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Roman Phillips
Roman Phillips

Wallace Action Research For Language Teachers.pdfl Fix



Action research focuses simultaneously on action and research. The action aspect requires some kind of planned intervention, deliberately putting into place concrete strategies, processes, or activities in the research context. Interventions in practice are usually in response to a perceived problem, puzzle, or question that people in the social context wish to improve or change in some way. These problems might relate to teaching, learning, curriculum or syllabus implementation, but school management or administration are also a possible focus. This chapter describes the origins of action research, its relationships to other forms of empirical research, its reach and development, its central characteristics, and the current debates that surround it. It also considers the scope of action research in the applied linguistics field and concludes by looking at future directions.




Wallace Action Research For Language Teachers.pdfl



Action research is a philosophy and methodology of research generally applied in the social sciences. It seeks transformative change through the simultaneous process of taking action and doing research, which are linked together by critical reflection. Kurt Lewin, then a professor a MIT, first coined the term "action research" in 1944. In his 1946 paper "Action Research and Minority Problems" he described action research as "a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action" that uses "a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action and fact-finding about the result of the action".


Action research is an interactive inquiry process that balances problem-solving actions implemented in a collaborative context with data-driven collaborative analysis or research to understand underlying causes enabling future predictions about personal and organizational change.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]


After seven decades of action research development, many methods have evolved that adjust the balance to focus more on the actions taken or more on the research that results from the reflective understanding of the actions.This tension exists between:


On the other hand, when actions are taken not only to achieve the intended consequences, but also to openly inquire about conflict and to possibly transform the governing variables, both single- and double-loop learning cycles usually ensue. (Argyris applies single- and double-loop learning concepts not only to personal behaviors but also to organizational behaviors in his models.) This is different from experimental research in which environmental variables are controlled and researchers try to find out cause and effect in an isolated environment.


Cooperative inquiry creates a research cycle among 4 different types of knowledge: propositional (as in contemporary science), practical (the knowledge that comes with actually doing what you propose), experiential (the real-time feedback we get about our interaction with the larger world) and presentational (the artistic rehearsal process through which we craft new practices). At every cycle, the research process includes these four stages, with deepening experience and knowledge of the initial proposition, or of new propositions.


Participatory action research builds on the critical pedagogy put forward by Paulo Freire as a response to the traditional formal models of education where the "teacher" stands at the front and "imparts" information to the "students" who are passive recipients. This was further developed in "adult education" models throughout Latin America.


William Barry[11] defined an approach to action research which focuses on creating ontological weight.[12] He adapted the idea of ontological weight to action research from existential Christian philosopher Gabriel Marcel.[13] Barry was influenced by Jean McNiff's and Jack Whitehead's[14] phraseology of living theory action research but was diametrically opposed to the validation process advocated by Whitehead which demanded video "evidence" of "energy flowing values" and his atheistic ontological position which influenced his conception of values in action research.[15]


Wendell L. French and Cecil Bell define organization development (OD) at one point as "organization improvement through action research".[17] If one idea can be said to summarize OD's underlying philosophy, it would be action research as it was conceptualized by Kurt Lewin and later elaborated and expanded on by other behavioral scientists. Concerned with social change and, more particularly, with effective, permanent social change, Lewin believed that the motivation to change was strongly related to action: If people are active in decisions affecting them, they are more likely to adopt new ways. "Rational social management", he said, "proceeds in a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action and fact-finding about the result of action".[18]


Lewin's description of the process of change involves three steps:[18]Figure 1 summarizes the steps and processes involved in planned change through action research. Action research is depicted as a cyclical process of change.


Major adjustments and reevaluations would return the OD project to the first or planning stage for basic changes in the program. The action-research model shown in Figure 1 closely follows Lewin's repetitive cycle of planning, action, and measuring results. It also illustrates other aspects of Lewin's general model of change. As indicated in the diagram, the planning stage is a period of unfreezing, or problem awareness.[18] The action stage is a period of changing, that is, trying out new forms of behavior in an effort to understand and cope with the system's problems. (There is inevitable overlap between the stages, since the boundaries are not clear-cut and cannot be in a continuous process).


The results stage is a period of refreezing, in which new behaviors are tried out on the job and, if successful and reinforcing, become a part of the system's repertoire of problem-solving behavior. Action research is problem centered, client centered, and action oriented. It involves the client system in a diagnostic, active-learning, problem-finding and problem-solving process.


The Center for Collaborative Action Research makes available a set of twelve tutorials as a self-paced online course in learning how to do action research. It includes a free workbook that can be used online or printed.


Even though these studies show that joint attention responses can be facilitated using prompting and reinforcement (Dube et al., 2004), research has not yet documented that social contingencies alone (e.g., adult attending stimuli and social interaction) can function as reinforcement for joint attention responses in children with autism. In addition, the effects of teaching responses to bids for joint attention on the subsequent emergence of initiations for joint attention have not been examined. Finally, the topographies of joint attention responses documented in the literature have been limited to eye contact and gestures, but gaze shifting, vocal comments, and vocal initiations have not been targeted.


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