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Teaching Foreign Languages Workshops Home
    2: Person to Person

Action Research Project

Before You Watch
Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic
Put it Into Practice
Action Research Project
Reflect on Your Learning

Library Video Chart
AssignmentThe following four-step process will help you plan a small action research project to explore your questions about the interpersonal mode of communication, implement action plans for improving the interpersonal skills of your students, and collect information to assess your patterns of communication. Before you begin this section, you can go to About Action Research for an introduction to the process of designing and conducting action research projects. If you are taking this workshop for credit, you will need to complete one action research project from any one of the eight workshop sessions as an assignment.

If you would like to focus on interpersonal communication for your action research project, use the following questions and examples to help frame your thinking and shape your project.

I. Thinking

  1. What issue concerning instruction and interpersonal communication do you want to describe, document, and investigate? For example, you could analyze the patterns of communication that exist in your classroom, your students' interpersonal communication, or ways to enable your students to negotiate meaning with you and each other. This will be the focus of your action research project.
  1. Why is interpersonal communication important to you as a teacher? How have you planned for classroom interactions in the past? How do you want to change that approach and why? What has been your experience with using IRE and IRF communication patterns with students?
  1. What is your research question concerning the interpersonal mode of communication? The research question will help you investigate your area of focus and understand it better. For example:
  1. How can I enable my students to negotiate meaning when engaged in pair work tasks?
  1. How does the design of my classroom tasks promote or inhibit interpersonal communication?
  1. How can I monitor how much interpersonal communication occurs on a daily basis in my classes?

II. Acting

  1. What is the action plan for carrying out your project? Depending on your action research question, the following are some questions you might ask yourself to help you develop an action plan:
  1. What strategies might I use to enable students to use more target language in pair work tasks?
  1. What techniques might I use to monitor my use of feedback during interpersonal communication?
  1. What new ways of constructing tasks do I need to try out to assist students in communicating interpersonally?
  1. What strategies can I use to move students from one-word responses to more elaboration and detail?
  1. What information will you need to collect to answer your research question and assess your project? For example, an action research project on interpersonal communication might include observations of classroom interactions by a colleague or yourself, reflections after class in a teaching journal, recordings of student discourse during pair work tasks, or video recordings of classroom discussion over time. You should have at least two appropriate sources of information to answer your research question.
  1. How much time will you allot for your action research? That is, when and for how long do you plan to collect information before you're ready to begin analyzing it? Develop a timeline for implementing your action plan.

III. Reflecting

  1. After collecting your information, how will you analyze it? That is, how will you organize and review the information you have collected to understand it better and help you answer your research question? For example, will you transcribe interactions, locate themes in your journal, or document changes over time in student interpersonal communication based on your innovation or intervention?
  1. How will you display the information so that it can be shared with others? For example, you can use charts, graphs, and/or tables. The goal is to organize your data in a way that presents a clear description of what you investigated.

IV. Rethinking

Note: The final step of the action research project is to reevaluate your teaching practice based on your research data. Because it takes time to complete an action research project, it may not be possible to do this step during the workshop. However, if you are taking this workshop for credit, you will need to complete one action research project during or after the course of the workshop to submit as an assignment.
  1. Based on what you learned through your data analysis, how will you rethink your teaching practice? What changes will you make to your lessons the next time you address interpersonal communication in your classes? If you had to research interpersonal communication again, what changes would you make to your action research plan?
AssignmentIf you are taking the workshop for graduate credit, submit your completed action research project on any one of the eight session topics.

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2: Person to Person > Introduction | Before You Watch | Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic | Put It Into Practice | Action Research Project | Reflect on Your Learning
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