-29
Jan 2012
Action research in
an educational
context
1
The ‘classic’ definition of
action research
enquiry undertaken by participants in social
situations in order to improve the rationality and
justice of their own practices, their understanding of
these practices, and the situations in which the
practices are carried out’
(Carr and Kemmis 1986: 162).
EDU 40017
• ‘Action research is simply a form of self-reflective
2
A practical definition of action
research
process. It has twin, aims of action for change in an
organisation or community, with research to increase our
knowledge and understanding. It is not action for
research (doing in order to increase understanding), nor
research for action (increasing knowledge in order to be
applied at a later time), but a coming together of two
purposes in a single project or process.
• Action research is not a research method, as many
methods of data collection may be used in action
research projects. It is, rather, a way of doing research
and acting to change situations at the same time.”
(Hughes, 1997)
EDU 40017
• “Action research is action and research in the same
3
Definition of participatory
action research:
theory and practice, in participation with others, in
the pursuit of practical solutions to issues of pressing
concern to people, and more generally the
flourishing of individual persons and their
communities”. (Emphasis added)
(Reason & Bradbury, 2005, p. 1)
EDU 40017
“ It seeks to bring together action and reflection,
4
Action research is a term which refers to a practical way
of looking at your own work to check that it is as you
would like it to be. Because action research is done by
you, the practitioner, it is often referred to as
practitioner based research; and because it involves
you thinking about and reflecting on your work, it can
also be called a form of self-reflective practice.
McNiff (2002)
EDU 40017
Definition of practitioner
action research
5
• “the fundamental purpose of pedagogical action
research is to systematically investigate one’s own
teaching/learning facilitation practice with the dual
aim of modifying practice and contributing to
theoretical knowledge”.
• Using a reflective lens to look at some ‘problem’ or
initiative and then determining a methodical set of
steps to research that problem/initiative and to take
action
(Norton, 2009, xv-xvi)
EDU 40017
Definition of pedagogical
action research
6
And what part does theory
play?
• He is originator of ‘living educational theory’
A living educational theory is an individual’s
explanation of their educational influence in their
own learning, in the learning of others and in the
learning of the social formations in which we live
and work.
EDU 40017
• Jack Whitehead one of the most influential theorists in
action research today
7
“In a living educational theory approach to action research,
individuals hold their lives to account by producing
explanations of their educational influences in their own
learning in enquiries of the kind, 'How am I improving what
I am doing?' They do this in contexts where they are
seeking to live the values they use to give life meaning and
purpose as fully as they can. The living educational theories
of professional educators and other practitioner-researchers
usually explain their educational influences in the learning
of their students and can also explain their educational
influences in the learning of social formations.” (emphasis
added)
Whitehead (opening page of ActionResearch.net)
EDU 40017
Whitehead’s living theory
applied to action research
8
1. Carried out by practitioners (i.e. lecturers and teachers)
not by educational researchers
2. Area of research is on some aspect of teaching,
learning, assessment or related areas (policy, strategy)
3. Must be about improving some aspect of practice as
well as contributing to knowledge
4. Social practice (not decontextualized from environment
or researcher from the researched)
5. Reflective (outward, not inward)
6. Cyclical (progressive refinements)
7. Systematic (not soft option)
(adapted from Kember 2000)
EDU 40017
Characteristics of action
research in education
9
1.
Positivist –objective reality where knowledge is gained
from data that can be independently verified. Often
seen to be in direct opposition to the principles of AR
2.
Interpretive – social sciences reaction to positivism,
belief in a socially constructed subjectively-based
reality, influenced by culture & history; researcher still
interprets the data
3.
Praxis- belief that knowledge is derived from practice,
and practice is informed by knowledge, in an ongoing
process; action researchers holding this view reject the
notion of researcher neutrality, understanding that the
most active researcher is often one who has most at
stake in resolving a problematic situation.
(O’Brien, 1998)
EDU 40017
Research paradigms in action
research
10
1.
Positivist: experimental design, questionnaires,
measurement tools (quantitative data and statistical
testing)
2.
Interpretive- interviews, focus groups, narrative,
drawings, life stories, diaries, case studies (qualitative
data and phenomenographical approach)
3.
Praxis – may include any of the above contextualised in
an ongoing, reflective, often community based account
where researcher may act in a number of roles: planner,
leader, catalyser, facilitator, teacher, designer, listener,
observer, synthesiser, reporter
EDU 40017
Methodologies in action
research
11
• Research Question: Can story writing support reflection on
dissertation supervision in HE?
• Participants: 5 lecturers, (I was one of the authors)
• Task: write a story about their experience of supervising
dissertation students (no models provided)
• Process:
• Stories shared by circulating within the group, but not
discussed formally in group settings – referred to frequently in
group meetings and v. helpful as a stimulus for group
discussion
• RA analysed and took back to writers for further discussion
(interview)
• Findings: used a variety of formats but all were examples of
self-exploration & presented dilemmas, contradictions &
ambiguities
• B& D claim that storytelling presented greater freedom to
express ideas and feelings than in a conventional interview
situation
EDU 40017
Using stories to help
reflection ( Burchell & Dyson, 2000)
12
•
•
•
•
•
Context: seminar paper on human learning theory
presented to group
Cohort 1 (28 students) given list of ?’s based on
assessment criteria and also asked to write comments on
paper
Findings: Quality of feedback didn’t improve
Reflecting and acting: written questionnaire about
students perceptions of peer assessment process
Findings:
1. majority of students felt very uncomfortable with the idea
of ‘marking’ each other’s work and being critical- not their
job to point out errors and didn’t want to be responsible
for fellow student failing.
EDU 40017
Peer feedback: using AR to overcome
students’ reluctance to criticise.
(McMahon, 2010)
13
• Cohort 2 (24 students): Changes introduced after consulting with
cohort 1:
• 2 dedicated feedback forms provided to lessen confusion
• Reassurance that feedback to be formative only; tutor would do
summative assessment; emphasis to be on friendly criticism to
help peers improve next time
• Ownership of forms given to students; don’t have to show to
tutor if they don’t want to
• Workshop on how to give constructive rather than hurtful
feedback
• Findings (Discussion & Questionnaire): marked improvement in
quality of feedback BUT clear split with half students preferring
peer feedback and other half finding it not helpful
• Further two cycles with progressive refinements and overall
conclusion
EDU 40017
Peer feedback study cont…
14
• Cohort 2 (24 students): Changes introduced after consulting with
cohort 1:
• 2 dedicated feedback forms provided to lessen confusion
• Reassurance that feedback to be formative only; tutor would do
summative assessment; emphasis to be on friendly criticism to
help peers improve next time
• Ownership of forms given to students; don’t have to show to
tutor if they don’t want to
• Workshop on how to give constructive rather than hurtful
feedback
• Findings (Discussion & Questionnaire): marked improvement in
quality of feedback BUT clear split with half students preferring peer
feedback and other half finding it not helpful
• Further two cycles with progressive refinements and overall
conclusion
EDU 40017
Peer feedback study cont…
15
Aston University PGCPP residential
1. Carrying out research on your own teaching and/or on your
students’ learning is interwoven with being a reflective
practitioner.
2. Pedagogical action research is an empowering form of CPD,
particularly in engaging with the scholarship of learning and
teaching (SOTL).
3. Pedagogical action research needs to be disseminated and
open to public scrutiny through peer reviewed conference
papers and journal articles.
June 2011
Pedagogical Action Research,
reflective practice and SOTL:
killing three birds with one stone
16

similar documents