Right now I’m thrilled to be one of the teachers representing my school at the 2016 AISA (Association of International Schools in Africa) conference. As a part of the conference, we have each selected two professional development sessions to work on. The one I’m going to discuss today is about action research, led by Donna Phillips.

What is it?

Action research is looking at the efficacy of what we are teaching. There are four basic categories for this.

  1. Curriculum Analysis
  2. Ethnography
  3. Integrated Action
  4. Self-Study

For my action research, I’m going to focus on integrated action. What effects will come from adding an intervention to my class?

Why do it?


Teaching is an incredibly important job. How do we know we are doing it well? Just because it looks good doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Doing an action research project will help you see what interventions are working and what could benefit from some tweaking.

Also, if you have a fantastic idea that you wish the rest of your school would use, this will give you the evidence that can convince your colleagues you are doing something worth implementing!

How do I want to change my classroom?

To begin our research project, Donna asked us to find a critical question that we are really passionate about. We’re going to be reading literature on this topic in addition to studying it in our room, so we’ve got to have deep motivations for doing so.

I have really found that an area my kids need to work on is persisting. Being students of a PYP school where we do lots of inquiry lessons, students need to have both the drive and the ability to work effectively independently and in small groups when I’m not always right at their side.

The Critical Question

My question started out “How can teaching my kids the Habits of Mind improve their math skills?”

It changed and was refined and changed again until now my question is “How can teaching my students how to persist in challenges improve their ability to do math.”

The Design

Although I will continue to develop my design as I prepare to do it and as I analyze my data, here’s where I am now.


Have you done a similar action research project? Do you have any comments or suggestions? Please comment below!

By @SGroshell

3 thoughts on “Beginning My Own Action Research

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