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Action research projects 2015-2016: Teachers’ reports - Royal Greenwich Teaching School Alliance

Action research projects 2015-2016: Teachers’ reports - Royal Greenwich Teaching School Alliance

Lambirth, Andrew, Cabral, Ana, Church, Elizabeth, Pickford, Emma, Pirittijarvi, Kara, Thesher, Rosie, Gibson, Kerry, Archer, Toni and Higgins, Claire (2016) Action research projects 2015-2016: Teachers’ reports - Royal Greenwich Teaching School Alliance. Project Report. University of Greenwich.

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Abstract

This year, with my colleague, Dr Ana Cabral from the University of Greenwich I have had the privilege of working with a group of talented teachers and a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) from schools within the Alliance who were all interested to study their own practice in order to enrich the learning of the children they teach.

Ana and I wanted to introduce the group to action research. The classic work by Carr and Kemmis (1986) describe action research as being about:
• the improvement of practice;
• the improvement of the understanding of practice;
• the improvement of the situation in which the practice takes place.
It was important to us that the teachers and LSAs were as systematic as possible about the way they undertook their investigations. Teachers and LSAs are busy people and the degree to which they applied the methodology varied. The group consisted of those from a range of academic backgrounds and experiences. We discussed their aims – constructing research questions or identifying the problem they wished to solve. We introduced literature that was relevant to the focus of their study. We worked on the best ways of collecting data to inform their actions and we talked about the ethical issues of being an ‘insider-researcher’ and how to address them.

We met with the group at least three times during a term and on a number of occasions we went to schools or had telephones conversations when teachers were too busy to attend. The meetings with the teachers and LSAs were fascinating. The combination of staff from secondary and primary led to exciting and fruitful professional conversations. Everyone recognised how pedagogy associated with each phase challenged and enriched the other. In some cases, the teachers invited each other into their classes and team teaching took place as a result, bringing forth further rich professional discussions. Research has informed us that the most effective forms of continuing professional development (CPD) (BERA/RSA 2014) involve:
• the use of specialist advisors and external experts
• collaborative enquiry and structured peer support
• the opportunity to explore why things do and don’t ‘work’
• the exploration and challenging of teachers own beliefs and assumptions (p.25 – 27).
‘All the research indicates that enquiry-orientated learning is not a quick-fix, but needs to be a sustained over time to ensure that learning (for both teachers and pupils) actually takes place’. (BERA/RCA 2014: 26)
The RGTSA wants to make this form of teacher-led inquiry part of the practice in their schools. We hope to continue with these powerful projects in the coming years.

In this document we provide the reports from the group that describe their work. They document the processes with which they were engaged. In most cases they collected information from their own surveys or interviews and/or from reading literature in the area. They then describe the action they felt to be appropriate and conclude with a brief evaluation of the success of their projects. They all demonstrate their hard work and determination. We would like to extend our thanks to all the teachers and LSAs and the children involved and especially to Jon Curtis-Brignell who helped facilitate the projects. (Andrew Lambirth)

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Additional Information: PLEASE CITE THIS REPORT AS FOLLOWS: Lambirth, A. & Cabral, A. (Eds). (2016). Action research projects: teachers’ reports - Royal Greenwich Teaching School Alliance. University of Greenwich/ Royal Greenwich Teaching School Alliance.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Action Research; Teachers
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education & Health
Faculty of Education & Health > Department of Primary Education
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2018 10:49
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/16350

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