Action research is based on systematic inquiry to gather information on the teaching/learning process or environment. The goals are to gain insight, develop reflective practice, effect change, and improve student learning or the learning environment. This project requires the development of a modified action research plan to inform teaching practice that could be carried out at a later date. Course assignments submitted throughout the course will inform and build this final assignment.
Action research engages educators in a four-step process:
1) Identify an Area of Focus (primary focus of this assignment)
2) Collect Data
3) Analyze and Interpret Data
4) Develop an Action Plan
Discussion Prompt: What theory of development or learning informs the topic/practice at the center of your Action Research Plan? You must identify a psychological theory presented in the text to serve as a foundation or theoretical frame for the topic you are proposing to investigate. You must make the connection between the theory you use and your topic explicit.
I believe that Behaviorism and Social Learning theory are the two learning theories that fast relate to my action research plan. In my action research plan, I would like to take a look at the following questions. 1. How can I help the students in my classroom feel comfortable expressing their feelings in a way that is considered socially appropriate? 2. How does the direct teaching of managing emotions and coping skills affect the classroom climate in a life skills support classroom?
Behaviorism states “people’s behaviors (responses) and the environmental events (stimuli) that immediately precede and follow those responses” (Ormrod, Anderman & Anderman, 2019). “ It suggests that behaviors are influenced and learned from external forces rather than internal forces” (Western Governors University, 2021). “Behaviorism has been especially helpful in identifying effective strategies for encouraging productive classroom behaviors and discouraging inappropriate ones” (Ormrod, Anderman & Anderman, 2019). Students will be able to see the teacher and other students model correct behaviors and coping skills. Hopefully, with positive reinforcement, students will be able to change their responses to their environmental stressors. By modeling myself to express my feelings in a socially appropriate way, my students will be able to make the association on how to start doing that themselves in combination with the direct instruction of the social-emotional program used by our building school counselors.
I also believe that the Social Learning theory also applies. “This theory focuses on the concept of children learning from observing others by acting on or not acting on what they see exhibited by their classmates” (Western Governors University, 2021). According to this learning theory, students can use what they observe in the classroom to mold their behavior. “For example, they may see a classmate politely asking for a treat and getting one, or maybe they hear another classmate talking about something new they’ve learned, which teaches the student something new even if it’s not something they try themselves” (Western Governors University, 2021). Are four different attributes to this theory, and they are as follows:
Attention, which calls upon different or unique lessons or activities to help children focus.
Retention, focusing on how the student will internalize information and recall it later on.
Reproduction, drawing on previously learned behavior and when it’s appropriate to use it.
Motivation, which can extend from seeing other classmates being rewarded or punished for their actions. (Western Governors University, 2021).
Using this learning theory will hopefully allow my students to observe other students in the room making socially appropriate decisions about expressing their emotions and ways to calm themselves down.
I Believe both of these learning theories give a good foundation for me to start my investigation of my action research plan. By using a combination of both of these learning theories, my students should be able to identify their feelings, calm themselves down in a socially appropriate way, and express their emotions appropriately (within a school setting) without hurting themselves or others.