Challenge Routines to Transform your Practice

Challenge Routines to Transform your Practice

A blog inspired by Kane, R., & Chimwayange, C. (2014). Teacher action research and student voice: Making sense of learning in secondary school. Action Research,12(1), 52-77

I am interested to see how action research is used in educational settings, in part because I have worked at different educational levels, from middle school to college. This research shed light on how listening to students’ voices can lead to new understandings of classroom experience, teaching practice, and students’ roles in the classrooms. Teachers and students were engaged in reflection and respectful dialog about teaching and learning. As a result, teachers shifted their teaching focus from teaching content, to promoting students’ engagement in learning by listening to students’ feedback on their lessons.

In addition, the article highlighted that if teachers and students learn about what learning is and how it happens, they will understand a greater range of learning possibilities and approaches and improve their learning and teaching. At the beginning of the research process, there was resistance from the teachers to accepting students as authorities on teaching. However, after listening to how their teaching was being experienced by students, alternative ways of understanding classroom practice were opened. That made me reflect on how as a researcher I should deal and manage with resistance to change, including my own?

I like how the researchers engaged students with multiple ways of knowing that led to accessing deep knowledge. For example, the teachers shared formal curriculum goals with students and discussed the best approach to reach them. I also liked how the teachers gained new understandings of the complexity of teaching and learning. It is important when doing a research to make sure that participants feel they are a valuable source of knowledge. For example, when students in this research witnessed the impact of their own voices, they became increasingly forthcoming and moved beyond describing what was happening in the classroom to talk about the impact that teaching was having on their learning. This action research challenged teachers to change their thinking beyond what they have taken for granted assumptions to build new relationships with students and reframe their own practice.

Blog post by Reem Alsunaydi

Reem Alsunaydi is a PhD student in educational administration program with a specialization in higher education at The University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, TX. She has worked at different educational levels from middle school to college. Reem research interests are in the area of education reform, evaluation, and distance education.