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?
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?
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?
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.


  1. Yes. Sharing is what we all teachers need to do in order to help each other...
    sorry, cant help it.. :)

  2. which means every teacher have to do one? how??

  3. all the best jarod! can't wait to read your AR.

    yes, let's work together to avoid "plunging into the depths of makan gaji-ism" <--- i love that line! :-)

  4. You passion makes me feel so proud =)

    We need more teachers who are proactive; who would take on an action research project not because they have to, but because they want to improve.

    And the ministry too, ought to be proactive and encourage teachers to be teacher-researchers. It would be great if us teachers are bogged down with less administrative duties which contribute little to our teaching practice. We could then use the time to conduct research and experiment more.

    One solution I see to this is by sending administrative officers to schools to take care of matters such as asset and inventory, SMM and Headcount. These trained officers could assist the principal and senior assistants in school. They could also be the liaison person between the school and the district education office. With so many unemployed grads in the country, the government could easily fill these positions!

    My two cents, anyway.

  5. Hi there,
    Kudos on your optimistic view on action research. When I conducted mine last year, I have to admit that I had a myopic view on how to conduct one. It is a painstaking process but it is worthwhile as it will greatly benefit your students and yourself as well. The sad reality is that not many teachers are keen on conducting action research in school. I wish you all the best in yours :)

  6. Waz: Cheap advertising. Well, if I didn't approve of the website, I'd have deleted the post. haha~~

    Alice: Every teacher should do one. Some states force their teachers to do one each year.

    Rosyada: hahaha~~ Let's!

    Sawi: Your suggestion is good, baby. Hopefully someone with as much sense will take over the administration of the school system in the future.

    Fadzleen: I myself am not too much better prepared for my AR too. But I'm working hard on it & hopefully, it'll be worth something.

  7. Anonymous23/1/10 01:13

    am writing one at the moment and looking forward to presenting it in IPBA this coming october...

  8. You know, I am amazed by your constant striving to be a good and effective teacher. The way you think, the things you do make you stand out from many teachers I have seen. Those laid back, uninspired and uninspiring, unmotivated, complacent teachers... how much they have screwed our society.

    Oh, I shan't continue about that, but you get the picture.

    Good. Keep up what you are doing. That professionalism, that drive, that passion to give nothing but the best. I am sure your students will recognize your commitment.

    If only teachers could be so. But that would be too idealistic, eh?

    In Mandarin, we say, "ADD OIL" In English, we say, "PRESS ON!"


  9. Warid: Let's do it together! =)

    Jon: Well, not all teachers are as bad as you think they are. Some are just being realistic about their lives & thinking within the small box they put themselves into.
    Some choose to breakout of the small box & live outside of the box. These kind of teachers are not too hard to find. Hopefully God will provide more of them to the country.

  10. ahh, just what I need. I'm doing my practicum and just now, the English Panitia teachers approached me and my friend and told us that they want to help us to get A. how? by 'helping them' doing an action research for the school because they have to do one everytime the english result drops. heuu.. now i have to dig in all the how-tos of AR =,=


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