Alberta Education, in concert with EPSC and AISI partners, will provide the resources, structure and leadership for the formation and growth of a thriving community of AISI teacher leaders throughout the province. The structure of the AISI Network will be flexible and responsive to the needs and interests of the AISI community while at the same time providing dedicated resources to maintain engagement of the participants.
AISI community members will engage both online and face-to-face to discuss with common problems or interests to explore ways of working, identify common solutions, and share good practice and ideas. Opportunities will be provided to:
- connect with like-minded colleagues and peers
- share experiences and learning
- enable collaboration and achieve common outcomes
- accelerates learning
- improve student learning experiences and achievement
- validate and build on existing knowledge and good practice
- innovate and create new ideas
- grow leadership potential
Throughout the design, development and growth of this network, community members will be challenged to make connections to student learning and to each other while they collaborative construct knowledge through action research.
This blog will be an extension to that interaction. Here we will celebrate and share the stories of the AISI action researchers as they grow and improve around their areas of interest and passion.
Action research, also referred to as teacher research, teacher inquiry or as in our case collaborative research, is defined as a systematic, intentional study by educators of their own practice (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993). Action researchers seek out change and reflect on their practice by posing questions or “wonderings,” collecting data to gain insights into their wonderings, analyzing the data along with reading relevant literature, making changes in practice based on new understandings developed during inquiry, and sharing findings with others (Dana & Yendol-Silva, 2003).
Action research actually has its beginnings in the work of John Dewey. Action research refers to research intended to bring about change of some kind, usually with a social justice focus, whereas teacher research often has the goal of improving or understanding a teacher’s practice.
Action research can also be collaborative. Through teams planning, questioning and working together participants grow to appreciate how interrelatedness creates a power greater than individual power. Action researchers become empowered through the process by building not only self efficacy but collective efficacy that comes with meaningful collaboration.
Working on the research with others leads not only to community and organizational changes, but also to personal changes in the action researcher. As action researchers reflect on their experiences, they often acknowledge being profoundly transformed by those experiences.
Action research, according to Werner Fricke, is empathy and listening while meeting the other, it is a commitment to basic values like human creativity and democratic participation. Action research is as much about personal growth through reflection as it is learning through inferences made about the data. It is equally about improving practice and ourselves.