Friday, March 2, 2012

Utilizing Action Research

In order for administrators to fully understand their faculty members and students’ needs, they must evaluate the need for change and improvement. By conducting administrative inquiry or action research, administrators can raise questions and generate knowledge in order to improve both the education and training of their staff and the continued success of their students. Action research allows the administrator to become the “head learner” of their school through continued professional development and routine inquiry so that they may pass that same knowledge onto their teachers. By posing questions, collecting data, analyzing the data, and making necessary changes based on the findings, administrators provide effective problem-solving skills and provide the basis for school improvement. This can lead to better choices by administration based on teacher-centered and learner-centered research results.

Conducting action research is beneficial because it not only shows teachers that their administrators are actively seeking effective and productive solutions to current problems, they are also including the teachers themselves in the process. Action research conducted by administrators can evaluate and remedy problems that exist in almost every school or district. Such problem areas include integration of technology, scheduling, discipline, faculty collaboration, standardized testing and evaluation, and professional development training. Whether we participate in ongoing education by enrolling in university coursework, attending administrative team meetings, utilizing leadership teams within a school, or building professional learning communities, principals understand that collaboration is vital to the success of action based research and demonstrate the need for professional development.

Administrative inquiry allows staff and administration to collaborate freely and gives the “practitioners” a role in implementing change that will ultimately result in school improvement. As administrators develop the mindset that action research should be a constant practice, they open themselves up to so many opportunities that will enhance their leadership skills and effectiveness with implementing changes and producing positive results.

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