This paper examines how a series of action research projects, supported and guided through a university-public elementary school partnership program, began. It also presents the content and impact of the action research projects from the voices of a university professor, classroom teacher, and principal. The partnership promoted study groups which involved preservice and inservice teachers and were led by university education faculty. The groups explored such topics as multiple intelligences, block scheduling, emotional intelligence, inclusion, literature-based reading programs, and cultural awareness of diverse students. The preservice and inservice teachers worked on their action research projects by focusing on five areas: problem formation, data collection, data analysis, reporting the results, and action planning. Participants found the projects exciting and rewarding. The action research helped create systematic change in teachers’ attitudes about themselves, their teaching, and their teaching abilities. It also helped improve student learning as teachers researched new areas, improved teacher effectiveness as teachers experimented and reflected on educational innovations, contributed to teacher professional development as they shared what they learned with colleagues, and helped teachers overcome isolation. (SM) Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * * from the original document.
SUPPORTING SYSTEMATIC CHANGE THROUGH ACTION RESEARCH Daniel T. Holm, Indiana University South Bend Karen Hunter, Teacher, Hay Elementary Judith Welling, Principal, Hay Elementary The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, the paper will focus on how a series of action research projects, supported and guided through a university/public school partnership program, began, and secondly, the paper will present the content and impact of the action research projects from the voices of a university professor, classroom teacher, and principal. What Is Action Research? Action research, also known as teacher research, has the potential for systematic change in the ways in which teachers teach as well as how they think about themselves as professionals. Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1990) define teacher research as “systematic and intentional inquiry carried out by teachers” (p. 3). This definition, which they credit to the work of Stenhouse provides a framework for evaluating the research and writing carried out by teachers. In explicating this definition, they argue: By systematic we refer primarily to ways of gathering and recording information, documenting experiences inside and outside of classrooms, and making some kind of written record. By intentional we signal that teacher research is an activity that is planned rather than spontaneous. And by inquiry we suggest that teacher research stems from or generates questions and reflects teachers’ desires to make sense of their experiences—to adopt a learning stance or openness toward classroom life. (P. 3) Based on this explanation, teacher research is more than thinking about and reflecting on normal everyday, classroom experiences. It is a focus on inquiry into problems or practice and the subsequent rethinking of classroom practice.