Researching teachers and learners

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What is Action Research?

Action Research is an approach to collecting and interpreting data that involves a clear, repeated cycle of procedures.


It has three major characteristics:

It is carried out by practitioners,

It is collaborative,

It is aimed at changing things.

Action reserach is contextual, small-scale and localized,

It is evaluative and reflective,

It is participatory ,

Changes in practice are based on collection on information or data which provides the impetus for change.

Kurt Lewin describes Action Research asA process of:





(Lewin, 1946)


Kemmis and McTaggard (1992) contend that there are several reasons why action research is far more than teachers reflecting on their own problems.

It is not the usual thinking teachers do when think about their teaching.

It is not simply problem-solving.

It is not research done on other people.

Action research is not the scientific method applied to teaching.

Action research ProceduresResearchers:

Stage 1: Identify, evaluate and formulate a problem

Stage 2: Consult with other interested parlies

Stage 3: Review research literature

Stage 4: Modify or redefine the initial statament of the problem

Stage 5: Specify the research design

Stage 6: Clarify how the project will be evaluated

Stage 7: Implement the project

Stage 8: Analyze the data, draw inferences and evaluate the project

CLASSROOM RESEARCHLong defined classroom research as research on second language learning and teaching, all or part of whose data are derived from the observation or measurement of the classroom performance of teachers and students(Long 1980, p.3).

The purpose for doing classroom-based research is to induce teacher learning.

The process can be revolutionary to our practice.

The process is rarely linear and usually ambiguous.

The process of teacher research systematizes and legitimizes the process of teacher learning.

The CLASSROOM Research Cycle

Begins with questions from our practice

Development of a plan (research design) that is manageable.

Review of current research literature (Distant Teachers)

Making decisions about data (student work, etc.)

Gathering and analyzing data

Analysis usually generates more questions

TEACHERS RESEARCHTeacher research is often connected with the concept of teacher development and empowerment.

A systematic look at ones classroom practice.

Teacher research usually does take place in classrooms, and it typically focuses on some elements of classroom interaction.


An opportunity to ask questions about your practice.

A way to make decisions about what to do based on facts rather than hunches.

A way to share your work with colleagues.

What are challenges to doing Teacher Research?

Knowing how to build it in.

Knowing what the steps are.

Committing oneself to the process.

Finding the time and support.

HOW DO THESE CONCEPTS FIT TOGETHER?Classroom research refers to the location and the focus of the study.

Teacher research refers to the agents who conduct the study.

Action research denotes a particular approach, a codified but flexible set of reiterated procedures, for participants to conduct research in their own settings.

Classroom research on teacher cogntonTeacher cognition research:

Investigates how teachers think about their work,

What skilled decision making goes into effective teaching,

How novice teachers thinking and teaching expertise develop over time.


Stimulated recall (SR) as a research approach falls into the group of research methods that are often referred to as introspective method.

In stimulated recall:

A researcher uses some record of an event to prompt the recollections of that event by someone who participated in it.

The records or data can include audio or video recordings of the class, observers fieldsnotes or transcripts of classroom interaction.

The participants verbalize their recollections and the researchers record those collections while the participants review the data.

Washback studies In language classroom

Washback refers to the influence of language testing on teaching and learning.

In the field of language testing, researchers' major interest has traditionally been focused on issues and solving problems inherent in tests in order to increase their reliability and validity.

Baseline data refers to information that documents the normal state of affairs and provides the basis against which we make comparative claims about how different or unusual the phenomena we have seen may be

In the case of the washback studies:

Baseline data are usually collected before the implementation of a new test, so that the effects of that test on teaching and learning can be studied subsequently by collecting parallel data after the test has been used for some specific period of time

Teachers role n language classroom researchThere is much more inclusive view of teachers,as partners in the research enterprise,working in collaboration with researchers.

Teacher discover interesting new puzzles and answers both of which can energize their teaching.

They can get new ideas for teaching and for their investigations

They can get feedback from other teachers and learn from their experiences.