Teachers' Perceived Changes in Practices and Students' Learning as a Result of Implementing Teacher Action Research
Sivadge, Laura L.
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The problem: Teachers are making data-driven decisions that impact their teaching practices and students learning. Teachers are searching for a practice that allows them to be proactive in simultaneously addressing the differentiated needs of their students. Action research is that practice. Guidance is needed in the design and implementation of an action research professional development program to support the multiple needs of teachers and their students. Methodology: An observational case study was the research design used to collect data on the implementation of the professional development program, teacher action research, and its impact on teachers and students. Focused interviews using the instrument, Measuring Levels of Use of the Innovation, revealed changes in teaching practices and student learning and also provided data on what a facilitator of an action research professional developrnent might anticipate during implementation. Findings: Research outcomes found teachers' perceived changes in their behaviors. They described thcinselves as deliberate practitioners, informed consumers of research, and improved communicators. Teachers perceived changes in their students' learning as goal-directed and improved as a result of action research practices. Findings clearly demonstrated the research-based factors that support the design and implementation of an action research plan: (a) action researcher practices; (b) teamwork, goal-setting, and data analysis; (b) the resource of time; and (d) support of administrators and colleagues. Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest teachers do perceive positive changes in their practices and student learning as a result of their participation in an action research professional development program. Communications, improved learning, collaboration, time, and administrative support contribute to the implementation of action research. Recommendations: Additional studies, employing both quantitative and qualitative research methods in multiple educational settings may lend further credence to better understanding the teacher action researcher and the professional development support ncedcd. Further research may also focus on students' achievement as a result of their participation in a teacher's action research project.
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