ERIC Number: ED401047
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
Action Research in Early Childhood Education. ERIC Digest.
Borgia, Eileen T.; Schuler, Dorothy
Action research is an approach to professional development and improved student learning in which teachers systematically reflect on their work, seek feedback from colleagues, and make changes in their practice. Several benefits of action research have been cited: (1) teachers investigate their own practice in a new way, looking at what children actually do and what they themselves do; (2) teachers develop a deeper understanding of children, of the learning process, and of their role in the educational lives of children; (3) teachers are viewed as equal partners with their collaborators in deciding what works best in their situation; (4) solutions are arrived at cooperatively; (5) teachers are often more committed to implementation of a project that they have been involved in designing; and (6) action research is an ongoing process--its principles can be applied elsewhere. Action research begins with a focus or question, which frequently is modified as data are gathered and the process continues. After reflection and discussion, a research question is conceptualized, and a plan of action is developed. The teacher implements the plan, keeping detailed anecdotal records. The research methods used are often qualitative, including detailed documentation, although quantitative methods are sometimes included for triangulation purposes. Involvement in action research includes: (1) commitment--those who agree to participate should know that they will be involved with the project for a year or more; (2) collaboration--the power relations among participants are equal; (3) concern--the interpretive nature of action research means that the participants will develop a support group of critical friends; (4) consideration--reflection is a challenging, critical assessment of one's own behavior as a means of developing one's craftsmanship; and (5) change--change is ongoing and difficult, but it is an important element in remaining effective as a teacher. (Contains 10 references.) (LPP)
Descriptors: Action Research, Classroom Research, Critical Thinking, Data Collection, Early Childhood Education, Educational Research, Participatory Research, Professional Development, Qualitative Research, Reflective Teaching, Research Design, Research Methodology, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Teacher Effectiveness, Teacher Improvement, Teacher Researchers
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.