Saturday, January 16

Action Research In Malaysian Schools


At one stage of your teaching career, you will come across a type of research called "Action Research".
It is currently the buzz in the Malaysian Education system &, for several states in Malaysia, there is actually a circular or 'pekeliling' which dictates that each teacher has to conduct at least 1 action research per year.
If you happen to be serving in one of those states or if you're curious why administrators are taking it so seriously, let me answer an important question first: What actually is action research?

Action re- what?
If I understand it correctly, action research in Malaysian schools is a personal yet professional documentation of actions taken to address a problem or explore a question.
Personal because the person carrying it out can decide how deep he wants to get into it.
Professional because it has purpose & relevance.

Teachers are not rigid or narrow minded, they are reflective & constantly change their styles, methodologies, equipment, environment & etc to make the best of their teaching situations.
Every teacher does it. They meet a problem. They ask & look around to find a solution. They implement it & tweak it as they go. The implementation of their solutions are the 'action'.
'Action research' is simply putting down in pen & paper: the situation, the problem, the solution & the effects of the implementation.

Is it beneficial?
Yes.
There are tons of teachers out there who are clueless, helpless or just unaware that there are better ways to do what they do.

Every person has a unique idea or method. Why not document it in action & share it with others?
After all, we are all slaving it out together for the betterment of this country.
Now more than ever, this country is in need of teachers who are willing to step up and lead those who have already given up or are on the verge of plunging into the depths of makan gaji-ism.

If you have something to share, please do.
The education system needs it. I need it. Oh, and admit it, you need it too.

Is it realistic?
Maybe.
Honestly speaking, I don't think that teachers should be forced to do action research.
Most of us have a heck load of work to do. If we had a drop of water for each task we had to do in our line of work, we'd be able to plant durians in Sahara.
Furthermore, most teachers who were forced didn't bother to put any effort into it. They just copy & paste an action research done by some else. The best part is, they get away with passing it off as their own.
I don't blame them. If I had a load of work to do, I'd produce quantity instead of quality.

Action research is a burden.
However, the positive effect it will have on the education system is too good to ignore. Rather than attend mindless honeymoon courses, action research might be one of the best ways forward in the professional development of teachers.

Talk is cheap. Are you walking the talk?
Yes.
Mind you, I'm not going to copy & paste the action research of some Ahmad, AhBoi or Apu.
I'm going to take my time to consider it & I'll put my heart into it.
I'm going to finish one action research this year & it will be one that carries some weight.
People will want to read it. Those who read it, will benefit from it.
That is my target & I plan to achieve it.

You got me. I'm in. But how do I start?
You can start right now!
It's the beginning of the year so you can finish you research in time for it to be published next year or presented to an audiences by the end of this year!

Ask other teachers who have done Action Research before.
Ask the Guru Pakars or Guru Cemerlangs.
Contact the officer in charge of the development of your subject at your JPN.
English teachers can contact the Malaysian English Language Teaching Centre or ELTC.

If all else fails, you can come to me. I'll do my best with the wisdom I have to set you up.
Let's take the first step into a prospering profession.

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