Chris Buehner, Amy Doherty and Jennifer Gerish
South Redford School District
It is Action Research time! Some of us left our Galileo meeting on January 14 totally pumped to tackle this project and filled with ideas, while others left riddled with anxiety about what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. Most likely, many of us left with a combination of both feelings. Excited--yes! We want to find answers about something we are passionate about. Anxiety ridden--yes! You may be asking yourself: How do I do this? How do I know if I am doing this right? What if I fail? What if I look like I don’t know what I am doing in front of my colleagues, principal, superintendent and Joyce? And again--what if I fail?
This is a perfect opportunity to practice what we have been learning about growth mindset. For many of us tackling this project could possibly mean stepping outside of our comfort zone--something we are continuously pushing our students to do so they can learn and grow. Remembering this can be helpful during those inevitable moments of self doubt throughout this process.
We decided to ask some of our colleagues in our school district who have been through Galileo and the action research process if they had any advice for us as we embark on this process. The conversations were inspiring and very helpful to us, we hope you find them helpful as well!
Words of Wisdom from Some Former Galileans
Try not to be intimidated by the process. I was worried about how I would be viewed as a teacher if this didn’t work. As I worked through this project I realized that if we don’t take risks, we can’t grow. This is what we tell our kids. To me, the most important piece was my reflection at the end.
--Jill Davison Workman 2011-2013
Seeing all of the Action research projects at the Learning Fair was amazing and you will get so much out of it. That being said, try not to compare yourself to others. It is really tempting to try and judge where you are at by looking at what others are doing. Some projects may be better looking than yours or seemingly more significant, but your project is your project and that is enough!
--Valerie Dudek Munoz 2009-2011
I felt very lost at first but had some aha moments that truly helped. One was that once I figured out that this was supposed to be something that was important to me and didn’t have to be some earth shattering research study that people would write novels about in the future I enjoyed the process. What’s most important is the passion you have for what you have learned so far and how you can share it with others.
--Holly Palmieri 2005-2007
I was a little overwhelmed with the process at first in that I wanted to make sure that I did something that would work. I wanted to be able to have data that supported positive results. I realize now, however, that being right or impressing others with my results was not practical. The point was to be reflective and aware, that this was a beginning of a change, and that change would be a process. It was only through the collaboration of my team and my Galileo peers that I was able to work through all that I did.
--Eddie Latour 2013-2015
Action Research Project. It was amazing how those three words created so much angst and anxiety for me at the beginning of the project. I remember struggling with ideas and it was the discussion among peers that helped guide my thought process and where I wanted to go. I think the most important thing to remember is that you need to own this project. It has to be something that you see as a problem and that you want to find a solution for. The Galileo consortium is truly a treasure trove of knowledge and assistance. In the end, trust in your research, your observations, and your conclusions. You are the one that is benefiting the most because it is your practice. Own it.
--Josh Bzovi 2013-2015
As you move forward in the action research project, don’t be afraid to seek advice from your colleagues. One of the most important aspects of being a leader is the ability to seek out advice from others.