Dr. Cindee Easton
Action Research for Educators (EDUC - 6733R - 1)
January 9, 2011
Comparative Look at Action Research
Based on my prior knowledge and this week’s resource, I see a little clear why action research can help me address the needs of my students better. This week I have learned the difference between action research/teacher inquiry and education traditional research. Also, I have learned the relationship between action research and teacher professional growth and decision making. Last, I have been able to see what teacher inquiry/action research look like, how they are similar and different. I have discovered this week that the traditional model of educational research differs from teacher inquiry. Traditional research is conducted by researchers. It looks at what others are doing and strives not to get personally involved (Schmuck, 1997). However, our textbook states, that teacher inquiry is the “systematic, intentional study of one’s own professional practice” (Dana and Yendol-Hoppey, 2009, p. 6). After studying my completed comparison chart, I discovered some ways that action research is the same and different as traditional educational research studies. They are the same in that their main purpose is to collect data, to inquire, or problem solve in the classroom (Schmuck, 1997). However, they are also different. Traditional research is looking at what others are doing and action research is the teacher looking at what they are doing (Schmuck, 1997). I feel that they both have weaknesses and strengths. One weakness would be that the traditional research is not in the actual everyday classroom. It may not always focus on the individual needs of my students, whereas action research occurs in the classroom with my students and the teacher is personally involved (Schmuck, 1997). A strength of traditional research is that a teacher may not have the time to conduct a research in the classroom and can rely on others research to pull from. When reading the three teacher’s action research studies, I found that they all had similarities, yet varying results. In Goldstone’s “The mother tongue: The role of parent-teacher communication in helping students meet new standards” (2003) promoted teaching practices that resulted in more culturally responsive teaching. This action research/teacher inquiry shows a glance into academic challenges for Asian American students and them meeting performance standards related to listening and speaking. It highlighted the importance of a strong home-school relationship and proposed that conferences have translators. Williams’ action research study “What teacher behaviors encourage one at-risk African American boy to be a productive member of our classroom community?” (2007) influences her and her student, Davonte. She accomplished this by paying closer attention and being reflective, as she continued in her mission to make Davonte's school year successful and happy (Caro-Bruce, 2007). Yet, in Nguyen’s study, “Understanding high school black male students’ achievement and school experience” (2007) she encouraged equity in teaching practices to meet the needs of a diverse student body, black males. This study reminded me a lot of Dr. Tatum’s book Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap, (2005). He says that effective teachers must go beyond teaching instruction and must also know their students. I too feel that in order for us to close the reading gap we need to implement effective strategies, use differentiated instruction, and know our students’ background and interest in order to motivate them to want to be successful. Based on all of this week’s resources I learned numerous things about action research/teacher inquiry. The most important thing that I have learned, as an educator, about the process is that by conducting it...