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Professional development through action research d. nunan
Professional development through a c t io nDavid NunanUniversity of Hong KongAnaheim University
OVERVIEW Defining ‘research’ and ‘action research’ Differentiating ‘classroom’, ‘teacher’ and ‘action research’ Questions that are appropriate for action research Steps in the action research process Payoffs, problems and solutions Developing an action plan
PRELIMINARY DISCUSSIONHow do you think ‘action research’ differs from ‘regular research’?What are the differences between ‘classroom’, ‘teacher’ and ‘action research’What are some of the questions that might be appropriate for action research?
DEFINING RESEARCHResearch: “the organized, systematic search for answers to the questions we ask” (Hatch and Lazaraton, 1991:1). A “systematic process of inquiry consisting of three elements or components: (1) a question, problem or hypothesis, (2) data, and (3) analysis and interpretation” (Nunan, 1992:3).
The psychometric paradigm: issues insearch of dataThe naturalistic paradigm: data in searchof issues DOMINANT PARADIGMS
AN ALTERNATIVE PARADIGM ACTIONRESEARCH An iterative cycle of planning, observing, acting and reflecting Involves “small-scale interventions” Is done by practitioners in naturalistic settings Involves a wide range of data types
Goals of ActionResearchAction Research has twomain goals:3.To seek localunderstanding4.To bring aboutimprovement in thecontext under investigation
Classroom Research,Action Research &Teacher Research& Classroom research can be conducted by teachers or other researchers, using many research methods Teacher research can be done inside or outside of classrooms by teachers, using many research methods
Classroom Research,Action Research &Teacher Research3. Action research can be conducted by teachers and other researchers, both inside and outside classrooms4. Action research can be conducted by teachers in their own classrooms
THREE TERMS THAT ARE SOMETIMESCONFUSED 1. Classroom Research
THREE TERMS THAT ARE SOMETIMESCONFUSED 1. Classroom Research 2. Teacher Research
Three Terms ….1. Classroom Research 2. Teacher Research 4. 3. Action Research 4. Classroom Action Research by Teachers
1ST REFLECTION& DISCUSSION TASK Write down three issues / questions you have or things you would like to know about your teaching and/or your students’ learning. Share you issues / questions in groups and explain why you chose these.
Steps in doing Action Research The research is initiated by a question, problem or puzzle An action is initiated Relevant data are collected The data are analyzed and interpreted The results are made public The process is under the control of the classroom teacher
THE ACTION RESEARCH CYCLE Plan Act Reflect Observe
THE ACTION RESEARCH CYCLE Goal #2 Goal #1 Plan Act Reflect Observe
Example of ActionResearch: Cycle 1Step 1: Problem/puzzleidentification -- “Studentmotivation is declining overthe course of the semester.”Step 2: Preliminaryinvestigation -- “Interviewswith students confirm mysuspicion.”
Example of ActionResearch: Cycle 1Step 3: Hypothesisformation - “Students donot feel they are makingprogress from their efforts.Learning logs will provideevidence to learners ofprogress.”Step 4: Plan intervention -“Get students to completelearning logs each week.”
Example of ActionResearch: Cycle 1Step 5: Initiate actionand observe outcomes -“Motivation is improving,but not as rapidly asdesired.”
Example of ActionResearch: Cycle 2Step 6: Identification offollow-up puzzle - “How can Iensure more involvement andcommitment by learners totheir own learning process?”Step 7: Second hypothesis -“Developing a reflectivelearning attitude on the partof learners will enhanceinvolvement and motivationto learn.”
Example of ActionResearch: Cycle 2Step 8: Second round ofaction and observation “Atthe end of each unit ofwork, learners complete aself-evaluation of learningprogress and attainment ofgoals.”
2ND REFLECTION& DISCUSSION TASKWhat do you see as the payoffs, problems and solutions in doing action research?
PAYOFFS1. Each teacher learned more about their own theories, or frames for teaching2. The frames for teaching of the participants were related to the bigger questions of second language education and education in general.3. Action research was a powerful means of facilitating change (Lewis,1992).
CHANGES REPORTED BY TEACHERSTeachers: Became less directive Used a greater variety of behaviors Praised more, criticized less Were more aware of students’ feelings Used the target language more Incorporated student ideas more
CHANGES REPORTED BY TEACHERSTeachers: Spent less class time talking Made greater use of group work Elicited more divergent open-ended student responses Made greater effort to get students to participate
PROBLEMS / CHALLENGES Lack of time Lack of expertise Lack of ongoing support Fear of being revealed as an incompetent teacher Fear of producing a public account of their research for a wider (unknown) audience
SOLUTIONS There must be someone ‘on the ground’ to ‘own’ the project. Experienced advisors must be available. Teachers must be given adequate training in how to do research.
SOLUTIONS Provide teachers with release time from some face-to-face teaching. Create collaborative teams. Start small.
RETURNING TO REFLECTION TASK 11. Review one of the the three questions you have or things you would like to know about your teaching and/or your students’ learning. Compare these ideas with one or two other people.2. Brainstorm ‘next steps’ in researching your question.
Steps in the Action Research Process1. Problem identification2. Preliminary investigation3. Hypothesis formation4. Intervention5. Data collection6. Data analysis7. Expected outcomes
REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION TASK 3 Using the steps in the action research process as a template, and the issue / question you developed earlier, create your own action research plan.
FURTHER INFORMATIONBailey, K.M., A. Curtis and D. Nunan. 2001. Pursuing Professional Development: The Self as Source. Boston: Thomson Learning / HeinleBurns, A. 1999. Collaborative Action Research for English Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Edge, J. (ed.) 2001. Action Research. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.Nunan, D. and Bailey, K.M. (2009). Exploring second language classroom research. Boston: Heinle.Wallace, M.J. (1998). Action research for language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.