I am a teacher – not a researcher.  Or so I thought. In actuality, teachers are ACTION researchers every single day – we just don’t know it.  Action research is the act of exploring the effects of a new innovation or a change within one’s own environment.  Most research we read about is done by professional researchers who study something from a distant, removed position and then make their conclusions and recommendations based on what they measured… but there is so much about the intricacies of the environment which they may miss!  Action research is when the research is conducted by those who are living and working in the very environment they are researching.  The study and measurements are done by those who are impacting and driving the change.  Sound familiar?  As teachers we are experimenting all of the time – trying a new method or activity in the hopes of reaching the unreachable or increasing understanding of a difficult concept.  We then gauge the efficiency of the activity based on the results and decide if we need to alter it or change it some more or find something else.  How cool would it be to have actual data to back up that new innovative idea you started implementing that has gotten such great results?  Action research provides just that opportunity!  Read on…

I created an Action Research Outline for a problem which I wanted to investigate in my French 4 classroom.  In our writings and speakings I noticed that the students were struggling with the basics of conjugating verbs correctly.  This is a problem since most EVERY sentence contains a verb.  I researched what recent studies were saying about the use of technology in language classes and the blended learning method offered some promising results.  My literature review dives into the reasons and research behind my study idea.  Craig Mertler, in his book Action Research: Improving Schools and Empowering Educators, gave me the tools to then design and conduct an Action Research study in order to discover if technology might be a valid and effective way to improve my students accuracy and confidence when using verbs.  For this I created a plan outlining the process, the data and the results.

I hope that you find this information to be insightful and helpful enough to encourage you to launch your own action research in your place of work.  There is always room for improvement, and conducting an action research study can shed light and offer concrete solutions to a problem which may have seemed unmovable.