Action Research: Problem Solving

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Kadri, H. is an English academic writing teacher who is working in Department of Writing Studies (DWS) at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). She teaches four sections of English academic writing courses (WRI 001: Fundamentals of Academic Discourse, WRI 101: Academic Writing and WRI 102: Writing and Reading across the Curriculum) each academic semester. She is now teaching a combination of WRI 101 and WRI 102; however, the concentration of this paper will be about a problem reported in the WRI 101 level. Her students in both levels come from all majors in AUS and have different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. WRI 101 students are at the academic level of Freshman I, Freshman II or Sophomore I. They join WRI 101 based on their matriculation from either WRI 001 or ELP 200 level course offered by the Achievement Academy (AA) Department in AUS, placed directly into WRI 101 based on their result in the EPT (English Placement Test), or failed WRI 101. The problem originated when the teacher introduced her WRI 101 students to the skills of summary and paraphrase applied in different tasks throughout the semester such as persuasive essays and to write a summary and critique. According to the course syllabus, students get introduced to the summary and paraphrase skills in week two all through week seven, and then they come back to it before the end of the semester in week 13. After explaining the key concepts of summary and paraphrase to her WRI 101 students, she wanted to test their level of understanding to the target skill. She decided to put them in groups to work on summary and paraphrase activities in class. The students were asked to work in groups and elicit the main idea from the reading and the sub-main ideas in the remaining parts of the same reading piece. All students were informed before the start of the activity that their individual work in the group activity would count towards their class participation grade. While working in groups, the teacher realized that some students in the groups were sitting idle without contributing to the group work, while one or two students were dominating the act and doing most of the work. Consequently, she has realized that the dominance performance of some students in the group summary and paraphrase activity was affecting the learning and implementation process of the taught skill in the individuals who remained idle during the group work task. This negative influence was also influencing their class contribution individual grade assigned to each group summary and paraphrase work task. To tackle and hopefully solve the WRI 101 summary and paraphrase group work issue, the teacher is recommended to conduct action research. Action research is a self-reflective iterative research approach that teachers could apply themselves in their own teaching context to improve and gain more rational about their teaching practices and the challenging situation they encounter in class. To start her action research, Kadri, H. should do the following: 1. Identify the problem.

2. Conduct a preliminary investigation to gather baseline data. 3. Form a hypothesis about the current classroom issue.
4. Plan the intervention.
5. Take actions and observe the outcomes.
6. Reflect on the outcomes.
7. Identify a follow up issue to be the entry to cycle two of the research. The table below summarizes the steps that will be taken to conduct action research as an attempt to solve this issue.

Cycle and Steps| Summary of each step|
Cycle One| |
Step 1: Problem identification| When WRI 101 students are asked to work in groups to practice summary by finding the main points in a piece of writing, one or two students dominate the work during the activity.| Step 2: Preliminary investigation| * Teachers: data collected through the teacher * Students: data collected via the students * Course: some related data about the course| Step 3:...
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