The term “action research” is a process of investigation and inquiry that occurs as an action is taken to solve a problem. At the Mussoorie International School ( MIS) “Action Research” is a practice of reflective inquiry undertaken for improved understanding and practice.
Very often, I have young as well as experienced teachers at my doorstep wanting to know answers to certain prevalent educational practices that do not yield effective classroom results. I believe that a small change in the classroom can yield surprising benefits. I often ask them to carry out action research to find out the answer and also enlighten the entire teaching community. The results are amazing, with improved teacher satisfaction along with an understanding of what is happening in their classroom and identifying changes that will improve the teaching and learning. This has led the teachers to find answers about the effectiveness of specific instructional strategies, the performance of specific students, and classroom management techniques.
Teaching Community at MIS, is always investigating, implementing, reflecting, and refining our pedagogical approaches. Action research has given benefits of research in the classroom without the obstacles of formal experimental research that is the use of a control group needed in educational research. For all of us, at School, it is more about figuring out what works within the constraints of our School set up. Further, the qualitative data helps the teachers at school to adjust their curriculum content, delivery, and instructional practices to improve student learning.
This year MIS decided to investigate some popular beliefs. Questioning the earlier findings in three major areas of research: learning styles, growth mindset, and Mischel’s experiments on self-control better known as the marshmallow test were invigorating. Research Questions were framed around the large-scale meta-analysis questioning Carol Dweck’s idea that a student’s beliefs about intelligence—a fixed or growth mindset—could shape their academic success. Further, some of the school teachers questioned the Walter Mischel’s experiments on self-control, in which a young child’s ability to resist a marshmallow predicted their success as an adult, and helped us understand the importance of non-cognitive skills.
The teachers at school follow the following “Action Research “cycle of inquiry and reflection. During the process, they determine Where they are? Where do they want to be? and How are they going to get there?
The action research cycle has the following steps: Identify the problem, Literature survey, Developing an action plan, Identify constraints, Data collection, Data Analysis, Conclusions, Modifying the theory and repeating the cycle( if need be), Poster Presentation, Reporting the results. A mutually agreeable dateline is set for each step at school.
Teachers at MIS are now taking charge of their personal professional development. With reflections on their actions, they now identify the skills and strategies they would like to add to their professional toolbox. Potential solutions have become evident and exposure to new ideas, skills, management, have helped them solve the questions they have been asking me as Head of School.
Action research at MIS has provided the teaching community with the reflective process they can use to implement changes in their classroom and determine if those changes result in the desired outcome. As a HOS, I lead them on to a path of self-discovery which gives me immense satisfaction. It is gratifying to hear them describe their “Aha” or “Eureka moment”. I am sure this year I may see a lot of research questions in context with e-learning, the need of the hour during the prevailing complex and the daunting COVID 19 crisis.
At MIS Action research is the way forward to implement informed change!