Action research is immensely beneficial in the classroom, and I would venture to guess that most effective teachers take part in action research whether they are aware of it or not. Ever since I started my first day of student teaching, I have worked to improve upon my teaching methods. I typically start with a problem (or question), then try different strategies until I am satisfied with the outcome. One example of this deals with the spelling system I used as the basis for my digital story project. From day one, I did not enjoy teaching spelling, nor did I see the value in spending an inordinate amount of time using rote memorization to learn words. I was left with the question of how to teach spelling more effectively while spending less time focusing on it. I researched methods online, through blogs, educational websites, and journals and after much trial and error, I was able to find a system I was happy with (although I am always altering and making changes as I go). Part of the Painter article stresses the importance of sharing research with others in the profession, which I have done by sharing with teachers in my school, making my spelling system available on my website, and most recently, creating a digital story to share with my CEP classmates! Did I realize that I was conducting action research? Absolutely not! But was I? I sure was!
Aside from my own experience with action research, I also see the potential for growth within my school community and the online education community as a whole. When teachers are sharing their questions, trials, and conclusions, it provides the chance to take teaching and learning to another level. As teachers, we are advocating that our students learn from and build off of one another, so why are we not doing the same? It is easy to get trapped inside your own classroom once your door closes, but by opening the door and sharing we are not only improving our teaching skills and the quality of education that we are providing for the students in our class, but we are also helping to shape and influence the instruction and education of teachers and students in our schools locally and globally.
- Which problems do I have that I would like to address in my classroom?
- Are there any problems that I've solved that could be revisited?
- As teachers, we are advocating that our students learn from and build off of one another, so why are we not doing the same?
- How can I best connect with teachers in my school in order to share research?
- How will teachers in my school feel about conducting action research, or at least listening to my findings?
Metacognition Discussion Board Questions
- So..., what do you think? How do issues of memory, attention, development, and metacognition inform your thinking about your lesson plan?
Memory, attention, development, and metacognition are all important factors to consider when planning for instruction. In terms of memory, my lesson uses the strategies of organization and elaboration. The students will need to organize their thoughts and elaborate on the topic in order to create a useful Board. Attention is controlled throughout this lesson by the use of essential questions, focused information gathering, and clear expectations for the finished project. Developmentally, the students in my target group, incoming 4th graders, are on the cusp of "effective use"; they typically choose the right strategies to problem solve, but still require guidance from time to time. The lesson is formatted in a way that I can assist those who need help without holding back the students who are capable of effectively using strategies to be successful. Finally, the students will use their metacognition to plan a presentation that will explain a concept. In doing this, they need to be able to think about whether or not their presentation will make sense to their audience.
- Do these issues make you think differently about the use of technology in your lesson plan or, more generally, the use of technology in education?
When reviewing the four issues presented, I was pretty happy to see that I was able to meet each section without needing to "stretch" to make it fit! While the metacognition strategy that I listed is perfectly valid, it did make me think about whether it would be possible to add more opportunities for metacognition in the lesson. One way I came up with was the use of a student self-assessment. I will be adding this to end of my lesson so students will have a formal reflection upon their work.
Excellent posts! Outstanding reflection on action research. You did a great job using your own experience to illustrate - and motivate! - and citing specifics from the readings. Great thoughts on Metacognition as well, with very nice attention to detail!