Action Research for Professional Development
Action research refers to the systematic study and self-reflective process of inquiry in which a problem is diagnosed, remedial action is planned and implemented, and effects are monitored. The word “research” signifies to investigate and collect information to remedy problems, whereas the word “action” signifies taking a practical action to resolve problems. There are two types of action research: participatory and practical.
Professional development refers to many types of educational experiences related to an individual’s work. It serves a more future-oriented goal and seeks to help individuals understand themselves and the way they act. It can be put as a career-long endeavor aimed at disclosing the factors that contribute to the success of individuals.
Action research and Professional development can be taken as an inside out approach. In a school setting, action research is increasingly advocated as an innovative model for fruitful professional development and school improvement. Action research can be engaged in by an individual teacher, a collaborative group of colleagues sharing a common concern, or an entire school faculty. Building the reflective practitioners, making progress on schoolwide priorities, and building professional cultures are the major purposes of action research.
Contributions of the action research for professional development
• Improvements in professional judgements:
When the teachers in a school begin conducting action research, their workplace begins to take on more of the flavor of the workplaces of other professionals. Collaborative discussions of classroom issues with colleagues tends to produce wiser professional decisions as multiple perspectives emerges.
• Enhance the motivation and efficacy:
The work of teaching has always been intricate. Challenges like exploding knowledge base on teaching and learning, increasing parental, societal, and political expectations and integration of technology in education, have been demanding. Regardless of all negative pressures, teachers stay committed to their jobs only when they feel confident about their efficacy.
• Career development:
Action research can provide teachers with compelling data that their hard work is paying off, and this in itself is a vitally energizing force. Teachers who opt to invest in the power of action research inquiry will find that they are recreating their professional endeavor in their milieu as a meaningful and rewarding pursuit.
• Better learning:
Action research projects and studies on topics and issues that are important to their context are conducted by the teachers. Thus, action research and professional development help to create better classrooms and teachers through continuous learning, which should be of great importance to both learners and the educators themselves.
Therefore, action research is a valuable tool for the researchers or teachers to explore different areas of interest, and contribute to organizational learning through professional development.