What my Action Research was: When I started out on my enquiry, and even until I began the research for the write-up, I had a very simplistic view of what Action Research entailed.
It was in my case the first and simplest definition of Action Research:
“A loose set of activities that are designed to improve the quality of education; an essentially eclectic way into a self-reflective programme aimed at such educational improvement.” (McNiff)
I adhered broadly to the recommended format and my enquiry did progress along the expected avenue of research and evaluation, namely one principal spiral with other questions spiralling off from it.
Yes, I had problems with my classroom practice: I had certain educational values which were being denied. Yes, I wanted to find out or imagine for myself solutions to the problems. Yes, I wanted to be a reflective practitioner - I was already used to writing evaluations for every activity undertaken in every lesson. Yes, I wanted to be a better teacher.
I completed the proforma to find out what my question was. I had grasped the notion that record keeping was an integral part of Action Research, that discussions had to come into it along the line somewhere, and that I had to find out what the pupils thought at some stage. I did not really understand the importance of the critical friend, of validation meetings and I thought that writing an interim report was for the real enthusiast only. If only I had read some of the relevant literature before starting… I had not taken on board the idea that my enquiry was to be“research with, not research on,” (McNiff) and so I was not adequately geared up to looking for pupil validation. I fell into the trap of thinking of how what I was learning would be applicable to some future class, not specifically for 8*2. This, I suspect, is a problem which faces many people on Teaching Practice.