Sarah Strong

December 12, 2007

HTH 160

Reflective Experience #5

Research Question: How do students experience open-ended math problems?

Reflective Experience:

1)What do you see as the role of action research in creating effective learning environments?

As teachers, we take note of successes and failures in our classroom on a daily and even hourly basis. We see what works and what doesn’t work and receive almost immediate confirmation one way or the other. We get tidbits and glimpses of effective learning environments in our classroom but rarely have/take the time to analyze these glimpses to fully be able to implement them all the time. Through action research we can pointedly seek out these moments and then document, analyze, and discuss them with others allowing the moments to not be forgotten, but to become immediately useful as we plan daily lessons. Action research also allows us to step back from teaching in our classroom and be able to take time to just observe what is going on through multiple lenses. When we can do this, we will be better able to meet all of our students’ needs through creating an optimally effective learning environment.

2) How can action research transform practice?

Although this is only my second year teaching, I already feel like I have improved leaps and bounds from last year. This is not only because I am in this program, but simply because I have gained a lot experience in the past year. From talking to other teachers, I have found that they feel like every year they too are refining and improving their practice. I think that action research allows an acceleration of this process. Teachers will hopefully naturally improve through experience, however action research can help a teacher to rapidly transform their practice by providing opportunities to fully assess the successes and failures and make appropriate changes in the positive direction.

3) How is your action research project affecting yourself as a teacher-researcher?

My action research project is helping me to hone in on one area of my teaching experience and is providing me with tools to analyze how effective I’m being in that area. I know that I have a lot of perceptions of what works well and what is the best for all of my students, however it is hard to regularly stop and try to see the assignments, projects, and work I give through their lens. I hope that, in researching my chosen question, I will gain a deeper understanding for my students thinking and be able to better meet their needs through my lessons and projects and possibly lead to further question I may be able to ask in the future.