viernes, 23 de octubre de 2009

Researcher's role

Taking into account that the teacher's primary role is to teach and any research project must not interfere with or disrupt this commitment, my role during this action research study was mainly teacher participant-observer. I did my best to formulate a thoughtful and well-understood relationship between I and the research fourth grade participants. It was essential for me to determine what role or roles to play to ensure facilitation of this action research study and acceptance by the students in their class (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990). As an observer, my role was to record the group interactions and behaviors as objectively as possible using both quantitative and qualitative tools. Since I knew that I already had a position in the group before taking on this role of observer, I examined my own subjectivity and considered that participating in the group might lead to sympathetic or antagonistic interpretations of group behaviors. I tried to avoid this by assuming a role of participant-observer becoming part of the inquiry-based experience adopting a role also as participant, but being always careful to behave in a consistent manner as part of the science classroom setting so as not to cause significant changes in the group of students itself.

The role of participant in my research, allowed me to interact with students as we learned together to make sense of the different inquiry-based science activities and the theoretical content of the unit about the systems of the human body. Being present in the research situation and participating in this particular learning process provided me additional insight into how students were engaging in the inquiry activities I tested throughout the study. I found that incorporating an inquiry-based, student-centered approach in the classroom created a "community of learners" environment in which I learned at least as much as I taught.

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