Action research creates an opportunity for teachers to be the researchers. The researchers are engaged in identifying problems or questions that exist in their own teaching practice. It involves the teacher analyzing data developed from the assessment of student learning, reflecting on the process, and making decisions that will improve instruction. Action research is a professional learning opportunity that encompasses many forms of job-embedded learning. Throughout the research process the teacher may be collecting, analyzing, and reflecting on data through engagement in professional learning communities, lesson studies, and study groups. Zepeda (2012) states, “Action research as a form of job-embedded learning, can be a strategy used by lesson study groups, and its results can inform the ongoing work of critical friends, teacher study groups, whole-faculty study groups, and book study groups” (p. 246-247).
I think the important component of action-research is that it is an ongoing process designed to bring positive change to improve student learning. Zepeda (2012) states, “Action research is not just about hypothesis testing or about using data to come to conclusions. It is concerned with changing situations, not just interpreting them” (p. 249). Since action research examines real-life examples within the classroom, it directly relates to change that will positively influence collaboration among colleagues and helps address specific student needs. Similar to other types of job-embedded learning, action research requires time and support. According to Zepeda (2012), “A key component of effective implementation of this professional development model is the establishment of strong collegial relationships” (p. 259). It is key that opportunities are provided for teachers to collaborate, collect and analyze data, and reflect in order for teachers to take action towards change.
Zepeda, S. (2012). Professional development: What works (2nd ED). Larchmont, NY: Eye On Education