I have always thought of research as reading and comparing, reading, reading, trying to prove or disprove a hypothesis, then writing it all up. This was what I was expecting this time as well. I was greatly relieved to discover that this research is more action than research, but also a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of the requirements and quality indicators.
The lectures gave insight into what was coming and how to face it. The web conferences were enlightening and also stress relieving because we asked questions and received answers where we needed them. I really appreciated that we were assigned specific sections to read for each assignment rather than the whole book (Leading with Passion and Knowledge, Dana, © 2009) although I have begun at the beginning to read it through. It was easy to read, explained the vocabulary, and gave great examples to help me through this learning. The section on “Developing Your Inquiry Question” (Dana, pgs. 31-36) gave me ideas that can be turned into wonderings in the future or, if possible, to use in the spiral of my first inquiry.
While doing searches to find an inquiry, I found many websites that will help me in other inquiries as well as the one with which I am starting. The assignments and activities helped to clarify the massive amount of information we were receiving and allowed me to organize it for future use. Some of the assignments were difficult at first, but after I worked through them, I felt empowered. The blogs and discussion boards are very helpful in getting other opinions and answering questions that made me focus the inquiry. These also help me feel not so alone. An online course sometimes feels a little cut off just as teaching can be lonely. Having others to share with and questions helps bring the learning closer.
I think that teachers should be trained to do action research inquiry for most of the staff development hours required. This would allow teachers to think about their style and how to change to help students. It would allow collaboration (many heads are better than one) and pull teachers closer together as they help each other. I just think that this is a better method for SD than just throwing things at educators, hoping they will catch and use it. I realize that some staff development that is direct teaching is necessary. Action research not only helps the one doing the study, but also others that receive the sharing of that project.
I am looking forward to my action research project. I still have some changes in mind but will wait until I can talk to my Site Supervisor after the summer break. I am excited about using the district provided programs to help lower students achieve success.