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As I reflect on my first week in this program the first thought that came to mind is the fact that prior to the start of this course I had a battle of the mind in understanding the need to do an entire course on Doctoral Studies. Notwithstanding the importance of the doctoral studies, with its emphasis on research I was still intrigued as to why the introduction to Doctoral Studies course was needed.
In retrospect I do realize that while pursuing my Master’s Program I was exposed to some levels of research but I can say that it was somewhat limited to the traditional methods of doing research, mainly qualitative versus quantitative, experimental versus non experimental or the mixed designed method.
I thought that those were the most effective methods of conducting research, however I can say this first week has expanded and enlightened my view on doing research and evoked inside me a yearning for research.
Moreover, even though I am overwhelmed by the amount of work that is required I must say that I am motivated and thoroughly enjoyed the interactive method of teaching and innovation approach used to introduce us as students like the use of voice thread to do an introductory video and the discussion forum.
Further in reviewing the materials presented in the first week, I stumbled upon a cohesive definition for the term Action Research by Mills, 2011; ‘as any systematic inquiry conducted by teachers, administrators, counselors, or others with a vested interest in the teaching and learning process or environment for the purpose of gathering information about how their particular schools operate, how they teach and how their students learn.
Having read the first three chapters of the books allocated for the course Action Research and two chapters of Education Dissertation I now have a better understanding of advanced research techniques and more so what is referred to as Action Research and Education Dissertation. I can now see the importance of doing an introduction course in doctoral studies. Further I can say Action research is a new area for me, I never knew that there is a research distinctively tied to one’s profession i.e. My profession as a teacher, where one can actually conduct a systematic inquiry into one’s practice where I am able to as a teacher study my classroom (methods of teaching), the students and the assessments in order to improve the quality of teaching and its effectiveness.
This allows for a more in-depth, practical approach to research instead of the traditional approach which follows the basic line of identifying a problem, forming a question then performing the research based on that problem. So I’m particularly interested in understanding action research which I find to be a very interesting approach of doing research and how I can apply the application of action research to my work as an educator. Because it looks at the importance of research where one can see how theory is connected to practice. And secondly research in terms of application where you identify the problem and developing and testing solutions. Moreover, from the text Action Research it is explained that Action Research helps to improve your teaching and learning environment by focusing on the specific problem of practice and applying applications to correct those problems which can lead to improvement in educational practice.
Lastly reflecting on some of the challenges I faced previously as a lecturer I can now begin to appreciate the need of understanding the importance of action research and the rigor of Action Research and how it can connect to improvement in the classroom as a lecturer and by extension professional growth. In concluding I can say that there is greater level of responsibility as fellow peer educators/ teachers to find solutions to challenges faced in the classroom as well as improve the quality of teaching and applying Action research can help in this fight as well as seeing the Doctoral process through the doctoral student’s eyes. References Craig A Mertler (2020). Action Research Improving schools and empowering educators Dan W Butin (2010).
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