The third section allowed a speculative comment about the activity, i. Lastly I would note any unintended benets or impacts. Findings Through the wide range of activities carried out during the last few terms the children have demonstrated that they certainly are eager to ask questions and when given appropriate opportunities they do ask them. Children need to be given time to articulate their questions and this must be planned into lessons and not left to chance. I found some curriculum areas easier to plan with a questioning approach than others so decided to concentrate on improving the childrens questioning skills in English, science and history.
I found that getting children to raise questions about texts gave them a much more sophisticated understanding of plots and characters. During hot-seating activities the children seemed naturally to ask the character about their motives and relationships with others. The child on the hot-seat had to reply in character and refer back to events in the story to substantiate their answers.
In this way the children were able to move beyond a literal understanding of text as they began to make inferences and deductions. Encouraging children to ask the kinds of question that will lead to investigation is at the very heart of successful primary science. The terms science topic always produced more childrens questions than any other curriculum area. I found that the questions dealt with more complex aspects of the topic as the term progressed and the childrens understanding and knowledge developed.
During the topic on electricity Jennifer age 6 asked, How do we light the bulb? Her second question shows that she now has the answer to the rst question and is ready to move to a further level of understanding. Also the second question demonstrates that she can use subject specic terminology i. History also seemed to naturally lend itself to a question-asking approach.
The children asked the most pertinent questions and those they genuinely wanted answers to when they had an identied audience. The children prepared questions for our class trip to Cefn Coed. Colliery Museum to ask the guide. Having done a good deal of work already on the topic of mining the children had plenty of questions already in their minds which they were now able to ask our expert. The questions revealed a strong interest in the lives of the children and horses who worked in the mines which we were able to follow up back in class.
Of course in light of the trip there were more questions which arose back in class, the answers to some began to take us beyond the realms of the childrens understanding. In this way question-asking, like the learning process, is never complete. Questions generate more questions and the teacher needs to be aware of the appropriate point to stop the questions and to consolidate existing knowledge and understanding.
From interviewing the children at the end of the project it is evident that the children gained great enjoyment and satisfaction in investigating and researching questions raised by themselves. They demonstrated greater motivation towards class activities knowing that they had had an input in the planning stage. Outcomes from the project Children are more likely to ask good quality questions when the learning activities are well structured with a tight focus. It was observed that children asked better quality questions when they had prior knowledge of the study area and had already participated in classroom activities relating to it.
When children were invited to ask questions about a brand new topic there was evidence of children offering questions because they felt they had to. In these cases there were more instances of unanswerable questions. This was particularly the case when the new topic had a very broad focus e. Houses and Homes. Topics such as Mould and Electricity produced the best quality questions. Evidence gathered from talking to the pupils demonstrates they understand question-asking as a tool to their learning. During the nal interviews with the target group I asked the children to complete the sentence Children should ask questions because.
Eight out of 11 children made a direct reference to the benet of question-asking to their learning. Evidence from lesson observations shows that children ask good quality questions when they are given rst hand experiences. When the children were engaged in practical tasks such as observing mouldy food, making electrical circuits or seeing which materials are attracted to a magnet, their questions arose spontaneously and from genuine perplexity or interest.
Good quality questions are raised when the children have opportunities to talk to each other. An unintended outcome from the project has been the improved group work among the children. Many of the activities introduced in the development phase required the children to work as a pair or a group. As a result the children have much better skills of co-operation and collaboration and have become quite mature in their ability to turn-take and delegate.
The talk observed within the groups was often purposeful and sustained. Children were observed discussing their questions and rening them when necessary. One question from one child would often trigger another childs question. It shows how she quickly discovered that the introduction of anti-racist teaching was a bigger priority. The original aim was to investigate ways to support this group of children to prevent them becoming disaffected at such a young age.
What the research actually uncovered was something shocking: that I was racist. I discovered that I was clearly inuenced by the stereotypes of certain groups of people, and because of this made assumptions about their behaviour and the reasons for it. The fact is that those demonstrating out of control behaviour were not part of any one ethnic group. The focus of the research therefore moved on to look at developing anti-racist practices within the school.
The school setting This research took place in a larger than average infant school serving a community in the thirty-sixth most deprived local authority in England. The educational background of parents is generally very low. Attainment on entry is well below average, particularly in terms of childrens development in communication, language and literacy. The school population is predominantly white, but with a growing number of families from a range of ethnic minority groups.
Research method The research used an ethnographic approach, which consisted of nding out peoples opinions and experiences including my own. I shared my concerns and aims with the participants, regularly discussing my ndings with them. The purpose of the exercise was. I kept a journal of events as they happened and documented questions I couldnt answer that arose from them. I would then re-visit these events over time and evaluate them in light of my reading and discussions with participants.
This proved to be a powerful tool to use in honestly examining my own thinking and practice. I interviewed a range of parents and teachers to nd out what they thought about their own education, their own ethnicity, and their experiences of racism. I asked what they thought about existing provision in the school to promote anti-racism and any suggestions they had for improvements.
Findings Teachers on the whole felt that not enough was being done to promote anti-racism. They were concerned that, although the multicultural approach of learning about other faiths, food and traditions was valuable, it was not enough to ensure equality of provision. However, they were unsure what else they could do. They felt that often they did not deal with issues through fear of saying the wrong thing. Parents were largely pleased that their children learned about other cultures. Those from minority ethnic groups felt that racism was something they had to put up with, as it was never going to go away.
They advised their children to grow a thick skin and ignore racist remarks. Many felt their job opportunities were fewer because of the colour of their skin, and they all felt they had to work harder than white people to gain recognition for the things they did. One parent felt it was good that protective legislation was available, but pointed out that though this did offer some protection it did not change attitudes and had the effect of silencing racist views and sending them underground.
Pupils were initially surprised as teachers became more condent about initiating discussion related to ethnicity. However, they very quickly began to join in and initiate discussions themselves. The impact of the research The major impact of this research is a change in the attitudes of teachers, pupils and parents alike.
Teachers are now more condent in being proactive in teaching in an anti-racist manner, both through the curriculum and by recognizing and dealing with racist incidents. Opportunities to highlight and discuss differences are actively sought within the curriculum. Pupils are comfortable to bring up issues of race and ethnicity, allowing dialogue that promotes equal opportunities and enables misconceptions to be dealt with. Teachers and pupils are more condent to discuss issues of ethnicity as part of class groups.
PHSE has become a major vehicle in promoting these discussions, although history, art, religious education and dance are other areas that are developing an anti-racist approach. Parents who were involved with the research have said they feel listened to and valued, and there has been a marked improvement in relationships.
Work with parents is in its infancy, though, and still needs development. Does a more creative delivery encourage GAT pupils to produce higher-level ideas and to be more satised with their projects? Context The project looked at the effectiveness of identication data across one year group of students in an comprehensive school. The study then continued through action research involving two groups of approximately 22 mixed ability students, one acting as a control group and one as the test group.
Background High Tunstall School is an comprehensive with students on roll. It is part of Hartlepool Excellence in Cities action zone but does not have a high proportion of disadvantaged families. Prior to the research, identication of GAT pupils in school was carried out by teacher nomination. This led to a large number of pupils being nominated with little coherence of standards across the department.
To address such discrepancies the school introduced the Middle Years Information System MidYIS a standardized ability test carried out within four areas: vocabulary, maths, non-verbal and skills for the Year 7 cohort.
Through analysis of these results, pupils could be sorted by rank order and a quantitative measure applied to identify the relevant GAT pupils. One common factor, rmly established in the many checklists for GAT George 42 , is an ability to demonstrate creativity. Hence the author also decided to investigate the effects of a more creative delivery method. Teaching processes and strategies The author made a simple modication to the delivery of the next textile project by introducing a group design exercise in the rst session, prior to any specic material knowledge being taught.
She was keen to explore whether this produced more creative designs than the previous technique of designing at a later stage. This exercise was intended to create a non-threatening environment in which pupils felt comfortable to take risks and not to be too concerned with the practicalities of construction. The opinions of the test group were then compared with a control group who had had a teacher led delivery traditional emphasis on making to examine if the more creative delivery stressing experimentation and discovery encouraged GAT pupils to produce higher-level ideas and to be more satised with their projects.
Findings Results of identication by current staff nomination system Different teachers have identied almost half the cohort as GAT over the course of the year see Table 2. The author reects that this could be due to: the lack of agreed detailed criteria or baseline assessments; pupils individual preferences for different themes; staff personality differences; or undue inuence of attractive presentation, which may also have inuenced nominations, as it does not necessarily reect ability.
Other factors could be pressure of work on staff leading to lack of quality time for assessment of potential, lack of differentiation or challenge in the curriculum, emphasis on making rather than creativity and national assessment criteria not being sufciently rigorously applied. Staff nomination of pupils compared to MidYIS testing MidYIS 22 total 4 girls 18 boys Vocabulary 24 total 6 girls 18 boys Maths 20 total 2 girls 18 boys Non-verbal 20 total 5 girls 15 boys Skills 22 total 5 girls 17 boys.
Many factors may have contributed to this including underachievement, attendance, behaviour problems and gender differences. Nevertheless, on consideration of these various factors, it was decided to identify GAT pupils within the sample groups as those with an overall MidYIS A grade. The original, teacher-led, control group were provided with experience of materials and equipment prior to producing ideas for a storage hanging traditional emphasis on making.
With the test group, an ability based group design exercise employing a strong emphasis on safe risk taking was used. Pupils were encouraged throughout the project to investigate and try out the skills necessary to implement their original ideas and discover for themselves which restrictions had to be placed on the construction phase.
The results show the range of ideas produced see Figures 2. Group 1 most able made use of a good range of different ideas and utilized annotation effectively to produce designs that were creative and functional. Group 6 least able demonstrated the. No annotation is present and many of the ideas are reworked versions of another.
This group found the exercise particularly difcult, as they had to think quickly, one minute per idea. Questionnaire results A questionnaire, developed from an Australian study by Anne Fritz , was administered to both groups under exam conditions. It was emphasized that there were no wrong answers and pupils were encouraged to be as truthful as possible.
When looking at satisfaction in Figures 2. However, the non-GAT pupils in the test group were less satised than those. With regards to ease in Figures 2. The author concluded that this was due to the more demanding approach delivered to this group producing a better-differentiated experience for the pupils. Pupils in the test group felt more independence than pupils in the control group according to Figure 2. This demonstrates the individuality of the more creative approach and allows pupils to take more ownership of their work.
Final outcomes The nal wall hangings that were produced demonstrated the better creativity of the test group. On comparing the overall outcomes of both groups it is clear that the test group demonstrated more creativity than the control group but that the standard of construction was similar. These results lead to the conclusion that, by arranging pupils within groups by ability and introducing a simple creative design exercise at the start of the project, GAT pupils were more satised with their work and produced higher-level initial ideas.
Research methods Students take the MidYIS test on entry to the school and data from these results were analysed to identify prospective GAT individuals. Design and technology staff were also asked to identify GAT students in their teaching groups, under the current system of using professional judgements, at the end of each project session resulting in three sets of identication data for examination. The objective of the questionnaire was to explore the affective responses of students to the different delivery styles used in the test projects. Conclusion Identication This small-scale research project provides evidence to demonstrate inconsistencies resulting from systems of teacher identication of GAT where there are no clear guidelines to work from.
Through the limited examination of the different test area scores done here, I feel that non-verbal, maths and skills scores of pupils should be taken into account when producing initial ability lists for consideration.
This is in line with the DfES recommendation for use of both quantitative and qualitative methods for identication. Focus on creativity The results demonstrated that pupils found the emphasis on creativity to be more challenging and motivating than the traditional style of delivery. The variety of ideas produced initially by the group exercise showed a good range of imagination, although many of these were later simplied to accommodate production issues.
Overall this proved to be a good method of enriching the curriculum for all and in particular for the GAT pupils. However, for this approach to be most successful, it seems to be important that pupils of similar ability work together at the designing stage in order to stimulate more creative ideas. Once the focus of the project has been established, pupils can work effectively in friendship groups with GAT pupils offering support to the less able during construction.
This, in turn, helps them to consolidate their own skills. The project aimed to provide network and school leaders with the appropriate tools to conduct research. Four research lessons studies, three research partner teachers An analysis of pupil data revealed a group of Year 9 pupils who were predicted to achieve Level 4 in science in Key Stage 3 tests. Their class teacher felt they knew the science and were held back in test scores by their early developmental stage in English, which was causing them to fail to articulate the science he felt they knew. He worked with colleagues from the MFL department.
They used a research lesson to establish the degree to which his hypothesis may be correct using non-verbal assessment methods to ascertain the pupils levels of scientic understanding. They then brainstormed approaches using language learning techniques which may help develop the pupils abilities to structure, sequence and express their scientic understanding in written answers to questions.
The science lessons began to incorporate activities such as cut up instructions to sequence, structured cloze test and DARTs activities which pupils did in pairs and groups. The research lessons were used to establish ways of making these more effective by close observation of focus pupils. Findings and outcomes Pupil attainment expressing science orally and in writing soared.
All but one of the pupils predicted to attain Level 4 in fact attained Level 5. Research lesson question: How does peer tutoring in music work and how can the science department learn from the technique in order to improve science teaching and learning? Three research lessons studies, four research partner teachers plus seven ITT students An advanced skills teacher in science wanted to nd out how a successful science department, in a multilingual school, could learn from an exceptionally successful music department.
What techniques could be replicated or adapted? Research lessons were used to identify how peer tutoring was used and how pupils utilized and beneted from the techniques. Only this level of study would enable understanding of the process in sufcient depth to begin to design similar approaches in science. A sequence of lessons was observed and captured on video. The research partners made more and more targeted use of the video to enable subsequent studies of the developments and behaviours of the focus pupils. Findings and outcomes The study enabled the research team to be very explicit about the component parts of the peer tutoring which was in use so successfully and to analyse how these worked.
They produced artefacts to illustrate these please see www. They also produced evidence of the enhancement of pupil learning of music, English acquisition, self-esteem and condence to learn. The next quest is to use research lesson study to implement what was learned in science. Analysis These two examples both show careful studies, which have enabled learning to travel between departments in the same school.
The research teachers took care not to make assumptions about what peer music tutoring or writing about science might involve. They used the research lessons to ensure that the understandings were deep and shared across the subject boundaries, before attempting to solve the issues.
But both also show how the learning about how to teach, which the teachers gained, impacted upon pupil learning and achievement in the rst of the two cases, dramatically improving upon predicted Key Stage 3 and GCSE grades their validation test. All these colleagues had taught together for some years, but it has been research lessons study which has opened the doors, or glass walls, between departments and subject areas.
"Creating Educative Community through Educational Research"
There is already an extensive literature on the component parts of effective teaching see, for example, Chapter 10 but less on the process of matching teaching strategies to students learning styles. Much of the matching of teaching and learning styles has been extremely speculative, based upon the premise that if a sufcient variety of strategies are employed, then a catch-all effect will apply.
The need for some form of dialogue between teachers and students about teaching and learning methods in the classroom has increasingly been recognized by a number of the schools in the IQEA project. These schools have shown themselves willing to discuss with students their views about what constitutes effective teaching. It is also clear that they regard some acknowledgement of student learning preferences, in the teaching which takes place within their classrooms, as an element of effective teaching in its own right.
They have also called for an easy-to-administer research instrument that can both help them match what goes on in classrooms more closely to the preferences of their students and provide clues about where to develop the teaching repertoire of their teachers and the learning repertoire of their students. In order to undertake an audit of the teaching strategies used in its classrooms, and a survey of students views on those strategies, we developed instruments based on the work of David Kolb. Kolbs seminal work, Experiential Learning, effectively reconceptualizes Piagets work on developmental learning into four distinct and authentic learning styles, with no implicit hierarchical structure.
These four learning styles can be represented as quadrants in a grid where the two dimensions of perceiving and processing information have been juxtaposed, and Kolb also gives useful descriptors of each learning style.
Our colleagues have further identied a range of classroom activities and strategies associated with each of the four learning styles see Fielding and from this have produced an observation schedule which can be used to record the incidence of these various activities in a lesson Beresford Each activity is coded according to the learning style for which it caters. As each activity occurs in the lesson, its incidence is noted.
No assessment is attempted regarding the effectiveness of the various strategies within the context of the lesson. At the end of the period of observation the different number of strategies and learning activities employed by the teacher is totted up and recorded, in the boxes provided, against the appropriate learning style. Hence the lesson can be said to have a particular prole corresponding to the combination of numbers in the boxes. These can be converted into percentages of the total number of strategies and activities used. In order to assess students preferences for these characteristics teaching activities, we drew up a similar schedule on which students were asked to indicate which of the activities they preferred.
The schedule consists of a list of classroom activities directly related to the teaching strategies listed in the observation schedule. By scoring Dont Like responses as 0, Dont Mind as 1 and Like as 2 and adding the total for each of the learning style. By adding the totals of all students in a particular group, a group prole can be obtained. These proles indicate individual and group learning style preferences see Beresford , The schedule is versatile inasmuch as it can be used to gauge individuals learning preferences as well as group ones.
Students preferences in individual subjects can be assessed as well as their general learning preferences. Some schools have used the schedules to nd out which strategies the students feel are most effective in the teaching of an individual subject, but most have felt that their students lack the necessary analytical skills to arrive at such a judgement. The schedule can also be used to assess any gender differences or differences between year groups. Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College was established as a upper school in to provide comprehensive education for 32 villages situated in rural mid-England.
Sharnbrooks school improvement model is now a continuous, whole-school initiative deeply embedded into our work. At its heart is a uid group cadre of staff committed to working in partnerships and together around areas of mutually agreed enquiry. During the eight years of involvement with IQEA we have had almost as many different modes of operation for the school improvement group, but certain characteristics remain consistent. Some of these are that: The school improvement group is led by two staff operating in a co-leadership model. The school improvement group breaks down into trios of staff, each engaged in a separate enquiry designed to generate knowledge and understanding about the schools work and to indicate directions for improvement.
Each of these partnerships undertakes a sustained process of enquiry within the school, drawing also from the knowledge-base within the eld and from good practice elsewhere, and, as an outcome of this data-gathering, suggests improvement to the schools practice, supports the implementation of improvements and then enquires further into their effect upon student learning or the wider school community.
Each partnership tries to ensure that all those who contribute towards their research are involved, too, in the process of making meaning from the data and, where feasible, in the implementation of outcomes. Each partnership also commits to connect with the wider constituency of staff,. The school facilitates opportunities for each partnership to lock into consultation and decision-making structures, as appropriate, so that ndings from the enquiry will be implemented. The entire school improvement group commits to monitoring the value of their own work and to critique each others practice.
It goes without saying that staff at all levels of the school are involved, including newly qualied teachers, support staff and, more recently, students. Each partnership is entirely free of status positions within the more formal organizational structure of the school and offers leadership opportunities to a variety of staff. Some partnerships might be involved with signicant whole-school issues for example, assessment strategies to improve student achievement while others may be engaged in focused classroom research activity questioning technique, or cooperative groupwork.
The scale of the intended impact is less signicant than the quality of the knowledge deriving from the enquiry. A piece of classroom research, for example, can have equally powerful whole-school impact if the knowledge about seating arrangements, starts and nishes of lessons or whatever is sufciently signicant and widely owned. By we had incorporated into the model a group of students who were empowered to operate their own school improvement group, complementing and mirroring the style of the wider group. As the student voice dimension of our work evolved, we wanted more authentic and active involvement than passive voice.
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Between a third and half the staff were, at this stage, involved any one year, focusing exclusively on enquiry and improvement issues. Following a workshop with the whole staff, six areas of classroom practice were identied, and each of the trios has adopted one of these areas mandated by the whole staff. The rst enquiry task for each of the partnerships is to develop a powerful theoretical understanding of their particular teaching and learning focus by researching the knowledge-base, observing classrooms, visiting other schools, or whatever.
The trio will then practise and develop their skills in the classroom, providing in-house coaching for one another. The next phase will be to engage in action research with students to seek to validate the impact of this approach upon learning. Throughout this process the remainder of the staff all staff not involved in one of the partnerships will choose one of the areas, creating associate groups of about 15 staff for each partnership, who will follow the course of events, engage in workshops and generally become immersed and prepared.
When or if the action research process validates the impact of the model, the associate staff will be asked to adopt the approach in their own classrooms and to be coached by the trio engaged in the original work. This is a huge over-simplication of the model, but even described at this level it gives indications of the infrastructural and cultural changes that have evolved through the work of the various models. These would include: the opening up of classrooms and classroom practice and the legitimization of inclass coaching;.
He describes, in the rst person singular, the ctionalized predicament of a teacher who turns to the research literature for advice on which teaching strategy to use. I teach social studies in the form of a human issues programme covering such topics as the family, poverty, people and work, law and order, war and society, relations between the sexes. I wonder whether I should include race relations.
A complicating factor is my style of teaching controversial issues to adolescent students. I set up discussions and use evidence such as newspapers, stories, pamphlets, photographs and lms. I act as neutral chairman in those discussions, in order to encourage critical attitudes without taking sides. In short, I have been inuenced by and am in the tradition of the English Humanities Curriculum Project Stenhouse I am very concerned that my teaching should contribute positively to race relations in my multiracial society, if that is possible. I wonder whether I should teach about race relations at all.
If so, I wonder whether it is appropriate in this case to take the role of neutral chairman, even though this is a teaching convention and not a position professing personal neutrality. Here I nd that the project has monitored on a pre-test, post-test basis two different strategies of teaching about race relations, one in which the teacher is neutral called strategy A , the other in which the teacher feels free to express, whenever he feels it appropriate, his committed stance against racism called strategy B.
Strategy A was conducted in 14 schools and strategy B in 16 schools. The samples are not true random samples because of problems of accessibility of schools and students, but I know something about this from my study of education at college Campbell and Stanley Control groups have been gathered in the same schools as the experimental groups whenever this was possible, though this was not possible in all cases.
I came across this table see Table 2. Post-test mean S. Direction of shift and tvalue difference of means t-value for difference between the experimental and control groups. This seems to help me a good deal at rst sight. My neutral strategy is strategy A. Attitudes in the strategy A group seem to improve and, though the improvement does not quite reach even the 0. Strategy B does not look markedly superior to strategy A, so I dont seem to need to change my teaching style. So it seems that research has helped me by enabling me to decide the right style in which to teach about race relations.
But, oh dear, heres a problem. On a later page the same data are presented in a different form to show the situation in individual schools and this seems to complicate the issue as shown in Table 2. Now, looking at this table, I personally feel that, given comment codes A, B or C, I certainly ought to proceed, given comment codes D and possibly E, I should proceed with great care, and given codes F and G, I might be better to give a lot more thought to the matter.
In seven out of 12 schools, the result seems encouraging, in four schools results seem doubtful and in one of the 12 rather alarming. How do I know what category my school will fall into? This is really rather disturbing for my decision. Perhaps I should shift to strategy B. Lets look at the strategy B table see Table 2. Oh dear! This is no better. Here eight out of 15 schools are reassuring, three are doubtful and three are alarming.
Strategy B seems no refuge. Can it be that statistically signicant discriminations between two treatments when presented through means and standard deviations can mask such a range of within-sample. Their views were as follows:. Principle no. Action research is about improving practice through intervention and demands rigorous planning, observing, collecting of data, reflecting on it, replanning and validating claims to learning. Action research is about understanding and developing our sense of ourselves, through listening, talking, sharing and supporting. Action research can use fiction to stimulate reflection and to challenge taken for granted assumptions.
Action research enables the tentative, fictional self to struggle with the 'everyday' self, and celebrates our emergence with - maybe- changed values, attitudes, beliefs, behaviours and feelings. Action research is about dialogue, collegiality and support for each other. It is about building a learning community that recognises the centrality of feelings and the need to express these as part of the learning process. Action research is our own voyage of discovery about our lived experiences, using the literature to develop our thinking about our practices.
Action research can be reported as the authentic story of our development, accessible to colleagues, and judged against the principles which have emerged during the course of our enquiry. The two areas we felt to be particularly important, which did not seem to have received recognition before, are those of using story see Evans , pp; a pp; b pp ; and the emotional support the members of the action research group give towards each other.
We were very pleased to have the support of the university, through Professor Pam Lomax but she did not work with us in an everyday context. My first experience of action research was in , as part of a Diploma in Professional Studies in Education, and was set up by me to monitor and evaluate the innovation of mixed Physical Education lessons with year 8 in a Comprehensive School. I was Head of Girls' PE. During the project, I did things I had never thought of doing before: I taught a mixed sex group of pupils with a male member of the PE department; I made field notes of lessons; I audio-recorded some of the lessons and evaluated them later on; I photographed the actions of pupils in the lessons; I triangulated my evidence with the support of an outsider researcher; I devised questionnaires for the children to complete; I set up small group discussions which I audio-recorded; I analysed the data I collected; and I discussed the action with members of the department.
I came to understand about action research from a study of the literature: Stenhouse , a, b, ; Hamilton, ; Elliott and Adelman ; Walker and Adelman ; Elliott , , ; Kemmis and McTaggart ; Nixon ; Carr and Kemmis ; Burgess ; Kemmis and Henry ; Hopkins By the summer of , I had collected a wealth of data. The emphasis in the project was on pupil interactions, which were largely determined by the attitudes, values and beliefs which pupils brought to their lessons, by how I had structured the course, and by how consistently the ethos and values of the school matched those of the innovation which was being introduced.
I had adapted the course to accommodate what I found out from the pupils, and I structured the lessons so that both boys and girls could experience equity in the opportunities to participate, and that both could address their stereotypical ideas about boys' and girls' performance. By I had changed schools and changed projects. Action research this time was about learning how to teach study skills to Year 7 across a range of curricular subjects, and therefore, working with a range of teachers.
The overall aim in both projects was to improve the education we gave the pupils, but in neither of the projects did I really keep myself at the centre of the enquiry. That was to come later as my ideas on action research developed. It was very useful having him sit in my lessons and make constructive comments afterwards. On a very much smaller scale, it was similar to the kind of action research written about by Marion Dadds , p ; Morwenna Griffiths , pp ; and Christopher Day pp , in that, these pieces of research reported the academic working with a single teacher in an action research project.
I was also carrying out an action research project, and I was helped by the physical presence of an academic talking to me about my work. In my case, we had only very limited time together. In the other three cases that I have cited, there was a very much greater involvement of academics with the individual teachers over a period of time. Action research can have many faces and my views of it have changed over the years. I know that many action researchers do their research focusing on the context of their work rather than on themselves, for example, exploring how best to put an anti bullying policy into practice, how to teach IT to Year 8 most effectively, whether a summer literacy school maintains the reading age benefits for pupils through the first year at secondary school, and so on.
The question, How can I improve my? Michael Fullan talks persuasively about the individual and change, about how important it is for each and every educator to strive to be an effective change agent p He talks of individuals having their own visions, not borrowing them from others; he talks of individuals being committed to change and development. One starts with oneself, but by working actively to create learning organisations, both the individual and the group benefit. Chris Day , p has written an interesting account of his work with an English teacher in a Secondary school. The close working partnership eventually reveals aspects of the teacher's practice with which the teacher is not best pleased, but which have been accepted by him as being a solution to his perceived problems.
Day goes on to say : "it is only where teachers perceive that their personal solutions are themselves inadequate that they will be moved to search for means by which they can change. It is this discomfiture with what teachers are doing that brings them to the point of wanting to change. Without the wish to change, commitment to self study in action research will be superficial.
Zoe Parker gives a good example of the struggle for personal learning in her paper for this symposium Parker, , p2. She takes this idea of inner understanding further when she talks about the intra subjective understanding of her own learning and relates personal learning in research situations to one's personal history.
She says that " It is educative to consider the lives we have lived and the moments of particular significance within our lives which play a part in shaping our way of being in the world. They often talked about their values, beliefs and where they were coming from in trying to make sense of their experiences, before they were able to see the way forward to change. So let me now look at the teachers and go back to the questions, would any of our teachers really want to do it?
Why should they give up their free time to pursue an action research diploma? And why should they confront their coping strategies and " increase that confusion by asking uncomfortable questions until the source of the difficulties are exposed? Why not just keep it to themselves and plod on, perhaps adopting the deficit model I spoke of earlier, blaming the children that things are not better? I set up a group of action researchers at Denbigh in September , with about ten teachers initially out of a staff of Some of these ten dropped out, and others joined in, but eventually seven teachers completed the Action Research Diploma by September ; more completed it in and we then expanded into a Masters Degree course taught at Denbigh by Pam Lomax and myself in the first year, and thereafter, by me as a part time tutor of Kingston University while at the same time as I had been doing all along , pursuing my role as Deputy Head of the School.
The learning culture within the school has changed. For the first few years the group was seen by others in the staff room as exclusive which it definitely wasn't - anyone could have joined , and maybe the people who made up the group saw themselves as exclusive as well. They certainly acquired a new vocabulary and talked of planning, action and self reflective cycles, only to be asked by those looking from the outside in, how many wheels the cycles had. As we all got better at what we were doing, action research became an accepted part of the school culture, and most of the participants involved other teachers in many different ways, so outsiders came to feel included.
Outsiders became critical friends, observers of lessons, video-ers of lessons, participants in discussions, feedback givers on management studies, critical audiences for validation meetings, readers through of important chapters and so on. I think action research is part of the taken for granted school culture now; it was praised in our OFSTED report December ; it received a substantial award from the Woolwich Building Society for Open Learning in ; and it was noted as a strength of the school in our Investors in People award in December But this still does not answer the question, why should the teachers want to do it?
Many of these answers amount to teachers having ownership of their own learning and development. I believe this is a very powerful motivating force in teaching and it is through each individual's inspirational and intrinsic desire to change that improvements in the school can be built. In the same way as GCSE targets should be based on a bottom up version of aggregating each individual student's targets to arrive at an institutional target, so the drive to improve schools should be based on teacher targets, set by the teachers themselves and supported from within the school itself.
Strongly held beliefs are part of what drives teachers to undertake action research. As one of our teachers put it recently in her dissertation " I believe that schools can make a difference to young people's aspirations, achievements, and chances of leading fulfilling working and personal lives.
I would want therefore to be part of an effective school, and I believe that I can contribute to the 'effectiveness' of a school. Another colleague, uneasy with his style of team leadership, spent time reading and says " I discovered the importance of 'empowerment' as a leadership quality. I found that empowerment is seen by many writers on leadership as a key feature of that role I came to recognise that empowering others means reducing my control of the team through appropriate delegation and sharing the ownership of team plans and activities.
I needed to adopt a more democratic approach to my management and leadership of the team as the way to empowering colleagues and releasing their potential for both personal growth and team development. This teacher had thought he was managing his team in a democratic manner, but through reading, exploring his values and talking to his team members, he found there was much he could change in order to be living out his values consistently, and as he would have wished, in his practice. Two further teachers were motivated to engage in action research through a desire to improve results; one was a classroom teacher, and the other a head of department.
The two studies are very different, not only because the curriculum area is different, but also because in the one case the teacher was able to concentrate on pedagogical skills, but in the other the teacher had the responsibility of improving the departmental results, not just their own. I work very hard, and I take my share of the preparations and revision.
However, I acknowledge that I can be impatient and pre-occupied. This can be off putting to others and sometimes a barrier to communication. This should not be copied! I should delegate more; I have written about my inability to delegate - and my reasons for finding it difficult to do so - already. Finally, I do have high expectations - both of myself and others. If I did not, I would not have spent so much time trying to get the revision of programmes of study right. In the conclusion this head of department says: " I knew when I started my action research, that it was not going to be comfortable.
Indeed, there were times when it was quite painful. The nature of my research meant that I had to engage in a great deal of soul searching. At times, I felt very vulnerable, but on reflection, I appreciated the group's criticisms of my skills of leadership. I felt I had gained a clearer insight into my behavioural tendencies. The other teacher who wanted to improve results felt that students were not engaging with their learning; they were going through the motions, and would achieve reasonable results, but he felt they had the potential to do better if they became more reflective about their learning.
He became particularly interested in Howard Gardner's work on multiple intelligences; he went on a course which explained the principles of learning through visual, auditory and kinaesthetic methods, and this inspired the teacher to try some of these ideas out. Not only was he interested in introducing the new brain based learning theories into his teaching, but he was also keen to integrate the pupil voice into his research, and to encourage pupils to think about both what they learnt and how they learnt it. His thesis is a detailed account of strategies he adopted, the students' response to his teaching and his discussions with his critical friend who helped him to think more deeply about what he was doing.
Teacher action researcher number 5 explains how she wanted to transfer some of her learning through action research into her own classroom. Her research was entitled, How can I use teaching methods which promote maximum involvement with the set text by my A level English Literature students? I hoped to emulate the positive elements of the teachers' Action Research group with my students. I encouraged the students to write stories at the beginning of the course which enabled them to explore their thinking about themselves; a good example of this was an imaginative poem about a baked bean can ".
Stone p In discussion with the students, Stone realised that she was concerned about her new Sixth Form image and how to find the right one, but eventually decided that although you can change your image, you cannot fool your friends into thinking you're different inside. Both the topic and the discussion revealed the teenage need to explore the understanding of the self. Teacher action researcher number 6 secured a Teacher Training Award TTA award in for research into motivation factors in 6th form students.
In giving the students a voice see Rudduck I was able to identify a number of recommendations that we could implement to improve motivation among sixth form students. The students very clearly said that there was a need for them to talk to teachers individually about their school lives - form tutors and subject teachers. Disseminating my findings in school contributed to discussions among teachers on supporting and improving Sixth Form performance and it was agreed that a new system of Individual Tutorials should be introduced which encouraged teacher-student talk to take place.
These are fortnightly discussions between students and their form tutor, focusing on their subjects, general sixth form issues and higher education or job applications. I have also worked very hard on the relationships between the students and myself, listening more to what they have to say about their learning. I now use regular review sheets to gather students' views of the course and of their understanding of the concepts and theories covered in lessons.
This has enabled students to negotiate the structure of the course and lesson activities and has also encouraged me to set up after school revision sessions for those students who have found some elements of the course particularly difficult. I now know which areas of the course to target in these extra sessions, so that the help I can give students is relevant for their particular needs.
I have also learned from the students which activities they found most useful in learning the content of the course and how I could improve their learning experiences. These are all examples of research projects undertaken by teachers at school. The projects have been supported by all members of the action research group listening to the each other's ideas and research progress, going on external courses where necessary to update knowledge, having the advantage of an on-site tutor and being able to access library facilities at the university.
They have resulted in many changes in the learning experiences of a range of students, and I believe these changes are for the better, in some cases of management practices and in others in pedagogical skills and examination results. One of my purposes in writing this paper is to share with others our experiences of an in-house program of teacher action research, in the hope that other teachers may like to try out this model of staff development in their own schools.
From a management perspective, there are some important factors that might need to be considered: the tutor of the group, the school development plan, and the autonomy of teacher researchers. This should be someone who understands action research and has engaged in the practice of action research. Many teachers in senior positions in schools now have Masters Degrees with a considerable element of action research in them, so would be familiar with the working practices. I have been one of the deputy heads at my school for a few years now and have been the action research group tutor since My senior position in the school is very advantageous to me because I get to know my students very well, and in particular get to understand their difficulties to an unusual depth of understanding.
This means that not only am I better placed to help them resolve the problems, but also I have a vested interest in helping them to succeed, even more so than just might be expected from within my role I have a vested interest in that I want them to pass their Masters Degree. This doesn't mean that their action research project has to be successful in terms of outcome, but it does mean it has to be successful in terms of process, which is of greater fundamental importance to continued pedagogical development than straightforward outcome would be.
My aim is to help the teacher researcher gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of the teaching process, which, over a period of time, could be turned into an improvement in the ever important standards. All this takes place within the context of a situation that both the tutor and teachers understand, as both are members of the same institution, working towards the same goals.
As a tutor on a course which is founded on self study, I also develop a clear view of teachers' strengths, and as such, can have useful staff development discussions about career choices ahead. Of course, all this could turn sour! I could see only weaknesses and I could manipulate people using action research as a management tool see Griffiths M pp However, I would not wish to do this because it would not only undermine the general aim of improving the teachers' practice through action research, but it would also undermine my relationship with the teacher concerned, and consequently with others who might find it difficult to trust me thereafter.
Much of the success of what we have done is based on the trust we develop amongst ourselves as part of the group processes we engage in. One other great advantage to me being the deputy head is that there are no mixed messages given as a result of ignorance of the overall vision for the school. I am party to discussions on where the school is going and the visionary plans which might one day come into effect. I therefore have a good idea of what will work, what will fit the ethos of the school, what is possible from a management point of view. I can advise against travelling down particular routes which might be counterproductive and I can help to restructure ideas so that they fit in with the culture of the school.
This is very rarely necessary. My own understanding of leadership in setting up this form of staff development in the school was the subject of my Ph D thesis Evans However, an important part of my views on leadership can be found in a much shorter version in the Journal of Leadership and Management Evans , in which I discuss my need to review and overturn my customary leadership practices and give control of their learning to the teachers. I did not find this an easy step to take!
If a school is to make action research a priority of its staff development programme, then there should be a commitment to it within the school development plan SDP. In addition, the plan should be wide ranging enough to encompass most teachers' research in its scope. For instance, if SDPs contain sections on improving examination results or improving teaching and learning, then most action research projects fall within this remit.
The teachers should be encouraged to select their own project.
However, when it comes to the point, most teachers are unhappy with their practice because it doesn't seem to be in line with what the school is wanting to happen. For instance, if the school wants better results, teachers who are not being as successful in this respect as they would like, may well want to pursue this as a project. The question arises, what is the cause of the teacher's dissatisfaction in the first place? Has it come from within the teacher solely, or has it come from within because of the external pressures on the teacher? Our partnership with Kingston University has been an essential part of the process of establishing action research as a contributor towards school improvement.
Pam Lomax was instrumental in getting our action research studies accredited at Post Graduate Diploma level through the University's academic board. Without this we would have had no goal to aim for in terms of being rigorous in our data collection analysis, interpretation, validation and writing up, each of which stages gives so many opportunities for learning. The Action Research Diploma was structured around our needs, so we did not have to fit in with pre-ordained University requirements.
I also benefited from belonging to the Kingston Hill Action Research Group, set up by Pam Lomax to support action researchers in their professional lives and to give the necessary opportunities for learning for Ph D students. Whilst I was thinking through the way I was developing inservice training in school over a period of some four years, I was able to present papers at the Kingston University meetings and also at National and International Educational Research Conferences which gave me the opportunity for hearing what others had to say about my ideas and about my action research.
I was able to modify my interpretations and ideas or not as I saw fit, but I was at least confident that they had been offered to the scrutiny of an audience in the field of education. Much of the detail of the Diploma course and of how we moved on to set up the Masters Course, both of which were based on teachers undertaking action research, is to be found in a paper we presented at AERA in San Diego and at BERA, Belfast, In particular this paper points to the moves towards teacher training being delivered by the schools rather than as in the past, it being delivered by the universities.
As Ann Liebermann pointed out in her BERA Carfax Lecture, teachers have learned not to trust other adults and tend to view intrusive staff development as being something that takes them away from the kids Evans, Lomax and Morgan, p5. The UK government has called for improvement in 'education, education, education'. Money is being made available, consultation papers on proposed changes have been prepared and distributed, examination targets have been negotiated with Local Education Authorities School Boards. The profession is to be modernised and the Government Secretary for Education has said that he is prepared to give something for something - meaning more pay for more work!
Meanwhile the educational research community is being torn apart from within its own ranks, and there is considerable insecurity about the future of educational research. Alongside this insecurity, the future of education departments in universities and, consequently, the inservice training of teachers both hang in the balance. All this is worrying for us at Denbigh.
On the one hand we are improving education through a variety of means and our action research projects have contributed significantly to the improvement our school has made over the years. The projects are directly related to teachers' performance in the classroom or as leaders; the titles1 themselves spell out the research the teachers undertake. But on the other hand, if the support structure of the university were to collapse, then what would become of our work in school? In the UK, the Teacher Training Agency TTA has been responsible for funding much educational research, in particular supporting some teachers' research projects; but the Hillage Report , an influential government commissioned analysis of aspects of educational research relating mainly to schools entitled, Excellence in Research on Schools , raises questions identified by policy makers and funders concerning teacher research, such as whether teachers have the research skills necessary either to do research themselves, or even to know what is good research p This seems to me to be ironic as on page 25 the report says " At the heart of the debate is the issue of quality.
However, we found no single objective definition of what actually constitutes 'good quality' research. The Hillage report p 39 claims that "the overall message from practitioners is that most education research does not impinge much on practice It goes on to say, however,. We were presented with a number of examples of teachers applying the results of their research in their classrooms, and where colleagues and other schools would be influenced by the outcome. For example, one teacher told us about her research project which looked at the advice and guidance for sixth formers, and as a consequence of which changed the reporting procedure for sixth formers, resulting in a process that was judged better by staff and pupils.
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The report continues by pointing out that in schools that have such a culture, time is found for a reflective approach to teaching. Is this what the TTA wants when it talks of teaching as a research based profession? Does it want the teachers to do their own research or does it want them to use other people's research; does it want researchers to work more in schools or does it want schools to be a part of more extensive pieces of research? Does it want a mixture of these things? If the TTA wants teaching to be a research based profession, then why has it not had more influence in the Government Department for Education and Employment's DfEE green consultative paper entitled, Teachers, meeting the challenge of change, which, in promoting changes to the teaching profession, talks of better leadership, better rewards, better training and better support.
It does not, however, indicate that research could be fundamental to the development of the profession, through encouraging a teacher as researcher movement. Why doesn't someone ask teachers what they want and what would be helpful? There were only four schools named as contributors to the Hillage report, compared to 93 other contributors, and yet the report was called, Excellence in Research on Schools italics mine. How was it that only four had anything to say? Michael Barber is the Head of the Education Standards Unit in the UK, and in his book, he advocates a term out of teaching every five years to be spent by teachers in industry.
If it is going to be so beneficial for teachers to learn from industry, might it not also be valuable for industry to learn from schools? I do not see any calls for industrialists to spend that amount of time in schools; an afternoon maybe. Many industrialists do not have a clear view of how schools are organised now, and base their views on when they themselves were at school.
Much has changed! But more importantly, if and it is a big if teachers can be spared for a term, then why cannot they be spared to undertake in-service training, in the form of action research projects, the application of which caused, according to the Hillage report, p40 considerable impact in classrooms, on colleagues and on the process of change in school.
I remember being excited by the prospect of a sabbatical term, first proposed in the James report as long ago as ; I have waited with baited breath, but it seems to have been forgotten along the way. What a shame! Now that could have had impact on teaching and managing in schools! One of the biggest needs for teachers is time. Time to talk to other teachers about the myriad of things teachers are now responsible for doing; time to think about these things; to plan, to set up innovative projects, to mark endless pieces of work, and probably at the bottom of the list, to read books, articles and research reports and to learn from them and from their classroom experiences.
If only time could be built into the teachers' day for keeping up with research, for doing their own research, how valuable that would be! I think that for many teachers this should take priority over seeing how industry works, useful as this may be too. This, then, is my vision for staff development in the future. I should like to see each school as a learning centre, not only for children, but for teachers as well; where the culture of the school is about learning - life long learning; where teachers' learning is considered important in terms of the benefits it gives the school, as well as the benefits it gives individual teachers; where teachers' learning is supported, organised, encouraged and tutored by a senior member of staff; and where universities work in close partnership with the schools to make all of this happen.
Creating a new discipline of educational enquiry in the context of thepolitics and economics of educational knowledge. I am also extending an invitation to you to help to take my enquiry forward and to strengthen my contributions to educational knowledge and theory. In this symposium I want to establish my credibility with you as a professional educator.
I also want to outline how a new discipline of educational enquiry can be created in the context of the politics and economics of educational knowledge. I see the significance of this new discipline in terms of its ability to include both the living educational theories created by professional educators and the theoretical frameworks created by researchers from other disciplines of education such as philosophy, economics and politics.
Through my research I am seeking to understand how and why I influence the educational development of others in the way I do. As an educational researcher I want my self-studies of my life as a professional educator to contribute to the educational knowledge-base of my subject, education. I know this may sound strange to those of you who see yourselves primarily as educational researchers whose contributions to educational knowledge are made in different ways. However, I am going to consider the possibility that the self-studies of professional educators may be making original contributions to educational knowledge and theory in a way which can acknowledge the value of such differences and draw on insights created by them.
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In doing this I want to avoid some of the problems associated with the proliferation of new paradigms of educational research. In other words I am inviting you to criticise a description and explanation of my own educational development in my professional learning as I engage in a self-study of my own life as a professional educator. I am hopeful that this process will appeal to researchers of all kinds who are engaged in understanding education and who believe that their research may have something significant to say to those who, like me, are engaged professionally in education and teaching.
Let me say something about the context in which I work. What I think distinguishes my work as a professional educator from other professionals such as architects, lawyers or doctors is that I work with the intention of helping learners to create themselves in a process of improvisatory self-realisation Winter As individuals give a form to their lives there is an art in synthesising their unique constellations of values, skills and understandings into an explanation for their own learning.
I am thinking of the art of the dialectician described by Socrates in which individuals hold together, in a process of question and answer, their capacities for analysis with their capacities for synthesis. In the enquiry below I will be focusing on my educative relationship with Kevin Eames in the process of enabling him, as his university supervisor, to make his own original contribution to educational knowledge. In the process of writing this paper I hope to demonstrate what I am meaning by a new discipline of educational enquiry.
In other words, this new discipline of educational enquiry, is constituted not solely by linguistically defined rules and the conceptual theories and frameworks of the traditional disciplines of education. It is constituted by the values which are embodied in what is being done by professional educators and their students in particular contexts. The development of my understanding of this new discipline has been influenced by communities of professional educators. They have helped me to articulate my present understanding so that I can say that the new discipline is grounded in the creation, by professional educators, of autobiographies of their learning.
The way in which this new discipline of educational enquiry can contribute to educational knowledge and theory is through the descriptions and explanations which individual learners produce for their own educational development. I think it is important to fully acknowledge the way in which the creative and productive lives of other educators and researchers have helped to form my own. I could not have articulated my beliefs above without the contributions of others. Because a full acknowledgement would involve even greater detail that the pages of text below I must be satisfied, given my time constraints here, to mention briefly some of their contributions.
As she says:. As I construct the text, I shape my identity and sense of self and call back into consciousness memories of my history of being in the world. He describes the evolution of his understanding of dialogical encounter and explains how his enhanced understanding enables him to express and understand himself. The collaborative research between Moyra Evans and Pam Lomax Lomax, Evans and Parker, is also significant in the creation of a new discipline because of the way they have developed and researched a partnership between Denbigh School and Kingston University to support the development of an action research approach to school-improvement and the professional development of teachers in the context of the politics and the economics of educational knowledge.
To Moira Laidlaw I owe the insight that the values I use, to give meaning and purpose to my life as a professional educator, are themselves living and changing in the course of their emergence in practice. I wish to hold myself accountable in my educative relations as a professional educator to a discipline of education which is grounded in such values. Let me see if I can show you what a new discipline of educational enquiry means to me in my educative relationship with Kevin Eames.
I also want to focus your attention on my own learning as I am seeking to address the questions: How do we display what we have learned? What forms can we trust? What modes are legitimate? How shall we know? This classification scheme is used by most libraries on campus to determine the shelf order of the books and collocates items by topic. The information below has been drawn from sources outside of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.
In most instances, the information will be from sources that have not been peer reviewed by scholarly or research communities.
- The White Stripes And The Sound Of Mutant Blues.
- Education that Empowers: A Collection of Lectures in Memory of Lawrence Stenhouse.
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- Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World (Oxford Political Theory)!
Please report cases in which the information is inaccurate through the Contact Us link below. An education that empowers : a collection of lectures in memory of Lawrence Stenhouse.