5301 Research, Week 2 Assignment, Part 1

I chose to utilize interviews of Dr. Kirk Lewis as well as Dr. Johnny Briseno. Dr. Lewis discussed how the entire school district is utilizing the same sets of data, though from different “lenses,” that is, a classroom teacher is primarily concerned about her students’ performance while the superintendent is more concerned about district-wide strategies moving forward. Dr. Briseno discussed the benefits of implementing both quantitative data (“We don’t make decisions without looking at the data first, that’s the bottom line”) and qualitative data (“Sometimes when you just look at numbers, it doesn’t tell you the whole story”).

Dr. Lewis suggests that leaders should always be reading and looking at the research that other districts (etc) have done and, most critically, find ways to make it “translate” to your own unique situation within your district. He says that because of certain similarities that exist naturally between districts, the training and retraining of teachers and staff about the disaggregation of data will enable the leader to begin seeing those similarities and begin making insightful analyses and applications for their own use.

Dr. Briseno suggests that when you are wanting to implement action research, specifically when you desire to see change implemented throughout the campus, to allow the teachers/practitioners to present to their peers. Teachers are going to be balanced in their use of quantitative and qualitative, especially with help if necessary, but because the other practitioners are hearing from their peer/coworker and not their superior/boss, they are more likely to internalize and implement what is given to them. Further, he points out that teachers are going to be able to give direct, specific examples of students that other teachers will know and what they are doing to work with that student as well as how effective it has been.

Listening to these scholars is a great reminder of just how complicated, diverse, and yet attainable action research is. There are so many factors and angles to consider, but with patience and perseverance, it can be implemented as a great tool for institutional change campus or even district-wide! I really liked what Dr. Briseno suggested when he was discussing the importance of looking at the individual children and not losing sight of the fact that each child is different with unique situations that may have impacted their performance on a standardized test. Did the child get enough sleep? Are there other problems at home? I also enjoyed the implicit suggestion by Dr. Lewis that the best course of action is through collaboration. I think one of the things that absolutely kills innovation and effective classroom practice (and, in due course, performance) is the notion that any teacher can be self-sufficient. Saturated throughout his interview was the notion that we should be generatively learning with one another and using the work that our peers and colleagues have completed, tailoring the methods/processes/actions to the specific scenarios presented by your district/campus.

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