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Action Research Proposal Information

Wk 3 – Action Research Proposal: Section One [due Mon]

Assignment Content-

Complete

Section One: Problem Identification of the Action Research Proposal.

Write

a minimum 2-3 page paper that includes the following information:

Area of Focus – Provide:

The area of focus

A problem statement

(use the problem statement below, it is approved)

A description of the problem

(read

Sylvia Rojas-Activity for Reconnaissance

paper below)

The topic of the proposed research study

(use the topic statement below, it is approved)

Justification for using action research –

Mills (2018) textbook pgs. 42-46.

(Pages 42-46 are included at the bottom of this paper.)

The purpose of the project

Why you picked this topic and how you relate to it

How this topic influences or is influenced by your role in your current setting

What you expect to accomplish (use measurable terms-

It is expected that 90% of the 7th-grade students in virtual math lessons will be actively engaged in their learning.

)

Problem Statement

The problem is that some 7th-grade students are not actively participating in the virtual math class lessons.

Topic Statement

The impact of implementing a teacher-student-home communication system on 7th-grade students’ participation and academic achievement in the virtual math class.

Purpose of the project and researcher’s role- Discuss:

(read

Sylvia Rojas-Activity for Reconnaissance

paper below for ideas to be used)

Use APA format

, which includes pagination that begins on the title page.

DO NOT USE FIRST PERSON

. Read my post in the class Course Resources section on Academic Writing.

(The pages

Tips for Academic Writing

are included at the bottom of this paper.)

Always include an introduction and conclusion in papers. The introduction should prepare the reader for what is to follow in the body of the paper or provide background information. The conclusion should not include information not discussed in the body of the paper. It should recap key points mentioned in the paper.

Review the

Faculty Feedback Form

attached below for all criteria required for this assignment. I will use it to grade the assignment and provide feedback.

CUR/535: Research for Improved Practice
Action Research Proposal Information
Wk 3 – Action Research Proposal: Section One [due Mon]
Assignment Content
→ Complete Section One: Problem Identification of the Action Research Proposal.
→ Write a minimum 2-3 page paper that includes the following information:
❖ Area of Focus – Provide:
o The area of focus
o A problem statement (use the problem statement below, it is approved)
Problem Statement
The problem is that some 7th grade students are not actively participating in the virtual math class
lessons.
o
o
A description of the problem (read Sylvia Rojas-Activity for Reconnaissance paper below)
The topic of the proposed research study (use the topic statement below, it is approved)
Topic Statement
The impact of implementing a teacher-student-home communication system on 7th grade students’
participation and academic achievement in the virtual math class.
o
Justification for using action research – Mills (2018) textbook pgs. 42-46. (The pages 42-46 are included
at the bottom of this paper.)
❖ Purpose of the project and researcher’s role- Discuss: (read Sylvia Rojas-Activity for Reconnaissance paper
below for ideas to be used)
o The purpose of the project
o Why you picked this topic and how you relate to it
o How this topic influences or is influenced by your role in your current setting
o What you expect to accomplish (use measurable terms- It is expected that 90% of the 7th grade
students in virtual math lessons will be actively engaged in their learning.)
→ Use APA format, which includes pagination that begins on the title page. DO NOT USE FIRST PERSON. Read my
post in the class Course Resources section on Academic Writing. (The pages Tips for Academic Writing are
included at the bottom of this paper.) Always include an introduction and conclusion in papers. The
introduction should prepare the reader for what is to follow in the body of the paper or provide background
information. The conclusion should not include information not discussed in the body of the paper. It should
recap key points mentioned in the paper.
→ Review the Faculty Feedback Form attached below for all criteria required for this assignment. I will use it to
grade the assignment and provide feedback.
CUR/535: Research for Improved Practice
Sylvia Rojas: Activity for Doing Reconnaissance
The focus area of my proposed action research study is: the problem that some 7th grade students are not
actively participating in the virtual math class lessons. Based on my experience teaching Mathematics and my
studying of the subject, I have been influenced by Siemens (2004) theory about connectivism in the digital age.
Connectivism is a relatively new educational learning theory and it focuses on the idea that people are
continuously learning and growing when they form connections. Thus, teachers use digital media to make good,
positive connections that produce learning. This theory of connectivism directly affects the ways in which I
think about teaching mathematics to my students, during this Covid pandemic that has forced digital age
learning to the forefront of education and student learning. As a teacher, I hold the educational value that
learning requires creating connections and relationships with my students to help them feel motivated about
learning. I believe that students should be actively engaged in learning, even when learning takes place digitally
and virtually.
The 7th grade teachers are currently having issues with virtual students actively participating in the Math
lessons. I want to discover if implementing a teacher-student-home communication system on 7th grade
students’ participation will improve student engagement of virtual students; thus, impacting academic
achievement in the virtual math class. Out of 157 students in 7th grade, 45 are currently virtual learners. Of
those 45 students, only 18 are actively engaged in virtual math lessons. With that only being about 40% of
students in 7th grade, there is clearly an issue. This shows that 60% of virtual students are not actively engaged
in their education. The critical factors that affect my area of focus are communication between teacher-student,
teacher-parent, and parent-student. A relationship exists between virtual students’ academic achievement and
they level of efficient communicate between teachers, parents, and students. The situation that will be
investigated is whether a implementing a communication plan will have a positive effect; particularly an
increase of student engagement in Math lessons.
CUR/535: Research for Improved Practice
References
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age [html]. Retrieved from
http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm
————————————————————————————————————————————————–
Mills (2018) textbook pgs. 42-46.
Mills, G. E. (2018). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher (6th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Page 42
Justifying Action Research: The Impact of Action Research on Practice
At the beginning of a course on action research, I often ask teachers to reflect on what they do in their schools and
classrooms; that is, what are the assumptions they take for granted in their schools and what are the origins of those
practices? Often the responses include the following:
In elementary grades, it is important to do the “skill” subjects in the morning and the “social” subjects in the afternoon
because that is when young children can concentrate better and learn more.
The best way to do whole-group instruction with young children (grades K–3) is to have them sit on the “mat” in a circle.
That way, they are close to the teacher and pay more attention to what is being said.
In high schools, the optimal time for a learning period is 43 minutes. Anything longer than that, and the students get
restless and lose concentration. Therefore, I think that the proposal for “block scheduling” is just an attempt to make us
more like elementary school teachers.
If you simply share scoring guides with children, they will automatically do better on the test. There’s no need to change
instructional approaches.
In a science laboratory, if children spend less time collecting data, they will develop a deeper understanding of the
science concepts being taught.
Although these are real examples of just a few of the naïve theories about teaching and learning that I have heard, they
also indicate the gap that has existed between research and practice in the field of education. To what extent has
teaching practice been informed by research? Is teaching informed by folklore? Do teachers acquire the culture of
teaching through years of participation and observation, first as students and then as neophyte teachers? How did
teachers get to be the way they are? Are some of the derogatory Hollywood portrayals of teachers and teaching (as
characterized, e.g., in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Mr. Holland’s Opus) really warranted? What is it about research that
makes teachers, in general, snicker at the thought that it can in some way improve practice? What is the potential for
this discussion to put action into action research efforts?
CUR/535: Research for Improved Practice
Page 43
According to Kennedy (1997), studies of the connection between research and practice and the apparent failure of
research to affect teaching has provided the following insights:
•
•
•
•
Teachers do not find research persuasive or authoritative.
Research has not been relevant to practice and has not addressed teachers’ questions.
Research findings have not been expressed in ways that are comprehensible to teachers.
The education system itself is unable to change, or, conversely, it is inherently unstable and susceptible to fads.
Many teacher researchers may consider Kennedy’s hypotheses to be statements of the obvious; however, these
statements provide yet another rationale for why many teachers have chosen to be reflective practitioners: to address
the intractability of the educational system. These hypotheses also speak to the desire to put action into ongoing action
research efforts.
Action Research Is Persuasive and Authoritative
Research done by teachers for teachers involves collection of persuasive data. These data are persuasive because
teachers are invested in the legitimacy of the data collection; that is, they have identified data sources that provide
persuasive insights into the impact of an intervention on student outcomes. Similarly, the findings of action research and
the actions recommended by these findings are authoritative for teacher researchers. In doing action research, teacher
researchers have developed solutions to their own problems. Teachers—not outside “experts”—are the authorities on
what works in their classrooms.
Action Research Is Relevant
The relevance of published research to the real world of teachers is perhaps the most common concern raised by
teachers when asked about the practical applications of educational research—either the problems investigated by
researchers are not the problems teachers really have or the schools or classrooms in which the research was
Page 44
conducted are vastly different from their own school environment. In reviewing the past two decades of research on
schools and teaching, however, Kennedy (1997) cites the seminal works of Jackson’s (1968) Life in Classrooms and
Lortie’s (1975) Schoolteacher as ways to illustrate the relevance of the findings of these studies. Kennedy’s review found
that classroom life was characterized by crowds, power, praise, and uncertainty:
Crowds—Students are always grouped with 20 or 30 others, which means that they must wait in line, wait to be called
on, and wait for help.
Power—Teachers control most actions and events and decide what the group will do.
Praise—Teachers give and withhold praise, so students know which of their classmates are favored by the teacher.
Uncertainty—The presence of 20 to 30 children in a single classroom means there are many possibilities for an
interruption in one’s work.
Kennedy (1997) argues that one of the aims of research is to increase certainty by creating predictability within the
classroom because “routines increase predictability and decrease anxiety for both teachers and students” (p. 6).
CUR/535: Research for Improved Practice
One of the outcomes of action research is that it satisfies the desire of all teachers to increase the predictability of what
happens in their classrooms—in particular, to increase the likelihood that a given curriculum, instructional strategy, or
use of technology will positively affect student outcomes. And although these desirable outcomes come at the initial
expense of predictability—that is, they have emerged from the implementation of a new intervention or innovation—
the findings of your action research inquiries will, over time, contribute to the predictability of your teaching
environments.
Voices from the Field Action Research Is Relevant
In this video, the teacher researcher talks about the important role action research plays in keeping her focused on
making sure that the students in her classroom are learning. Using an action research process, the teacher is able to
satisfy her desire for predictability in her classroom knowing that when issues arise in her teaching related to the
implementation of curriculum and instructional strategies, she is able to have confidence in her research findings. This
knowledge is relevant to her classroom
Page 45
setting and contributes to her understanding of “best practices” in her classroom and their positive impact on student
outcomes.
Action Research Allows Teachers Access to Research Findings
Kennedy (1997) also hypothesizes that the apparent lack of connection between research and practice is due to
teachers’ poor access to research findings. This apparent lack of impact of research on teaching is, in part, credited to
teachers’ prior beliefs and values and the realization that teachers’ practices cannot be changed simply by informing
them of the results of a study. After all, if we reflect on how we currently teach and what we hold to be sacred teaching
practices, we are likely to find that our beliefs and values stem from how we were taught as children (“It worked for me
and I’m successful. I’m a teacher.”) and how we have had teaching modeled for us through our teaching apprenticeships
(student teaching).
Simply informing teachers about research is unlikely to bring about change. Therein lies the beauty, power, and
potential of action research to positively affect practice. As a teacher researcher, you challenge your taken-for-granted
assumptions about teaching and learning. Your research findings are meaningful to you because you have identified the
area of focus. You have been willing to challenge the conventional craft culture. In short, your willingness to reflect on
and change your thinking about your teaching practices has led you to become a successful and productive member of
the professional community.
Action Research Challenges the Intractability of Reform of the Educational
System
Kennedy’s final hypothesis is that the lack of connection between research and practice can
Page 46
be attributed to the educational system itself, not the research. Kennedy (1997) characterizes the American educational
system as follows:
•
•
•
It has no consensus on goals and guiding principles.
It has no central authority to settle disputes.
It is continually bombarded with new fads and fancies.
CUR/535: Research for Improved Practice
•
•
•
It provides limited evidence to support or refute any particular idea.
It encourages reforms that run at cross-purposes to each other.
It gives teachers less time than most other countries do to develop curricula and daily lessons.
Given this characterization, it is little wonder that the more things change, the more they stay the same! Again, action
research gives teacher researchers the opportunity to embrace a problem-solving philosophy and practice as an integral
part of the culture of their schools and their professional disposition and to challenge the intractability of educational
reform by making action research a part of the system rather than just another fad.
Action Research Is Not a Fad
One insight that Kennedy does not address when discussing the apparent failure of research to affect teachers’ practices
is the belief of many classroom teachers that researchers tend to investigate trendy fads and are interested only in the
curricular approach or instructional method du jour. Therefore, it is not surprising to hear critics of action research say,
“Why bother? This is just another fad that, like other fads in education, will eventually pass if I can wait it out!” But
action research is decidedly not a fad for one simple reason: Good teachers have always systematically looked at the
effects of their teaching on student learning. They may not have called this practice action research, and they may not
have thought their reflection was formal enough to be labeled research, but action research it was!
————————————————————————————————————————————————–
Faculty Feedback Form
CUR/535: Research for Improved Practice
CUR/535: Research for Improved Practice
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————
Tips for Academic Writing
The University of Phoenix requires students to use APA style format and guidelines for academic writing. Therefore, students
will refrain from using first person (I, me, my, we, etc.) in assignments for this class. Many times, you can avoid using first
person by rephrasing the sentence. Doing so makes the sentence more academic and makes the statement more direct and
assertive. For more details about APA guidelines visit the UOP Center for Writing Excellence.
Example #1:
Original example: I think that the pastor’s ethical arguments are logical at least it seems that way to me.
Better example: The pastor’s ethical arguments are logical.
In the example above, there is no need for the writer to announce that the pastor’s statement is his/her thought. It is your
paper; therefore, anyone reading it will assume that the ideas in it are yours. Class the same is true for avoiding the use of “in
this writer’s opinion”, etc.
Here’s another example in which an alternative to first person works better:
Example #2:
Original example: While I was reading a study on Roman life, I noticed social class was clearly defined.
Better example: A study on Roman life reveals that social class was clearly defined.
Also, know that at other times you can substitute “I” for other words such as:
·
This researcher
·
This educator
·
This writer
·
This author
In addition, you should avoid using the following in academic writing:
·
Do not use colloquial vocabulary- conversational language such as figures of speech, clichés and idioms; for examplegot out of hand, above board, writing on the wall, read between the lines, etc.
·
Do not use contractions- write the full words- do not rather than don’t
·
Do not use numbers to write the month in the date, especially on a title page (write May 15, 2019 rather than 5/15/19)

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