1.1 – Explain the purpose of action research
1.2 – Analyse key features of the action research process
1.3 – Analyse the implications of a model of action research
2.1 – Justify own choice of an area of practice for action research
2.2 – Plan a clear intervention strategy
2.3 – Justify the choice and timescales of an intervention strategy.
2.4 – Explain how ethical and political considerations and issues of confidentiality will be observed in practice
3.1 – Evaluate methods for action research
3.2 – Evaluate methods of collecting qualitative and quantitative data
3.3 – Review ways in which collected data may be analysed
4.1 – Draw on selected literature relating to an area of practice for action research
4.3 – Collect data relating to area of practice for action research
4.4 - Analyse data collected from action research
5.2 - Justify own recommendations for action to be taken based on conclusions from action research
6.2 – identify own strengths and areas for improvement in relation to action research
6.3 – Plan opportunities to improve own Skills in action research
1.1 Explain the purpose of action research
Action research is simply a form of self-reflective all enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations to improve the rationality and justice of their own practices, their understanding of these practices, and the situations in which the practices are carried out (Carr and Kemmis 1986: 162)
Action research is based on the actual process you are taking part in within a school environment. Action research is a process that is reflective and allows for discussion and inquiry as part of this research. This type of research is generally done by a group of individuals to search for a solution for experienced issues/problems in schools and ways that these issues or areas for improvement can be developed.
Teachers and principals work best on problems they have identified for themselves, teachers and principals become more effective when encouraged to examine and assess their own work and then consider ways of working differently. For teachers and head teacher to help each other progress they must work collaboratively to ensure effective teaching environment. Working with other colleagues helps teachers in their professional development (Watts, 1985, p. 118)
The purpose of action research is to increase knowledge on a specific area/field in which your project is based upon and highlight the main areas of your action research and the purpose or reason behind the research being conducted. This also allows to explore educational issues of their choice
This type of research is based upon teachers studying whilst improving/enhancing their knowledge in their own area of expertise and working collectively with other teachers regarding issues that arise within the classroom or school.
Key features within the action research process are the stages that it takes to complete your research and what is included at each stage, the diagram below shows an example of the process of action research.
Figure 1 – Action research cycle
Identifying the problem
According to Ferrance 2009 to conduct action research, you must be able to identify the issues/topic that you are looking to do your research in, within teaching this could be anything from behavioural issues, educational issues or teaching issues. Once the problem has been identified you would then have to see if it is possible to do within the timeframe that you have been given. Identifying problems could be from anything that you have seen whilst working within a school environment or anything you have previously done research on or read, this will allow you to see if there are areas for improvement on the subjects/topic you have chosen.
At this stage of action research data is collected for the chosen topic or issue. This helps see the full scope of the situation and get a better understanding of the nature of the problem that they are researching. As part of your action research it is important to see what other studies have previously been done about a similar or the same topic that you have chosen.
Within the gathering data stage this should also include planning, timing and how the research will be implemented to show time scales for each section of your action research and how it will be done
Interpreting data is putting the plan that you have created and the research that you have done into action, this is done by analysing all the information that you have collected. Once all information that is needed for the action research has been analysed and it is understood how it will be used it will then allow the researcher to draw up a hypothesis which will highlight some of the facts of the problems in their research.
Act on Evidence
Acting on the evidence that you have gained from your research of books and previous studies in the area you are looking into, such as interviews, questionnaires and other techniques you have used to conduct your action research.
Evaluating the results of your research is to distinguish whether you were able to answer the question that you originally asked at the beginning of your research and place your ideas into a report.
The model I have chosen to follow for my action research is the model designed by Ferrance 2009 (See figure 1). With any model implications can be drawn from them, these can include things taken from the data/research found,
- Action research cycle – provides a step-by-step procedure to help with the research.
- Research objectives – the research cycle is a step-by-step process to help reach the objectives of the researcher’s topic.
- Technologies – this type of process will allow you as a researcher to learn new technologies for example Excel, spreadsheets, interviewing questionnaires.
- Feedback – getting the feedback needed to get in the findings that I am looking for, this may include room advising an action plan or altering the current plan in place.
- Subject – the subject that is chosen could be difficult to research on as they may not be enough material or information about the topic.
- Participants – having the correct participants involved in your research is important to get the outcome you are looking for a disadvantage of this may be not enough feedback from the participants involved or participants not willing to take part corresponding to your research.
- Data collection – the feedback or responses from the data collection may not coincide or provide the data needed for your action research.
The reason why I have chosen this topic to do my action research on is due to the lack of resources, staffing and training about students with learning difficulties. I am a student who has dyslexia and understands the struggle when it comes to learning when the support is not there to help you along the way. I have also noticed first hand whilst on my placement the struggle for teachers catering to all students as well as those with learning disabilities/difficulties. So how are schools able to cater and include all learners with these types of challenges.
Secondly, I believe there needs to be some improvements within the education system regarding students with learning difficulties/disabilities. For this to be done teachers need more knowledge regarding students with learning disabilities/difficulties also more resources and help needed within the classrooms.
Reasons for choosing this topic:
- Research – that helps understand practice
- Increase my subject knowledge and area of specialism
- Increase awareness of the area of subject.
- Creating appropriate opportunities to obtain the views of others
A strategy is a plan of action where targets have been created and explain how they will be accomplished to solve the issues in education/learning insuring that improvements are made to resolve the issues. ‘A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim’ (Oxford Dictionaries, 2017)
According to the dictionary of English language an intervention is ‘The systematic process of assessment and planning employed to remediate or prevent a social, educational, or developmental problem: early intervention for at-risk toddlers.’ (Dictionary of the English, 2016)
The table below has been created to show the step-by-step process of the action research it also details the timescale of each element and the reasons for this. From the table below, it shows that a problem must be identified first which is then followed by a literature review relating to the problem. This will help me understand my research better and the timescale I have to do this. the next step is to research into the methodology which looks at the approaches and the methods used in conducting the research. This would include speaking to teachers, parents, SEN teachers and looking at what is currently in place to help aid students with learning difficulties/disabilities with their learning. The next step would be primary data collection which is where I would conduct interviews and questionnaires to gain the information I require from my research. This will help me get views from the teachers and parents to see what is currently in place and what they feel they can be improvements on. The data that is gathered from the interviews and questionnaires would then be placed into a graph or a pie chart to highlight areas for improvements within this topic after which a conclusion can be conducted and recommendations for improvements can be made.
Identify research problems
Research methods and methodology
Primary data collection
Data analysis and discussion
Conclusions and recommendations
The table that has been created below is showing a step by step process of my action research and an estimated time scale of how long each task will take to complete.
|Identify research problems||2 Weeks|
|Literature review||3 Weeks|
|Research methods and methodology||1 Week|
|Primary data collection||3 Weeks|
|Data analysis and discussion||2 Weeks|
|Conclusions and recommendations||3 Week|
Identifying research problem – For me to pick a topic that I want to research and identify and problem area, I would have to do research and from my experience of working in a school I can observe to see if there are areas within teaching that can be improved. A week is sufficient enough to get a topic through observations and research.
Literature review – I have given a time scale of two weeks in order for me to do my research and find relevant information such as books, journals, articles etc in order for me to complete my project and get the information needed to answer the question I am answering.
Research methods and methodology – The methods that I will be using for my project will be questionnaire and interviews which will allow me to get the information needed for my topic. I have given a timescale of a week because this will allow me to create the questions for the interviews and questionnaires.
Primary Data Collection – For my data collection I have given a timescale of two weeks this will give me time to give out the questionnaires and get feedback from them and to be able to conduct my interviews, giving myself this amount of time allows for any slow responses or cancellations of interviews.
Data analysis and discussions – My data analysis is gathering all the information from my interviews and questionnaires and placing them in to charts, graphs etc.
2.4 Explain how ethical and political considerations and issues of confidentiality will be observed in practice
Ethical Issues in Research
Within research there are many ethical issues to take in consideration when conducting research. According to the BBC (2014) they have defined ethics as moral principles, which impacts how people make decisions and lead their lives. Ethics covers the following areas (BBC, 2014):
- How to live a good life
- Our rights and responsibilities
- The language of right and wrong
- Moral decisions – what is good and bad
Ethical issues within research can influence and help researchers to understand and decide whether an area or topic is ethically acceptable. All participants of this action research have the right to privacy which is why the participants may want their identification made anonymous and not available to anyone that is not part of the research or conducting the research. (Behi and Nolan, 2014, p. 712) states that
“control of personal information is viewed as an expression of autonomy and as an individual’s right to protect his or her social vulnerability and identity.”
There is a chance that some ethical issues may arise in this research. As interviews with teachers, SEN staff, and parents will be conducted which will be for the sole use of this research. The information that will be gathered and supplied by the teachers, SEN support and parents which will consist of the responses as to how their schools help learners with learning difficulties/disabilities. The information from these interviews may reveal how teachers and parents feel about the support, resources that are currently in place and how the school cope with helping these types of learners.
The results from these interviews may seem as if the school’s efficiency has been called into question with how learners are supported with their learning difficulties/disabilities. This type of information which is provided from the interviews of the teachers, parents and learners would be considered sensitive information as it may seem as though the research that is being conducted is a judgement on how well the school and teachers caters/includes their learners. Therefore, in order for this information to be used a consent form would need to be signed by all participants.
the data protection Act 1998 requires participants privacy and confidentiality to be protected and preserved whilst conducting my action research. I will have to ensure and demonstrate this by not including participants names on questionnaires or the interview sheets that will be done. Any information regarding the interviews and questionnaires which will be held on a computer will have to be password protected and any paper documents with sensitive information should be shredded after the results have been recorded.
2.5 Implement a clear Intervention Strategy
The table below list all the activities and task that will be involved within my action research and the dates in which I believe that I would be able to accomplish each element.
|Activities||Implementation Planning||Task Date|
|Identification of research problem||I would be looking into areas for improvement within the school I am currently working in and issues that are currently been brought up for concern, whether it be by parent/ news or learners.||15/12/2017|
|Literature Review||The research that I will conduct will allow me to gain knowledge, ideas and concepts from articles, books, news, magazines, journals and the web.||29/12/2017|
|Research methods and methodology||From gathering all my research and understanding the topic I want to do my research on will enable me to understand how I need to conduct my research and the methods that I will need to use. I.e. Interviews questionnaires etc.||20/01/2018|
|Primary data collection||The methods That I will be using for my primary data collection will be interviews and questionnaires. I will be handing questionnaires to parents, teachers and learners and conducting interviews with parents, teachers and SEN staff.||28/01/2018|
|Data analysis and discussion||The tables that will be created from the results of the questionnaires which can then be analysed to see what the outcome is from them.||19/02/2018|
|Conclusions and recommendations||Within this section of my action research I will be drawing conclusions from the data analysis and making recommendations within my teaching practice.||07/03/2018|
Action research consists of many different research methods, depending on the type of research that is being conducted. The methods that I will be using this throughout my research will be questionnaires, interviews, and observations of the classroom.
The observation method that I would be using within my research, would be to get a better understanding of how students with learning difficulties/disabilities are being catered by teachers within the classroom. The observation will also allow me to get a better understanding of how included these types of learners are throughout the lesson is and planning. This chosen method is appropriate and fit for purpose for this action research because it emphasises on developing the other methods that will be used such as interviews and questionnaires, this will also allow to identify if what teachers, parents, and learner’s views matched to what is currently being done in the classrooms.
interview methods are another method that I will be using my action research this method is reliable because it makes sure that the data that is collected are directly from the people related to the research problem and have actual knowledge on the issue.
the last method that I will be using will be questionnaires in order to gain an insight into how people feel included within education. This type of method enables to get their opinions from a wide audience on the topic, but this can also be difficult to gain people’s participation with the research. Participants will be reminded that the data that they give is a voluntary process and they are not being forced to commit to helping this process. (Jean McNiff, Pamela, et al, 2003)
Qualitative data and quantitative data are different way in which data and information is collected and the type of information that is collected. Quantitative data refers to data that can be measured using numbers and quantities whereas qualitative data is the collection of data that cannot be measured and is about the qualities of the data gathered, Minchiello et al, (1990)
The diagram below shows the differences of quantitative data and qualitative data is collected when conducting research.
Qualitative data research is empirical research where the data is not in the form of numbers (Punch, 1998, p.4) This type of data research includes the researcher’s commitment and involvement in collecting the information that is needed which makes it an interactive process.
An example of a methods used to collect qualitative data would be an interview through open questions and group discussions, this type of data collection can consist from interviews, videos, audio and text. The qualitative data that would be constructed from these types of methods would allow the content to be analysed and compared to current and previous ferries.
The other types of sources that will help in collecting the quality data of things such as newspaper articles, journals, magazines, books, previous reports, and government websites.
Disadvantages of qualitative data:
- Time – the time it takes to collect qualitative data, analyse it and interpret can be lengthy due to the types of methods used to do so for example an interview, this method takes time as you need to prepare interview questions and arrange timings for this interview to take place.
- Validity and reliability – because of the type of methods used in collecting qualitative data and the involvement of the researcher it puts to question whether the data analysed is reliable and valid as there may be some bias and is hard to prove.
Advantages of Qualitative data:
- Depth Knowledge – Helps gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding on the research problem.
- Participants – are able to give an in-depth answer in regard to the topic without limitation.
Quantitative data is done through methods of a numerical form that can then be measured and compared. This can be done through creating, graphs, charts and tables of raw data.
Other methods such as controlled observations and questionnaires are ways which can produce quantitative information to create your graphs or even statistics making it easier for readers to understand. For example, closed questions in a questionnaire would generate quantitative data as this information can then be produced into numerical data.
Disadvantages of quantitative data:
- Limitations – closed questions in a questionnaire do not allow participants to explain the reason for their choice.
- Variability – to be able to analyse this type of data there would need to be a large and wide selection of participants involved in the research as this makes an accurate analysis.
Advantages of quantitative data:
- Replication: Quantitative data is based on measured values and can be checked by others because numerical data is less open to ambiguities of interpretation. Hypotheses can also be tested because of the used of statistical analysis (Antonius, 2003).
- Good way of analysing and testing current and previous theories
Within this research I will be using mixed methods of quantitative and qualitative data collection to get a better picture about the research problem which can then be presented through tables, graphs or charts.
Within data research and data collection there are a selection of ways that data can be analysed, a well-known and used method is data triangulation which covers a wide range and options to analyse the data that has been recovered from the research and findings.
“The concept of triangulation is borrowed from navigational and land surveying techniques that determine a single point in space with the convergence of measurements taken from two other distinct points.” (Bogdan, R.C. et.al, 2006)
Data triangulation is a method used to analyze data by using indifferent methods of data collection and cross checking the research findings looking at things from different angles. This method is widely used by qualitative researchers to check and establish validity in their studies.
The methods that I will be using to analyse my research will be:
Information communication technology is a method which is going to play an important role in analysing the data collected from the participants involved in the questionnaires. I will be using google docs to produce the questionnaires which will make it easy for me to distribute via email and print out copies to be done by hand and the data to be input after. Whilst analysing the data collected I will have to ensure that the objective of this action research is being met and presented correctly.
For me to start my action research I have had to research and read extensively information that is relevant to this topic, this included, articles, books, journals and documentaries. This has helped me put the idea of my project together and understand the objective of my project more which is to gain solutions for getting more help for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities.
The topic that is being investigated is the current support in schools for student with learning disabilities/difficulties and how schools and teachers are catering and including these types of learners. As most leaner’s have the extra support of extra reading and maths classes by being taken out during class lessons but is there more that can be done within the education system to help these learners progress more faster and steadily to reach their individual learning goals.
I feel that there needs to be more area knowledge when it comes to teachers and schools to give these learners the support they require and that extra support to teachers within the class room as catering to the needs of twenty-five plus leaner’s in one time is a strain on one teacher to do and cater and ensure all leaners’ needs are being met.
This section of the report is to demonstrate the research that people have already done on this topic and will also show peoples theories, principles, thoughts and conclusions as to what should be done or what can be changed. Doing this piece of research, it will give me a deeper understanding about the topic I have chosen to do and what has been previously done before. This will let me know if what I am doing is relevant or helpful to the field.
This literature review will be trying to find out what aspects have already been researched on this topic, I may also be able to see what is lacking from previous research and what may need to be further investigated. This will also provide the objective of the report and outline the present study.
Tran Thi Thu Hien (2009) Why is action research suitable for education, Department of Foreign Languages for Specific Purposes, College of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University:
This document helped me to understand what action research is as a process and how I would go about doing my own. Tran Thi Thu Hien (2009) gave different definitions of action research from another theorist which enable me to understand it better. Defining action research in which the researcher is involved in the research and trying to find solutions to an area problem.
According to Davis (2003) which is a report that I have found informative about catering to learners with special educational needs states that “Since the 1997 Green Paper, Excellence for All Children, the government has made a firm commitment to a high quality of education for pupils with special educational needs (SEN). It has recognised that building the capacity of teachers and schools to teach pupils with a diverse range of SEN is key to raising the achievement of these pupils.” (Davis, p.7, 2003) Pauline Davis, (2003) is a report that has been created about teaching strategies and approaches for including learners with special educational needs. This report explains ways that are best to approach learners within the classroom and the methods that can be used to do so.
Elanor Busby (2018) Children with special needs lose out as school’s reach ‘breaking point’ over funding cuts, say teachers’ union, Independent:
another article that I was drawn to was due to the topic it was regarding “funding cuts in schools affecting students with special needs”. This is a recent article about issues that have been going on for a while now but is part of the reason as to why I have chosen to do my action research on this topic to gain a better understanding and find possible solutions in achieving an inclusive environment for all learners and getting the help needed for learners with special needs. This article has explained how budget cuts have put an extreme strain on the education of learners with special needs as there is no funding or support available for these learners. Eleanor (2018) has described how more than half of schools have seen a reduction in teaching assistant support within the classrooms which has had an extreme effect on the SEND provision within their schools. This article has given me an insight into what is currently happening within the education system for SEN learners and helped me understand that the success of my research equally depends on my ability to work with other stakeholders such as other teachers and principals who would volunteer information relating to this current issue i.e. learners with disabilities and difficulties which will enable me to gather enough evidence and analyse the trend to be able to arrive at a better conclusion.
4.2 Justify own choice of method selected for action research
The methods that I have selected for my action research are interviews, questionnaires, and observations within the classroom. The reason why I have chosen these methods is since I feel I will get in-depth responses from the participants which can then also be compared to the observations within the classroom.
According to McNamara (1999) Interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a participant’s experiences. The interviewer can pursue in-depth information around the topic. Interviews may be useful as follow-up to certain respondents to questionnaire’s., to further investigate their responses. (McNamara,1999)
The interviews conducted within this action research will be with a classroom teacher, a SEN teacher, learners and parents the reason for this choice of participants is due to the appropriateness of the issue as these individuals have a huge impact or have been affected by this topic. The interviews will show how schools and teachers cater for the students with learning disabilities and difficulties and the effects it has on learners within school and for parents at home. Within this process and the data provided from the participants responses to the questions I have asked it will then allow for analysis of this data to generate relevant data to gain an understanding of the area topic to be able to conclude with prospective and potential improvements to be made.
Having participants who are willing to express their knowledge, views, and opinions on this matter makes this type of technique reliable and have valid outcomes as these are affected by this topic and who are also involved in some type of way i.e. teachers working within the field, learners being taught whether it be helping their needs or not and parents whose children may not be getting the support they need within the classroom. With this being such a complex topic, I would have to take careful consideration as to who I arcs to participate and what questions are being asked within the interview as I do not want anyone who is interviewed to feel as though it may affect their working environment, their learning, or the progress of their child.
To prevent there being and minimising the risk of bias within my interview process the questions I ask will have to be structured accordingly and to include varied questions for the participants to respond to without overwhelming the interviewee. A mixture of questions would be to get enough information from the individual in a short space of time as possible for example experience questions, opinion questions, knowledge questions and background questions.
The interview process can be a time-consuming step to take depending on the structure of your questions as structured questions would not take as long as unstructured questions as you are giving the participant specific questions to answer whereas unstructured interviews flow like a conversation and can leads to a variety of different aspects of the original topic. So, for me to manage my time scale I will be doing semi-structured interviews where my questions would be ready prior to the interviews knowing roughly how long I will be taking to conduct each interview. I have also chosen a select number of participants for my interviews to restrict taking too much time conducting interviews and analysing the data after this process has been completed.
The questionnaires that I will be creating will be made using Google Docs which then makes the process of getting participants slightly easier as this can then directly be sent to their emails for them to fill in with the results going directly back to Google Docs which will help in creating my graphs and charts. Questionnaires would be appropriate for this issue and have the appropriate context as I can structure the questionnaire accordingly to get the feedback I am looking for. Within the structure of the questionnaire I can have open ended questions with some questions requiring a written response from the participants. This type of process makes it easier in generating relevant primary data and analysing the data for the open-ended questions to create graphs and charts given percentages of the participants answers.
According to the University of Sheffield (2018) Structured questionnaires allow for the exploration of patterns and trends which help to describe what is happening and give a measure of participants’ opinions, attitudes, feelings, and perceptions about issues of concern to the evaluator. They also help to identify patterns and trends that merit further exploration using qualitative methods.
To encourage participants participation within the questionnaire process I will ensure that the questions are straight to the points and the questionnaire is no longer than it needs to be as having a long questionnaire with loads of questions can discourage participants to take part. This process can encourage people to take part as they can be anonymous if they wish without anyone being able to identify them, which will allow contributors to answer freely and honestly without fear of being judged or criticised for their answers.
The questionnaire process can be a time-consuming depending on how the questionnaire is structured, completed, and how the data received is then analysed. The way in which I have chosen to conduct my questionnaires will be through Google Docs as this will save me time printing out the documents and getting people to fill them out. I have a list of emails which I will be emailing the questionnaire to and once the contributors had filled in the questionnaire the results will go straight back to Google Docs enabling me to then produce and analyse my data effectively and easily. I have also given myself a limit of how much responses I require back but have given the questionnaire out to more than I require to make sure I get the correct amount of feedback.
The two main methods that will be used in collecting data within this action research will be questionnaires and interviews, all the participants that will be taking part will be based within the UK (London and Essex). I have a total of 25 people participating within the questionnaire with a mixture of these people being teaching professionals, parents, and learners. This data collection method and the people taking part will give the views of different teaching professionals on this matter from the view of trying to cater to all learners within the classroom, having parents and learners participate in the questionnaire gives the view from a different angle of those who are receiving the education or the parents of those who are receiving education.
The interview process is a way to get a deeper understanding of this topic from the views of those who are actively involved within the education system. There are three individuals that have been interviews as part of my action research to get a different aspects and view on this topic, an interview has taken place with a classroom teacher, and SEN teacher, and a parent.
Three using Google Docs I have been able to send 25 individuals the questionnaire which contains a few questions regarding this research issue given a two-week timescale for their responses. The questionnaire will be made up from multiple choice questions as well as questions requiring a written response from the responding.
The structure of my questionnaire and interview will be semi-structured to keep within the timescale and be able to keep on track with the topic without it leading to other areas which may not be relevant. Structured questionnaires data can be processed by software packages such as Excel or google docs making this process faster and effective in data outcome and presentation.
The sample size for this action research is 15 respondents of the questionnaire being a mixture of teaching professionals, learners and parents, and for the interviews there are 3 participants willing to have done the interview with me.
See Appendix: A [Questionnaire Summary]
See Appendix: B [Interviews]
The data collection which was done for this action research was completed through questionnaires and interviews. Where the interviews are restricted to getting answers from my participants to the questions asked this then makes it harder to get statistical data from them, the purpose of the interviews was to gain a more in-depth response from teachers, parents and learners affected by the topics issues.
|Participants||Special needs Learner||Non-special need learner|
Within table 1, we can see that there were 15 participants during the interview process. Teachers were 7 representing46.1% whilst students were 5 (33.3%) with parents being 3 (20%).
I was also able to get a mixture of genders to also see if there would be a different option from male to female responses, 60% were female participants and 40% were male. This allowed me to see the different views male participants had to females on this topic regarding SEN students being successfully catered to within their education.
The age range of respondents was also a mixture of ages which can be seen in table 3 below with a 33.3% of ages being between 20-30 and 40-50with the same percentage which means that most of the people that have responded are within the age of 20 years to 50 years and lowest age range of participants being 60+ with a percentage of 6.6.%.
From the results of my questionnaire all the teachers except one has experienced teaching students with special needs that participated in this questionnaire 100% which is all the teachers that participated said they had experienced teaching students with learning disabilities/difficulties, this shows that there are more students within teacher’s classrooms who need to be catered for and have extra learning support due to their disability and teachers need to adapt their lessons and resources to include these learners within the classroom.
There were also 4 participants who are special needs learners whilst all the parents who participated in the research has at least one special needs learner in their family as shown in table 1
4.5 Present data collected from action research
|Types of SEN||Number affected|
|ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder||6 – 42.8%|
|Speech/ language problems||4|
|Difficulties in ICT||3|
With most of these SEN learners that teachers have had the experienced teaching there were 71.4% which was the highest were dyslexic, ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and 42.8% having speech/ language problems and had Mathletics problem solving. These results balance the results from learners who currently have learning difficulties and the responses received from those who took part, with 71.4% of the participants having dyslexia making this a common disability within the classroom.
From the results of the parents whose children have a learning disability there was 60% who answered yes to this question, with 30% of these children who have ADHD/ADD and 30% having dyslexia.
From the responses of teachers who selected what current resources they used to support student with learning difficulties 77.8% say they use IT – Computers, Tablets, Whiteboards, assistive and 55.6% being other resources such as highlighting text, extra reading, one to one session etc. These results show that there are currently resources and support in place to support learners, but the question is it enough and are the correct measures and support in place to include all learners all at once. As 40% of students who participated stated that more resources within the school is needed, which then contradicts the 60% of teacher who state that these resources are currently being used within the classroom.
See Appendix: C
4.6 Draw conclusions based on findings from action research
From the results that I have found from conducting my questionnaires and interviews, I have found that there are current resources and support in place within schools to help support SEN learners and students with learning difficulties which was made clear from the teachers who participated. However, from the feedback provided by students and parents they have stated that there are resources that are currently in place to help learners that need the extra support, but resources may be limited and cuts within schools are being made which is now putting a strain on schools and taking an affect on SEN learners as funding and staff are being cut. The feedback that was given within the interviews student and parents have a concern on the inclusiveness of leaners and their children within schools especially as student are expected to be at a certain stage by a certain age or time and if this is not the case the class keeps on moving forward. Which is then understandable as a school/ teacher would not want to hold back a whole class but then how are SEN learners really being supported to achieve as expected?
5.1 Report own findings and conclusions from action research
This project was expected to gather enough information from teachers, students and parents who are within or affected by the education system, and to see their thoughts and opinions on how learners with disabilities or difficulties are supported within the classroom and their educational environment. This research was also expected to identify what extra support and resources are
currently being provided for these types of learners from schools and teachers and whether the support currently in place is making a difference to these learners.
To obtain the precise information from teachers, students and parents I decided to create a questionnaire that I sent to these people as they are relevant individuals to this topic being the people who are affected the most.
Within the planning stages I also planned to interview a SEN teacher, student and a parent whom I felt might have given a better understanding about this type of topic and a more in-depth result which could contribute to the results of the questionnaire.
Reporting clearly and objectively on results
From conducting this research there was many aspects that had been touched upon from conducting my research and gathering my data through my questionnaires or interviews. From the data that I have been able to gather it has been deduced that a large propotion of students suffer from the learning disability called dyslexia with the percentage being 71.4% which can be seen in (Table 4) and the second most popular disability being ADHD with 42.8%. This research has shown that there is a current issue within this topic area and these percentages are a large number of students with learning disabilities. This can also be identified from (Appendix C) which details the results from the questionnaire.
Setting out implications for improvements in practice
Improvements that can be made within my practice would be to:
- Allocate extra staff within the class especially in classes that require the extra support
- Making classes slightly smaller which will make it easier to attend to all students needs
- Get extra resources within the classroom, for example read and write software which can read work and for students if they are slow readers to struggle with speech or reading
As mentioned from participants within my questionnaire which can be seen in (Appendix A) from the question What ways could schools and teachers improve inclusiveness and ensuring all needs of all learners are being meet, especially SEN and learners with learning difficulties? The response that was given was “Having the extra support within the classroom from other teachers and more resources e.g. using technology and software’s to support disabled students” which shows the difficulties teachers are currently facing.
Recognising deficiencies in research design
Areas that I feel have deficiencies within this research is that it was based on a small proportion of participants so I was unable to get a broad response from people in regards to this topic as there are different types of schools such as specialist schools which cater to SEN students, public schools, private schools and free schools. Being able to get feedback from all these types of institutes in how they cater to SEN and non-SEN students would have given better results and feedback. As these schools all cater to these learners differently and currently have different types of resources available to them so the responses would differ.
5.2 Justify own recommendations for action to be taken based on conclusions from action research
Within this action research many of my questions that have been asked to have been answered but what I did find that it opened doors to other questions that have now been left unanswered.
- How will this issue of fully supporting SEN students within the classroom be solved?
- If funding is being cut what alternatives will be in place for these types of learners?
- What techniques are currently used to support learners?
- What support are parents getting to support their children?
- What ways can the reduction of teaching assistants within the class can be resolved
- How can one teacher cater to all students including SEN students in ensuring that all needs are being met?
Recommendations that I would make with regards to this research would be to:
- Get more participants to respond to the questionnaire to gain a wider scope of the research problem, this will also allow to get better feedback to analyse.
- Interviewing more and a variety of people such as people from the department of education, MPs, SEN teachers etc.
- Finding out what is currently in place with all the budget cuts and having meetings with those who are affected like students, teachers and other officials to see what can be done to continue to support SEN learners.
If there was more time to put into this project it has the potential of being improved this could be done by getting more interviews done with more teachers, students and parents and other professionals within the educational sector. Another thing that’s could be improved more within this project is the questionnaires and the techniques that were used to do this; I feel that the questions that I provided the participants could take a different approach. More questions could have been asked within the questionnaire for example getting whether people are satisfied or dissatisfied with the support that SEN students receive, rather than just asking questions about the support that’s is currently received and what things could be done to help to support these types of learners.
Within my teaching practice I ensure all students needs are being met as much as possible with the resources and help I have available to me, this is something I believe is very important to have inclusive practice within the classroom.
Conducting this piece of action research, I had many expectations and predicted outcomes of how I thought the feedback was going to go from the questionnaires and interviews.
Achievement of research goals
From the outcome of this research I believe came at perfect timing as this topic is something that is being brought up in the news with regards to teaching assistants cuts affecting SEN learners. Based on the results from this research it can enable the educational establishments to capitalise on this issue of concern in order to improve the extra support and resources available for students with learning disabilities and difficulties. I have also been able to identify that there is a wide range and types of Learning disabilities which some can be identified in (Table 4) which the SEN department is meant to cover all of these plus students that may just be struggling with their learning. Having this as an issue places a strain on teachers to cater to the needs of all these types of students plus students who do not have a disability as the correct support and resources need to be in place.
With this topic being a concern for teachers, students and parents it is an issue that needs to be addressed quickly and changes made before too many students are affected by the changes. By identifying this area as a concern, it shows schools and the government the issues that are arising and gives them ideas on areas they need to work on in regard to the affected learners, e.g. resources which seems to be one of the most mentioned throughout my action research.
Value to organisation
This action research can be used to bring knowledge to my organisation about the concerns students, parents and teachers have in regards to the extra support and resources that are currently in place within this establishment. This feedback from this research will allow my organisation to make changes and implement new solutions to start resolving this issue. This information will also be passed on to other specialist staff and head of schools to also allowed them to be informed and allow them to analyse the feedback and come with plans to make changes for learners within the establishment.
Throughout this action research I have used interviews and questionnaires in order to
- Data collection and analysis skills
- Evaluation on research skills
- Recording and presenting outcomes
Throughout this action research there have been many areas where I have been stronger at than others and have also faced many hurdles whilst conducting this research. I have developed my knowledge within this topic through undertaking my literature research which consisted of research from articles, books, news papers and websites. What I found was that most authors and news articles expressed the concern of how learners are being supported within their education which is also a current epidemic with budget funding cuts and teaching assistant cuts.
Conducting this action research, I have learnt how to organise my time better and to reach specific deadlines provided to me. I have also gained a better understanding of planning things such as my project and I now know that you have to plan what you are going to do and how you will do it before stating the process. Collecting data through my questionnaires has advanced my data collection and analysis skills as it has taught me how to pick my audience of who I want to take part in my questionnaire making the participant’s related to the topic, enabling me to get the correct type of feedback. Gathering this type of data and using google forms has allowed me to learn how to use the information I have obtained and analyse it to put it into written understandable form of results for readers to understand what the results are.
Strengths and weaknesses of the project and the methods use were:
- Gathering enough research for my literature review
- Creating my questionnaire
- Conducting interviews and constructing the appropriate questions for my interviews.
- Time management was something I learnt from conducting this research
- Structure and writing up my action research
- Interpreting my data and know what results I was looking for from them.
- Questionnaires, handing out the questionnaire online and paper copies possibly would of given me more participants
6.3 Plan opportunities to improve own Skills in action research
From the table below, you can see opportunities for me to improve my own practice within my teaching and school environment.
CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Table
|Mentoring||Getting to be mentored by an experienced teacher within my practice and being able to observe and get advice from a closer view.||Dates to achieve by:
|Observation||Being observed within my teaching practice and gaining feedback on areas I need to improve and ways that I can improve and suggestions for techniques that I could try.||03/03/2018|
|Board member||Becoming an active member of a committee, board related to teaching or your subject area would enhance my knowledge within my practice and school environment.||25/09/2018|
|Colleague Communication||Sharing ideas and resources with other teachers and trainers and networking with other subject specialists through my QTLS.||20/04/2018|
|Updating Knowledge||Updating my knowledge through the internet, television, the news or other media and reviewing these with a group of professional colleagues||Continuous|
|Professional Development||Leading project development in your subject area and gaining further qualifications in my subject area through accredited courses.||Continuous
QTLS – 15/12/2018
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