What is Action Research?
Maria notices that a lot of learner time is spent waiting for her to give individual assistance in a workplace learning centre model of delivery. She interviews three other instructors to find out how they manage a similar problem and begins to keep a journal of her reflections on this problem. She also decides that she needs to observe a more traditional literacy classroom and to start collecting readings on peer support and the idea of scaffolding. All of these sources of information seem to point in one direction. Maria rearranges the learners into groups of mixed abilities and changes her teaching style to guided participation. Using both a self and learner assessment tool, she evaluates her new teaching style to be more effective in the Centre.
Bill has been teaching this workplace education program at the company for the past two years, and during each session the learners have voiced their discontent about the current assessment methods that he inherited from the last program instructor. He starts to log the types of learner concerns which eventually develop into some good interview questions. He decides to interview a number of learners who are in the program now, and a few who took it last year to find out what is at the root of the problem. He speaks with a colleague at the local community college, who gives him some web sites on alternative assessment techniques and some concrete examples of learning portfolios. Pulling all this information together, Bill designs a method for initiating portfolio development in his classroom. When he tries it out, he finds that it works well under certain circumstances and with certain types of learners.
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