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A Handbook for Exploratory Action Research Richard Smith and Paula Rebolledo
Contents Introduction                                                                                                     ...
Contents continued 7.   What shall I change                                                                               ...
Introduction This is a practical handbook, written in a non-academic, teacher-friendly style, to show teachers how they ca...
Difficult circumstances and Exploratory Action Research Teacher-research has long been considered a desirable form of prof...
Style of presentation The book is targeted in particular at secondary and primary teachers  for whom few such books have b...
Start here  You may like to try out this self-diagnosis exercise before we begin. It gives an overview of the different ki...
Exploratory Action Research Diagnosis Now please fill out the table below circling a number from 0 to 4 corresponding to t...
1. Foundations You, your learners, your experience and your capabilities, are the major foundations of this book. Understa...
1.1 Successful teaching  Commentary  Paula will share with you a successful experience from her own classroom teaching as ...
Task 1.2 Think about a recent challenging or unsatisfactory experience in your classroom. Go over it in your mind   s eye....
   Evidence     n.    Information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid  information used to establi...
to notice certain differences in their work according to the music I played. I also gave them a survey, a simple kind of q...
What did the teacher do   Kind of information     I took notes of everything that happened while my students worked  their...
2. What is teacher research  In this chapter we learn more about    teacher-research        research which is initiated an...
2.1 Demystifying research  Now, how about this one    In the last chapter, we showed how, by collecting information, you c...
   2.2 But what is research   Task 2.2    A useful short definition of research is the following   Read the following clas...
2.3 What does teacher-research look like  Lorena   s story Let   s see whether the characteristics identified above apply ...
   Commentary Lorena, a teacher, did research     for herself and for her learners. She starts with some puzzles     some ...
3. What is Exploratory   Action Research  In the last chapter, we considered the general characteristics of research, and ...
3.1 The value of    exploring    Exploratory Action Research, as explained in this chapter, is a way to explore, understan...
   3.2 Exploratory research  Andrea   s story part 1 Let   s look at an example of how a situation can be explored before ...
After all that process I decided to start my    real research        that is how I call it     which has relation with my ...
   Task 3.3   Based on the stages above, read the summary of the things Andrea did during her exploration and match them w...
I think I need to research more and reflect more, but what I am really sure about is that wrapping-up activities are very ...
   The    action    part of Andrea   s research contains some of the same elements  data collection, analysis and interpre...
Task 3.5 As emphasised above, we believe that sufficient exploration is very important before you engage in action researc...
   Summary and follow-up  Follow-up  In this chapter we   ve looked at the value of exploring, and noted that teachers    ...
4. What shall I explore       and what are my  questions  By now you should have a reasonably clear picture of what Explor...
4.1 Motivations for doing research In the last chapter, you read how Andrea   s research topic did not come from what she ...
   Task 4.1 Using the categories suggested above, complete the following table with notes on particular issues you might w...
4.2 Your own motivations     and narrowing down your focus The motivations we suggested above can lead you to understand y...
   MANAGEABLE  URGENT  SIGNIFICANT  ENGAGING  1  2  3  If you are still not sure about a possible topic, keep a journal fo...
Dialogue between Andrea and her mentor Andrea    My main concern is how I finish my lessons.   I just feel it is not effec...
   Task 4.5   The conversation on the previous page between Andrea and her mentor illustrates how various questions can be...
After the strategies mentioned above, I found out some interesting things about the activities they liked most  they prefe...
   Task 4.6   Let   s practise asking questions using the categories and question frames above, using one situation. Look ...
4.6 SMART questions  3.   It   s important to try to make your research questions as good as they can be before you contin...
   Task 4.9 Have a go, with a partner, in a group, or on your own, at    SMARTing    the exploratory research questions yo...
Follow-up In her story, Daniela came up with a set of exploratory questions in order to understand her situation better. T...
5. How can I explore  By asking yourself questions  or by having someone else ask you questions , as you did in the last c...
After briefly revisiting Andrea   s story, we will learn about twelve different kinds of data source that teachers have fo...
   Remember, we are concerned with ways of researching which don   t place too much of an extra burden on you as a busy te...
3. Notes from informal conversations with colleagues You can also explore your own perceptions in quite a natural way by h...
   5. Notes or recordings of focus group discussions Something else you could do to discover students     or other teacher...
Statements 1.   Agree  Indifferent  Disagree  Ingl  s es un idioma muy dif  cil.  English is a very difficult language.   ...
   8. Lesson plans and materials  10. A critical friend   s notes about your lesson  So far, we have been considering sour...
Task 5.4   Let   s summarise  From what you   ve read, which of the kinds of data 1. to 12. would be suitable for  A. Expl...
   5.2 Mauro   s story  have questions they look for a classmate to clarify their doubts in the first instance  after that...
Task 5.6   In the previous chapter, you read Teresa   s story about her students    lack of communication in class, partic...
   What data will you collect  Now it   s your turn  Remind yourself of the exploratory research questions you ended up wi...
5.4 What should I keep in mind when collecting data  Let   s think further about your own research and your exploratory qu...
   Task 5.8 If you have decided to use questionnaires, interviews or classroom observations as your main methods to collec...
Things to do  Time  1.   1 week  Informing and asking permission from school, students and or other relevant people.  2.  ...
   Summary and follow-up In this chapter we went from research questions to methods for collecting data. There were practi...
6. What do I find  In the last chapter we looked at different forms of information, or data, that you can gather to answer...
   Analysis     n.    Detailed examination of the elements or structure of something.   1 Back in Chapter Two you came acr...
   As we see below, Daniela had some further useful questions on her questionnaire, of another kind  1.   How do you feel ...
6.2 Analysing and interpreting qualitative data Analysing quantitative data basically involves counting  see 6.1 above and...
   To interpret your findings, you need to ask yourself questions like   So what  How do these findings relate to my findi...
Summary   Interpretation of findings   Don   t worry if your own answer is different in some respects     different people...
   You can use the following table for this task  Comment 1.   Keywords  Categories  Carla     When we work in pairs, Mari...
By utilising a table like the one on the previous page, you can see where the highest responses are. This can become even ...
   Task 6.5   In the story of another Champion Teacher, Daniela  6.1 above , we saw some of her qualitative and quantitati...
Here are the questionnaire responses Javier obtained in this first part of his research  Statements  Agree  Indifferent  D...
   Summary and follow-up So, now we   ve gone through the whole exploratory research process. We   ve seen how you can dev...
7. What shall I change  Now we   ve been through the process of exploring, we come to the    action    part of    Explorat...
  4. Reflect 3. Observe 2. Act  B. Explore  C. Analyse and reflect  1. Plan  to change   A. Plan to explore  exploration  ...
   sign. In that workshop they understood that the daily context can help them to understand English. And I did things lik...
7.3 Planning a change  Implementing students    suggestions  Here is a reminder of the different sources of change we iden...
   Task 7.3   A number of stories that you have read in this book describe how students were the source of suggestions for...
By attending conferences, and reading journals and magazines, you can also find out about what is working in the classroom...
   7.4 Implementing the change as planned Once you have identified your possible actions, and got feedback on them from co...
Task 7.7 Based on the list of actions and times provided above and also considering your own research, your action plan an...
8. What happens  This chapter focuses on observing and analysing the effects of the    new action    introduced in the act...
8.1 Lorena   s story     revisited  The focus group participants mentioned that they now felt motivated and more successfu...
   8.2 A reminder of research methods It   s clear that in the action research phase you are going to plan different new a...
8.3 Comparing exploratory and action research findings In Chapter Four you identified your own topic and exploratory quest...
   The data from Javier   s questionnaire changed a bit from the first to the second application since there were more stu...
8.4 Interpreting self-critically It is important to recognise that other things may influence your findings, not just the ...
   8.5 Reflecting on your own development     the major finding     Reflect     v.    To think carefully and deeply about ...
Summary and follow-up In this chapter we have learnt more about how we can observe, analyse and reflect upon the changes t...
9. Where do I go   from here  In the previous chapters of this book we have invited you to take a journey of exploration a...
9.1 Sharing your research with others Task 9.1  First let   s look at how you can present your research to colleagues, and...
   Task 9.3   One of the simplest ways of presenting is to do so via a poster presentation. You can prepare a poster in ad...
Task 9.4 Choose one of the posters above  A to D . If needed, read through the corresponding story again to refresh your m...
   Sharing your written report  9.3 Consider participants    rights  If you want to share your research experience with a ...
9.4 Joining wider communities  Teachers Research  Facebook group  Here are some further advantages of sharing your researc...
   9.5 Continuing your research In this book, we have used a staircase to illustrate the key steps of Exploratory Action R...
Many teachers who have completed an  exploratory  action research project seem to go on to do more research, either inform...
   Some teacher-researchers even go on to become mentors, supporting other teachers embarking on research projects. This c...
Competencies  Level  A. I can reflect on and analyse my teaching  0  1  2  3  4  B. I know how to improve my teaching  0  ...
   Complete this table, based on the outcome of your reflections discussion  Area I would like to improve  How I plan to i...
10. Extra material
1. Sample questionnaire Questionnaire about listening activities in English Designed by Carolina Cid and Gemma Maldonado M...
   2. Sample observation checklist Peer Observation Guidelines Designed by Jeannie Fernandez  Purpose  The purpose of this...
4. What does the teacher do to get the students to participate during the lesson  To answer this question read the definit...
   9. Who are the students that participate in the class  Please cross out those students    desks here   10. Write any ot...
Answer Key Chapter 1 Task 1.3  Task 1.4    1.   Box A. Signs  We KNOW the different strategies she used to motivate her st...
   Answer Key Chapter 2 Task 2.2 The three situations show different ways in which teachers can approach a problematic or ...
Answer Key Chapter 4 Task 4.2 1. Andrea   s story about ending lessons Motivation and category  A puzzle   e. Other  wrapp...
   Answer Key Chapter 4 Task 4.8 Exploratory question  SMART   Criterion  1.   No  Not realistic  What affects my students...
Answer Key Chapter 5 Task 5.1  Task 5.3  Box A. Andrea   s exploratory and action research questions   2.   I feel nervous...
   Answer Key Chapter 5 Task 5.5 Teacher  Research question  Kind s  of data  1.           Recording of a lesson          ...
Answer Key Chapter 6 Task 6.1 A. 53   of students definitely enjoy speaking English in class. B. 79   of students think it...
   Answer Key Chapter 6 Task 6.4 Comment  Keywords  Categories  1.     pairwork - learning from a specific other student  ...
Answer Key Chapter 6 Task 6.6  Task 6.5 In class, what is the percentage you understand from it  9 8 7 6  Mostly, statemen...
   Answer Key Chapter 8 Task 8.1    By the end of two weeks I observed several changes. The first one was that they actual...
Answer Key Chapter 9 Task 9.2  Task 9.3  There are many possible advantages to sharing your research. Let   s start with, ...
This practical, user-friendly guide takes teachers through the steps of Exploratory Action Research, an approach to teache...