Academic level – Undergraduate 3-4
Type of paper – Article review
Topic Title – Action Research for School Improvement
Read the article, “Action Research for School Improvement,” and provide a brief summary.
Include how you believe this information will help you create Professional Development Sessions for teachers.
Staff members at a school felt their students were not performing to expected levels in reading and writing and that this was a persistent problem identified by parents, the business community, and school staff members. To improve their students’ reading comprehension, the staff engaged in action research tasks to systematically enhance the literacy skills of struggling readers and writers (Calhoun, 2002). To do this, the team studied four items in-depth and discussed and analyzed them in cross-department groups. As a result, they developed a tentative action plan that included actions at the school level, actions all teachers would take, and actions by individual teachers. The plan also had curriculum ideas, instructional strategies, and assessment techniques that would apply to their courses. The staff reviewed their district’s new curriculum standards document and the National Assessment of Education Progress in Reading to understand further their students’ literacy standards (Calhoun, 2002). Finally, the staff studied data from other high schools with similar demographics and found three schools where students performed much higher reading and writing levels on state tests. Through this research and analysis, the staff created an action plan to improve their students’ literacy skills.
Application to Professional Development
The pursuit of continual improvement is an ongoing undertaking in the field of education. We are tasked as educators with creating the future through the learning activities we offer to children. The article “Action Research for School Improvement” presents valuable insights that can guide the design and implementation of impactful Professional Development Sessions to improve teaching and learning within kindergarten through 12th-grade schools.
The power of teamwork is at the center of the article’s narrative. School staff engagement in cross-departmental groups allowed diverse perspectives and expertise to converge, leading to a comprehensive understanding of challenges and solutions. Such a model can be translated into Professional Development Sessions by fostering collaborative learning environments for educators. With educational methods and rules continually being updated, such sessions are ideal for interacting with other educators to exchange inputs and ideas that can be applied in the classroom (Baker, 2023). Collaborative discussions can revolve around shared challenges, best practices, and ways to adapt successful interventions to individual teaching contexts.
The article’s action plan demonstrates the importance of tailored interventions at different levels, catering to the entire school, specific grade levels, and individual teachers. Such a principle can be integrated into Professional Development Sessions by developing a diverse toolkit of teaching strategies. A toolkit would encompass a range of instructional methodologies, assessment techniques, and classroom management approaches. Moreover, this approach acknowledges the diverse learning needs of students and empowers educators to select strategies that align with their unique classroom dynamics.
Professional Development Sessions can emphasize the significance of data-driven decision-making. By drawing parallels to the article’s reliance on curriculum standards and assessment data, educators can learn to gather and analyze data to inform their instructional strategies. Sessions could focus on interpreting student assessment results, identifying learning gaps, and adjusting teaching methods. Such an approach enhances teaching effectiveness and equips teachers with tools to adapt their practices based on student progress.
The article’s exploration of high-performing schools with similar demographics underscores the value of learning from successful practices. Professional Development Sessions can incorporate this concept by encouraging educators to engage in best practices research, which may involve case studies, presentations, or peer-led discussions showcasing effective classroom strategies. The classroom will undoubtedly become an enriching atmosphere for instructors and students if various teaching tactics are used and the mix is changed regularly (Baker, 2023). By sharing experiences and insights, teachers can draw inspiration from one another and adapt proven techniques to their unique teaching contexts.
The emphasis on flexibility in the article’s approach aligns with the need for differentiated instruction in diverse classrooms. Every classroom is a dynamic learning environment with students of varying skills and personalities (Baker, 2023). Such a principle can be integrated into Professional Development Sessions by developing differentiated instruction of teaching strategies. Differentiated instruction is a teaching method that recognizes that students in the same classroom may be at different stages of their learning journey (Baker, 2023). In addition, this contributes to addressing diversity in learning experiences and catering to all students equally engagingly.
One of the most significant takeaways from the article is developing an action research mindset. Professional Development Sessions can guide educators in adopting this mindset by encouraging them to view their classrooms as laboratories for experimentation and improvement. Educators can be prompted to identify specific challenges, devise interventions, gather data, and reflect on outcomes. Through this iterative process, teachers can continuously refine their teaching strategies and contribute to the collective growth of the school community.
The insights from the article “Action Research for School Improvement” offer a roadmap for designing impactful Professional Development Sessions that enhance teaching and learning within kindergarten through 12th-grade schools. By infusing these principles into the sessions, educators can embark on a journey of continuous improvement. Teachers may become catalysts for positive change in their classrooms and beyond through collaborative learning settings, individualized techniques, data-driven decision-making, successful practices, flexibility, and an action research attitude. The ultimate objective is to enable educators to help their children reach their full potential, ensuring their educational experience is marked by development, engagement, and achievement.
Baker, J. (2023, March 14). 6 best teaching strategies for 2023. SplashLearn. https://www.splashlearn.com/blog/best-teaching-strategies-to-help-students-maximize-their-learnings/
Calhoun, E. (2002). Action research for school improvement. Department of supervision and curriculum development, 59(6), 18–24. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290713140_Action_research_for_school_improvement