In a field driven by research based best practices, who better to add to the growing base of knowledge than teachers? Action research is a practical inquiry based approach to research conducted by teachers interested in gathering information about how they teach, how classrooms operate and how well their students learn. Data is gathered with the intent of developing effective practice, effecting positive change and improving student outcomes. Teachers assume responsibility for their own professional growth by identifying problems in the school, developing research questions, conducting research, writing about their study and sharing their findings. Action research often yields findings that result in increased collaboration, improved achievement, revision of practice, research based school wide planning, and new contributions to the professional body of knowledge about teaching and learning. Teachers will need additional time and resources to conduct, evaluate and share findings in effective ways. Districts can provide this type of support by redirecting a portion of their professional development funds to teachers within their school systems willing to conduct action research. This will allow educators to meet periodically to support one another in research. The district or specific schools may also host annual spring conferences where teachers share their research with the educational community through presentations, round table and panel discussions.
Idea No. 46