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Action Research Advantages And Disadvantages




VNU Journal of Science, Foreign Languages 25 (2009) 97-106 97 Why is action research suitable for education? Tran Thi Thu Hien* Department of Foreign Languages for Specific Purposes, College of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Pham Van Dong Street, Cau Giay, Hanoi, Vietnam Received 4 February 2009 7. Benefits of action research to education Action research can be a worthwhile pursuit for educators for a number of reasons. Foremost among these is simply the desire to know more. Good teachers are, after all, themselves students, students, and often look for ways to expand upon their existing knowledge. Teachers as researcher and students as change-receiver change-receiver profit much from action research. When looking at educational dimension of action research, Gay and Airasian [20] prove benefits resulted from the application of action research to education as follows:  _ Teachers investigate their own practice in new ways, looking deeper in what they and their students actually do and fail to do.  _ Teachers develop a deeper d eeper understanding of students, the teacher learning process and their role in the education of both teachers and students.  _ Teachers are viewed viewed as equal partners partners in deciding what works works best and what needs needs improvement in their classroom or classrooms.  _ In most cases, cases, solutions for identified problems are arrived cooperatively cooperatively among teachers. teachers.  _ Teachers are often more committed to action research because they identify the areas they view as problematical and in need of change.  _ Action research research is an ongoing process process and its strategies strategies can be widely applied. applied.  _ Professional development and school improvement are core aspects for any teacher who engages in action research.  _ Teacher reflection can be conducted individually or in a school-based team composed of students, teachers and administrators. Sharing the view with Borgia and Schuler [15], Mills [21] admits the importance of action research in education by adding that action research:  _ Encourages change change in schools;  _ Fosters a democratic democratic approach approach to education;  _ Empowers individuals individuals through collaboration on projects;  _ Positions teachers and other educators as learners who seek to narrow the gap between practice and their vision education;  _ Encourages educators educators to reflect reflect on their practice; practice; and  _ Promotes a process process of testing testing new ideas. Pros and Cons of Action Research and Participant Action Research (PAR). Posted on October on October 29, 2010 Pro Action Research can be used in education by the practitioner who wants to explore their own teaching style/practice. The practitioner may be asked by their institution to carry out Action Research on a work colleagues practice. For instance a teacher may want to explore why there is disruptive behavior in a specific lesson and particular group he teachers. He may have talked to work colleagues who have not experienced any behavior issues with this group. The practitioner may want to explore why this is happening. They may look at the course syllabus, his/her teacher style (if it is appropriate for this group), how discipline group, group dynamics. As a result of his findings he hopes to identify explanations for the  behavior and a plan to change teaching environment to reduce disruptive behavior. Some Educational Institutions believe practitioners should use Action Research as part of their continuing CPD (continuing professional development). Action Research can involve a variety of qualitative methods, these can include: 1:1 interviews, focus groups, participant observation. The practitioner may decide to use more than one method. Con There is a risk that for the practitioner who decides to evaluate his own practice. How do you select students to participate? How objective will the practitioner be in his/her selection of participants? Is there a risk that the practitioner selects students who he knows will co-operate with study, who he /she has a good relationship so that any comments/interview data will be complementary of the practitioner? Will students feel they have a choice to participate or are they just selected/coerced? Will participants be honest in answers to questions particularly if the answer was negative? Would there be fear of repercussions (lower grade marks etc). When writing up the report, how objective will the practitioner be when wiring the results? What if the report is critical of their teaching style? Will the practitioner include findings that will reveal this or will this  be left out of the report? If so it does raise the issue of how validated the report is. The purpose of Action Research is to allow the practitioner the opportunity for reflexive inquiry. That a  practitioner who decides to use this research method has to be prepared to critically analyze and evaluate their practice if they want to make changes and improve. They must be prepared to take action as a result of the findings. Advantages of action research  It can be done by an individual or a group  It improves educational practice and helps create better professionals  Educators can develop ways to improve their craft  The researchers identify the problems systematically  It can lead to the development of research-oriented individuals  It is collaborative and democratic THE BENEFITS OF ACTION RESEARCH The primary purpose of action research is to help teachers understand their students and improve their practice in specific, concrete ways (Hubbard & Powers, 1999). Through careful reflections and self- assessments, teachers can develop and refine their craft. The significance of the teacher’s study is how it informs and changes their teaching (Hubbard & Powers, 1999). Conducting action research can also change how teachers view themselves as professionals. Positive experiences with the action research process can build confidence in teachers as they collect evidence of successful teaching or decision-making. Christine Bennett (1994) conducted a study to evaluate teachers’ perceptions of action research. She found that teachers who conducted action research viewed themselves as being more open to change, more reflective about their teaching practices and decision making, and more effective teachers with fresher attitudes toward the educational process. Glanz (2003) discussed how action research benefits the field of education, teachers, and their students. The benefits he described are as follows: enhances decision making providing an intelligent way of making decisions,  promotes reflection and self-assessment, instills a commitment to continuously improve, creates a more positive school climate in which teaching and learning are more foremost concerns impacts directly on practice, and empowers those who participate in the process. Action research that is supported in the school and district can provide teachers ongoing opportunities to deepen their knowledge of teaching and learning. This can be an empowering experience for teachers. If the approach to action research is organized in a collaborative manner, this professional development approach can create a collegial, collaborative environment that fosters risk-taking, professional dialogue, and reflection. • • • • • • Ultimately, students will benefit, as their learning is the focus of the action research study.  Florida Literacy and Reading Excellence Professional Paper  Action Research “At its best teacher research is a natural extension of good teaching. Observing students closely, analyzing their needs, and adjusting the curriculum to fit the needs of all students have always been important skills demonstrated by fine teachers.” ~ Ruth Shagoury Hubbard & Brenda Miller Powers, 1999 Living the Questions: A Guide for Teacher Researchers , p. 3