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Classroom research is an act undertaken byteachers, to enhance their own or a

colleague'steaching, to test the assumptions of educationaltheory in practice, or


as a means of evaluating andimplementing whole school priorities.
Some principles of Classroom Research:
The study should be relevant and important to the real-life needs of the
teacher, or there is no point.
The strength of the researcher lies not in technical methodology, but in
their closeness to the learning needs and realities of the classroom.

Small, local studies of real, relevant needs are most useful and relevant to
stakeholders and policy makers.

There is equal interest in how the majority may confirm a hypothesis and
how a minority may depart from it.

Dont try to save the worldjust find out something important to improve
your teaching and your students learning.

You dont have to have earth-shaking, quantitatively-solid data. Almost


any kind of information that adds to your understanding of teaching and
learning is important.

Remember that the focus is on students and their needs primarily.

Chickering & Gamsons (1991) Seven Principles of good teaching practice in


undergraduate education. According to these authors, good practice:

Encourages student-faculty contact


Encourages cooperation among studentsand colleagues

Encourages active learning

Gives prompt feedback

Emphasizes time on task

Communicates high expectations

to better evaluate existing research (critical readers)to become more effective


teachers (new insights and

Key Features of Exploratory Practice


Three fundamentals
The aim of EP is to prioritise the quality of life of our learningteaching
environment above any concern for instructional efficiency.
EP aims to develop our understandings of the quality of learning
teaching life instead of simply searching for ever-'improved' teaching
techniques.
EP recognises the fundamentally social nature of the mutual quest for
understanding, in which both learners and teachers can develop.
How to do EP
Four steps
Note: these typical steps and are given only as a guide for getting started.
They are not intended as a rigid prescription. The principles are more
important than the steps.
a The puzzle (cf identification and refinement of a set of research
questions)
o Identify a puzzle area.
o Refine your thinking about the puzzle area (discuss with
colleagues).
o Select a particular topic to focus on.
b The method
o Find appropriate classroom procedures to explore it (eg, group
work discussion, survey, role-play, diaries, poster session).
o Adapt the classroom procedure to the puzzle you want to

explore.
o Use the procedure in class ('data collection').
c Reflection and interpretation
o Interpret the outcomes.
d Implications
o Decide on implications and plan accordingly.
Seven Principles of EP
Why seven principles?
We need fundamental global principles for general guidance (eg, bringing
people together is more fruitful than pushing people apart). We must then
work out the implications of these for our everyday local practice (How can
we get our students to work together in our particular context?). Thinking
about acting locally in a principled way generates more thinking about our
global principles, and helps us to develop these. 'Think globally, act locally'.
The principles
Put quality of life first.
Work primarily to understand classroom life (cf action research, which
aims to solve problems).
Involve everybody (ie, learners are co-researchers).
Work to bring people together (atmosphere of collegiality).
Work for mutual development.
Integrate the work for understanding into classroom practice (EP
should not be 'parasitic').
Make the work a continuous enterprise.

The first point to capture ones attention about EP is the emphasis that research
isdone for the service of teaching. Doing research should not block or burden
teachers;rather it should enhance the practice of teachers and make the process
of teachingmore enjoyable. Allwright and Lenzuen (1997) define EP as:
a name given to a sustainable way of carrying out classroom investigations
which providelanguage teachers (and potentially learners also) with a systematic
framework within which todefine areas of language teaching that they wish to
explore, to refine their thinking about themand to investigate them further using
classroom activities, rather than academic
researchtechniques, as the investigative tool.