This class has made me reflect on my career and the wonderings that I have about it. I have been in the education field for over 20 years. I started out as a special education teacher assistant, then became a classroom teacher, then a GT/Title I coordinator then back to a teacher, then I become an Instructional Coordinator then I went back to the classroom. All this experience really got me thinking. What has changed? How is teaching now and teaching in 1989 different? I thought and thought and concluded that it was campus culture and how that affect student instruction going on in all classrooms; PK-12. As my career has evolved, I have played both sides of the coin and see the need for state accountability but see the pressure that everyone goes through to achieve success on this rating. I have felt the pressure as a campus leader and as classroom teacher. I believe everyone will benefit from this type of research, districts, schools, principals, teachers, parents, and students because it will strengthen our self-confidence and lead all of us to making the changes necessary to improve and/or resolve this issue affecting everyone in the education field.
I have also come to realize the power reflection has. Reflection is a vital skill leaders should have. They need to be able to reflect, adjust and modify their practice accordingly. Reflection is a key role in action research because it allows the administrator time to reflect on his/her own data, and experience. With reflection comes action, action that will ultimately impact everyone on campus, teachers, students, parents, and principals.
Blogging is something that I also found to be very useful. I had never used it and really didn’t know what it was all about. Now I see how it can be a great tool to get your information out there and receive feedback as well.
Something that I found very interesting was what Dr. Johnny Briseño, Principal, Rancho Isabella Elementary, Angleton ISD suggested. Dr. Briseño suggested that we should reach out to the web and other resources of research that has already been done about any topic we wish to research. There is probably already a school or organization that has encountered the same problem and has developed an idea that has worked for them. You can take their idea and modify it to the needs of your campus. Starting from scratch will definitely take you more time and you will take the chance of doing too much “trial and error”. I will definitely do this as I carry out my action research plan.
I also discovered that that I would do research on almost any given area on a campus.
I really like the suggested strategies to support and sustain action research that Harris, 2010, explains in his book. They are Force Field Analysis, Delphi Method and Nominal Group Technique. All these strategies will help resolve many issues in schools.
The weekly discussion boards were also very helpful. They provided background information and different points of view on some of our same wonderings. It also made us reflect on subjects that we hadn’t even thought about researching but are impacting us as well.
Finally, I really appreciated the web-conferences we had with Dr. Abshire. She was able to provide us weekly guidance on this very important task we are about to take on; Action Research.