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CLASS ACTION RESEARCH

Action research is a qualitative research method that encourages the practioner (or teacher) to be
reflective of his or her own practice with the aim of improving the system (McNiff, 1994). From this theory, Class Action Research is quite important in English Language Teaching. Some say that the best judge of the teaching is the teacher itself. To judge his own teaching he can use action reasearch as the tool. Each teacher has his or her own personal theories of educational practice. Action research helps the teacher to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Here are some overview about class action research by the experts : 1. Kurt Lewin He is generally considered the father of action research. He was a German social and experimental psychologist who was concerned with social problems especially in addressing conflicts, crisis and bringing about change within organisations. He first coined the term action research in his 1946 paper Action Research and Minority Problems. He was interested in using action research to investigate into conditions in organisations that would lead to social action, He proposed a process which was a spiral of steps involving planning, action and fact-finding about the result of the action. Another proponent of action research was Eric Trist (1911-1993), an English social psychologist who was engaged in applied social research. He and Lewin emphasised on the importance of professional-client collaboration and were proponents of the principle that decisions are best implemented by those who help make them. The main reason for action research is for teacher to engage in the improvement of their own teaching. Action research leads the teacher to come to their own understandings about their own teaching. Most importantly, action research seek to change some of the beliefs teachers have about how students learn and to improve the quality of education. He described action research as being a spiral of steps: Planning, Acting, Observing and Reflecting. See the diagram below :

ACTING

PLANNING

OBSERVING

REFLECTING

Figure 1 Spiral Steps of Action Research

EXAMPLE: Planning Acting Observing Reflecting : How can I make my dog better behaved? Perhaps I should take him to training classes. : I take him to training classes. : I see how the dogs behave at class. : Perhaps I should do the same at home in a consistent fashion.

[source: Kurt Lewin, 1946. Action Research and Minority Problems, Journal of Social Issues, 2: 34- 46]

2. Susman The model by Susman (1983) specifies five phases of the research cycle (see Figure 2). The first step is identification of a problem followed by collection of information about the problem. Then the data is analysed to find potential solutions and based on the analysis, one possible solution or intervention is implemented.

Figure 2 Susmans Action Research Model (1983)

3. Carr and Kemmis (1986) define action research as a form of self-reflective enquiry undertaken by participants (teachers, students or principals, for example) in social (including educational) situations in order to improve the rationality and justice of : (a) their own social or educational practices, (b) their understanding of these practices, and (c) the situations (and institutions) in which these practices are carried out.

Action research is essentially a series of cycles of REFLECTION, PLANNING and ACTION. Kemmis and McTaggart (1988) developed a concept for action research. They proposed a spiral model comprising four steps: planning, acting, observing and reflecting.

PHASE 1

PHASE 2

Figure 3 McTaggart and Kemmiss Action Research Model (1986)

Example : Planning : I am not happy with the textbook we are using, but it is the only one available.
What can I do about it? I cannot change the book: should I change my method of using it? Perhaps I should try paired work Acting : I show the children how to ask and answer questions of each other to make otherwise boring material relevant to themselves. We try out this technique in class. :I join various pairs and listen to their conversations. I record some conversations. I keep my own notes. : The activity is lively, but some questions wander from the text. I want to get across the material in the text.

Observing

Reflecting

Planning

: Perhaps I could develop with the children an interview technique, where A asks B questions which will elicit responses based on the material. Will that make it boring again? How can I guard against this? Perhaps I can involve them even more actively. : The children record their own conversations. There are not enough tape recorders to go around, so they work in fours, taking it in turns to listen and talk. At the end of the two sets of interviews they listen and comment on individual recordings. : They really enjoy this. And they seem to be gleaning information from the text in formulating their own question and answers. : Points to ponder: Am I correct pedagogically in teaching the content through this process? I must consult my head of department on this. Should I aim for this sort of learning more often and with other classes? I am worried about practical difficulties such as too much noise and insufficient tape recorder.

Acting

Observing

Reflecting

Kemmis and Mc Taggart concept has been critisized by some expert deling with some reasons. One of the reason came from McNiff who stated that , this concepts are too systematic and do not allow researcher to to accomodate spontaneous, creative episodes. Anne Burn in her book says that the reality of the research prosses was percieved by the participants not so much as a cycle, or even a sequence of cycles, but as a series of interelated experiences, involving the following phase : EXPLORING IDENTIFYING PLANNING COLLECTING DATA

OBSERVING

INTERVENING

HYPOTHESISING

ANALYSING

REPORTING

WRITING

PRESENTING

Explanation : 1. Exploring : It involves identifying and agreeing upon a general idea or issue of interest to the group. 2. Identiifying : This involves a fact finding process which enables the researchers to refine their ideas about the general focus area and to prepare for more systematic investigation. 3. Planning : Tis phase involves developing a viable plan of action for gathering data, and considering and selecting a range of appropriate research methods.

4. Collecting Data : During these period, the procedures selected for collecting data are developed ad put into action. These might not be the only data gathering events, but it begins the process of going more deeply into the issue being researched. 5. Analysing/Reflecting : it is considered as a combination of both analysis and reflection. 6. Hypothesising : in this phase, theacher may be in position to draw out hypotheses or predictions about what is likely to occur, for example , in students learning , classroom behaviour or progress. 7. Intervening : this phase involves changing classroom approaches or practices in response to the hypothesises one has made. 8. Observing : this phase involves observing the outcomes of the intervention and reflecting on its effectiveness. 9. Reporting : this phase involves rticulating the activities , data collection, and result that have come out of the research process within the research group. 10. Writing : this is a summative phase where the research questions , the strategies developed, the process of teh research, and the analysis and results observed are drawn together by writing up an account in areportor article. 11. Presenting : this phase also aims at ensuring that the research is presented to a wider audience. (Burns, Anne . 1999 . Collaborative Action Research for English Language Teachers. Melbourne : Cambridge University Press) Other source : CAR/LEWINActionresearchiles/lewinactionresearch-Copy.gif f/CAR/DesainPTKModelKemmis&McTaggartMediaPendidikan.htm