Classroom Action Research In Language Learning By Mohammad Adnan Latief email@example.com University of Pittsburgh State University of Malang 2009 Classroom Action Research In Language Learning By Mohammad Adnan Latief Abstract: Research in English learning is a scientific activity that aims at investigating the rules that work in the process of English learning. Research activities in English learning cover four steps: observing, describing, analyzing, and explaining. The way each step is done depends on the nature of the data and the objective of the research. Classroom Action Research for English Learning aims at developing a certain instructional strategy to solve practical instructional problems in English classrooms. Each English learner is basically able to learn English provided that he or she is given the appropriate help as each learner has his or her own style and strategy of learning. Classroom Action Research for English Learning aims at discovering learning-teaching strategies that match learners’ style and strategies in learning English. Classroom Action R is done in several cycles each of which is repeated in the following cycle if the result is not satisfactory yet with the better revised lesson plan. Each cycle begins with lesson planning, implementing the plan, observing the implementation, and reflecting or evaluating the process and the result of the implementation. The result of the reflection determines the following cycle. Key words: planning, implementing, observing, and reflecting Research in English learning is a scientific activity that aims at investigating the rules that work in the process of English learning. Understanding a process of English teaching means being able to explain the system, rules, patterns, or formula, in the process of English teaching (Marshall & Rossman, 1995:16) Researchers believe that an effective process of English teaching is based on a certain system, rules, patterns, formula, or regularity. It is this system that is going to be discovered by researchers in English teaching. This article explains the process of classroom action research that covers repeated cycles consisting of planning, implementing, observing, and reflecting. Four key terms used in Classroom Action Research are planning, acting, observing, and reflecting. Planning refers to the proposed instructional strategy to be developed in the research to solve instructional problems. Acting refers to the implementation of the strategy that has been planned, (usually) with or without a collaborator. Observing and reflecting refers to assessing the success of the implemented strategy in solving the instructional problems. In observing, the data indicating success and other instructional problems are recorded, while in reflecting all the recorded data are analyzed to judge how much the implemented strategy has effectively solved the problems CLASSROOM ACTION RESEARCH Classroom Action Research is an effective media in improving the quality of English teachers’ performance in instruction as well as students’ achievement in learning English in classrooms. In Classroom Action Research, English teachers assess the effectiveness of their own teaching activities and plan the improvement based on the result of the assessment. The results are innovations in English instructions. Very often, teachers’ innovations in English instructions are accepted more (bottom up) than innovations forced from outsiders (Top down). Classroom Action Research starts from teachers’ serious concern about their success in their own instructions, their students’ learning progress, their students’ behavior, their students’ learning problems, and the learning environment, which they assess throughout the whole process of instruction for the purpose of planning, implementing, and evaluating improvement (Borgia, S. 2003). Classroom Action Research for English Instruction is aimed at developing innovative instructional strategy that can help enhance the success in students’ learning English. English teachers believe that every student can succeed in learning English if appropriate learning strategy is provided. When students fail in learning English, the blame is on the teachers who do not provide appropriate help to the students. When the students fail in learning English, it must be because the teachers have failed in helping them. And this is the teachers’ problem. Identifying classroom problems and trying to solve the problems can be done through the process of Classroom Action research. It is the job of professional teachers to identify their classroom problems and to try to solve the problems. Classroom Action Research activities involve repeated cycles, each consisting of planning, acting, observing, and reflecting. The result of one cycle is used to determine the need for the following cycle, until the problems get solved by the strategy (Kemmis & McTaggert, 1988) See Figure 1 Figure 1 The Action Research Spiral Reconnaissance (Assessing classroom problems) Reflection Observation Plan Action Reflection Observation Revised Plan Action Revised Plan Kemmis, S., McTaggert, R. (1988) Classroom Action Research is done by teachers in their own classrooms. As English teachers, they have to solve their classroom problems or improve the quality of their classroom practices to result in better English achievement of their students. As researchers, they have to produce an innovative classroom strategy that contributes to the improvement of English teaching-learning practices in schools of the same level. The research starts with observing and identifying classroom problems. A classroom problem refers to a classroom practice that can still be improved to result in better learning achievement of the students. A professional teacher can always see which classroom practice can still be improved. Then the teacher-researcher searches for alternative instructional strategies from references, by discussing with their colleagues, or by joining seminars or workshops. One best alternative strategy is then selected, and translated into an instructional scenario. All necessary instructional media and assessment instrument are developed to implement the instructional scenario. The teacher-researcher has to learn well how to implement the scenario in the classroom before the action is started. At this stage, there should no question anymore about how well the teacher can implement the instructional planning otherwise the action cannot be started. The researcher is recommended to choose a collaborator to help in observing the implementation of the scenario. Then the action is started with the collaborator observing the process of instruction to record any information indicating the success or the failure of the strategy in solving the classroom problems. The result of the observation is analyzed to reflect how successfully the implemented strategy has solved the classroom problems. When the strategy has not completely solved the problems, then the strategy has to be revised in the best possible way to make sure that when implemented again in the following cycle the problems can completely be solved. Classroom Action Research is a part of activities of professional English classroom teachers. Through Classroom Action Research, English teachers improve the quality of their instructional performance by developing innovative instructional strategies to solve their classroom problems. PLANNING Planning is a step to prepare the classroom instructional strategy to be developed in the study to solve the instructional problems. The instructional strategy has been selected based on the belief that the strategy can theoretically solve the problems. It is this strategy that becomes the focus of the study, to be prepared, to be tried out, to be revised, to be tried again until it proves effective to solve the problems. The instructional strategy has to be elaborated into a detailed scenario of instruction provided with all necessary instructional media and assessment instruments. At this stage, criteria of success to measure the effectiveness of the strategy are also decided. The criteria of success are derived from the problems to be solved through this study and some other instructional goals to be achieved through the implementation of this strategy. The criteria of success when achieved become the strength of the strategy that will attract other teachers to use the strategy to solve the same problems. Criteria of Success in Classroom Action Research The success of an English instruction is not only measured with the achievement in learning English skills as indicated by the scores. An English instructional strategy that creates classroom atmosphere that gives students joyful learning experience can motivate students to sustain life-long self learning. This sustainable life long learning of English by the students is even more important than the students’ achievement. This joyful classroom learning should also become the goal of an effective strategy besides the scores representing students’ achievement in learning English. It is stated in the Indonesian National Educational system that “Students’ self potential that needs to be developed through school experience is not limited to the academic competence, but, more importantly, it extends to character building, the aspects that in fact will later play more dominant roles in driving a success in the students’ real professional career. Students’ intelligence, academic competence, as well as the positive supporting characters need development not only during the process of schooling, but should sustain throughout the students’ life time, long after the formal schooling process is over. Indonesian Education System, therefore, aims at empowering the students’ potential and civilizing them in sustainable growth such that civilized nation could be built” (UU. No. 20 / 2003 Part III Chapter 4 Point 3) Another criterion of an effective as well as attractive instructional strategy is its practicality. A strategy that requires very expensive media and complicated procedures may not attract any other teacher to apply in their classrooms. In other words, the more a strategy can attract other teachers who have similar problems to solve, the more effective the instructional strategy is. ACTING Acting is the second step after the planning step to implement the instructional strategy that has been planned. At this stage, the researcher has mastered the instructional scenario before starting the implementation in class. The researcher at this stage is not in the process of learning how to implement the plan, nor in the process of improving the quality of teachers’ performance, but in the process of actually trying out the strategy to test how much the strategy can solve the classroom problems. The researcher is recommended to collaborate with one or two other teachers of the same subjects. The collaborators observe the implementation of the plan to see how much the strategy can solve the classroom problems. OBSERVING Observing is the process of collecting data indicating the success of the strategy in solving the classroom problems. The focus of the observation is on the data related to the criteria of success that have been decided. The question that becomes the concern in the observing process is “How well does the strategy solve the problems?” not other questions, like “How well does the teacher teach?” or “How well is the strategy implemented by the researcher?” These last two questions are not the questions for CAR but appropriate for observers observing students who are learning how to teach, like in the practice teaching program. At this observing stage, which aims at collecting data, the researcher and the collaborator have to define the type of data to be collected, the instrument to collect the data, the data sources, and the technique of data collecting. In other words, the discussion on those topics should be under this observing stage. Many classroom Action Research reports present both, observation and data collection which of course are overlapping, as both refer to data collecting. Indah (2002), for example, presents two separate subheadings; Research procedure covering Planning the action, Implementing the Action, and reflecting the Action on pages 36-40, Data and Data Source on page 41, and Data Collection and Instrument on pages 42-45. Sujak (2002) presents sub-headings Classroom Action Research Plan, Introduction, Preparation, Planning, Implementing, Observing, Evaluating, and Reflecting on pages 46-60. and other sub-headings, Research Subjects, Data Collection, and Data Collection Techniques on pages 60-76. Suntari (2002), also presents Research Design that covers Research Subjects, Collaborator, Research instruments, Data, and Data Analysis on pages 42-73. Discussion on the two topics, observing and data collecting under different sections shows that the researchers do not understand that the two topics refer to the same thing. Data for Classroom Action Research Data collected for Classroom Action Research include all information related to the criteria of success targeted in the research. The data may come from numerical information, like the results of tests as well as verbal information, like students’ problems, classroom atmosphere, students’ motivation, the practicality of the instructional strategy, cooperative behavior of the students, etc. Because both type of data, numerical as verbal data, may be collected, Classroom Action Research does not belong to only quantitative research or qualitative research. It is not necessary to claim the Classroom Action Research as quantitative or qualitative. Data Collection and the Instruments in Classroom Action Research Classroom Action Research instruments are needed to record the data to be collected during the process of observation. The instruments have to be developed based on the nature of the data to be collected. The data which are derived from the criteria of success to solve the classroom problems have to be defined based on the right construct and content. The data on students’ English achievement, for example, can be collected using English achievement tests developed based on the curricular objectives, while the data on students’ problems, classroom atmosphere, and students’ motivation can be collected using observation, interview, documents, etc. An observation check list to record the teacher-researcher’s activities is not appropriate in the observation stage, because the teacher-researcher’s activities do not always relate to the criteria of success. An observation check list to record students’ activities in the learning process is not appropriate, either, as the students’ activities do not relate to the criteria of success. Again the appropriate instruments to collect data in Classroom Action Research are the instruments that can be used to collect data reflecting “how well the strategy can solve the problems” not “How well the teacher implements the strategy”, or how well the strategy is implemented”. Sources of Data in Classroom Action Research Data for Classroom Action Research are mostly collected from the students who are taught using the strategy being developed. Data on students’ English learning progress can be collected by observing the students’ use of English during the learning process. Data on students’ English learning achievement can be collected by giving English achievement tests to the students being taught. Data on classroom atmosphere (e.g. How joyful the classroom is or how tensed the students are) can be collected by observing the students’ behavior in class and by recording the classroom situation. The teacher may be asked to judge the classroom atmosphere and the parents may also be asked about their children’s progress. It is suggested that a table be developed relating the classroom problems to be solved, the target or the criteria of success to be achieved, the data to be collected, the sources of data, the instruments to collect data, and the technique of data collection. See the following table. 1 The classroom problems to be solved 2 The target or the criteria of success to be achieved 3 The data indicating the achievement of the target 4 The sources of data 5 The instruments to collect data 6 The data collection techniques REFLECTION Reflection is the process of analyzing data to determine how far the data collected have shown the success of the strategy in solving the problem. Reflection also shows what factors support the success of the strategy or what other problems may occur during the implementation process. The discussion on data analysis is done under the reflection stage. There is no need to present a sub heading data analysis in any other parts, like what is done by Indah (2002: 45), Sujak (2002: 76) and Suntari (2002:73) because doing so will just make the discussion overlapping, or will give the impression that reflection and data analysis are two different things. The analysis of the result of observation is done by comparing the data collected with the target or the criteria of success. For example, a strategy of improving the students’ writing skill using picture series is considered successful if (1) the students enjoy learning writing using picture series, (2) the teacher feels convenient in using the strategy of picture series, (3) the students become more active in improving their own writing skills, (4) the students enjoy helping each other in the process of learning writing, and (5) the students writing skills improve as indicated by the average score of at least 75. The reflection stage aims at evaluating which criteria or target of success has been achieved, which one has not been achieved, and what are the possible reasons that those targets are not achieved yet. The result of the reflection is used to determine what part of the strategy needs improvement. The strategy is examined to find out how maximum improvement can possibly be made so that when implemented again all the targets of success can be achieved. The revised strategy (planning) is then implemented again, the result is observed, and then reflected in the second cycle. The cycle is repeated until the implementation of the strategy can achieve all the targeted criteria of success. The number of cycles cannot be predicted in advance. A Classroom Action Research may take only one cycle if after the first cycle, all the targeted criteria of success have been achieved. The researcher, in fact, has to do their best to plan their Classroom Action Research as few cycles as possible. But if the targeted criteria of success have not all been achieved yet, then the revision of the strategy still needs to be done and another following cycle is still needed. STATING RESEARCH PROBLEMS IN CLASSROOM ACTION RESEARCH The research problems in Classroom Action Research reflect two things; the classroom problems to be solved and the strategy to be developed to solve the problems. For examples, How can Reading Skills of Junior High School Students in SLTPN 3 Malang be improved using Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL) strategy?, How to improve Reading Skills of Junior High School Students in SLTPN 3 Malang using Contextual Teaching and Learning strategy? Following are examples of research problems in Classroom Action Research by Indah (2002), Sujak (2002), and Suntari (2002). 1. How is the effective model of explanation on Summary writing to enhance the students’ content-area reading skills? (Indah, 2002:11) 2. How can SQ3R strategy be implemented to improve the students’ critical reading skills at SLTP Negeri 2 Ngimbang Lamongan? (Sujak, 2002: 100). 3. How to make effective instructions using poem-formula to improve the students’ skills in learning to write poems in grade 9 SLTP Negeri 3 Tuban? (Suntari, 2002: 9) STATING OBJECTIVES OF CLASSROOM ACTION RESEARCH Research objectives in Classroom Action Research are stated to contain two things, the classroom problems to be solved and the innovative instructional strategy to be developed. For example, “This study aims at developing Contextual Teaching Learning strategy to improve Reading Skill of Junior High School students of SLTP3 Malang”. Following are examples of objectives for Classroom Action Research by Indah (2002), Sujak (2002), and Suntari (2002). 1. This study tries to develop the effective model of explanation on Summary writing to enhance the students’ content-area reading skills (Indah, 2002:12) 2. This study tries to describe the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of SQ3R strategy to improve the quality of the process of learning critical reading of Junior High School students of State SLTP 2 Ngimbang Lamongan (Sujak, 2002: 12) 3. This study tries to improve the effectiveness of poetry writing instruction using poem-formula for Junior High School students in grade 9 SLTP Negeri 3 Tuban (Suntari, 2002: 9) THE PRODUCT OF CLASSROOM ACTION RESEARCH The product of a research is the answer to the research problems that have been raised or the achievement of the objectives that have been proposed at the beginning of the research. Since Classroom Action Research always proposes a strategy to solve classroom problems, the product is always an innovative instructional strategy to solve classroom problems. This is different from the product of other research designs, like experimental, co-relational, etc. Research conclusions like, “The writing skills of the students increase”, “the average score of female students is better than the average score of male students”, “Students learning listening skills in a language lab achieve better on the average than those studying in a conventional classroom”, “Students’ achievement in reading is better after the implementation of jig-saw strategy” are not the conclusions of a classroom Action Research. Indah (2002) gives a good example of the result of Classroom Action Research as follows. The model of direct instruction of content area summarizing consists of three components: the explanation, the guided practice, and the independent application. (Indah, 2002: 143). QUESTIONS OFTEN RAISED ABOUT CLASSROOM AR Following are questions and the answers addressed to Classroom Action Research, about the uniqueness, objectives, stating research problems and objectives, the criteria of success, the process, the cycle, the content of planning, acting, observing, and reflecting, and measuring the success of a cycle. 1. How is Classroom Action Research different from Experimental Research? Classroom Action Research is different from Experimental research. In English Classroom Action Research, the goal is to produce an innovative instructional strategy that can solve English classroom problems. The final product is an instructional strategy that has proved effective in solving classroom problems. The process is repeated cycles. The result of one cycle is evaluated to see how much the strategy has solved the problem. If the problem has not been completely solved yet, the strategy is revised and implemented in the following cycle, until the strategy effectively solves the problem. In experimental research, the goal is to see the effectiveness of an existing strategy (not the strategy which is still in the process of its development). The effectiveness of one strategy is measured by comparing the average score of a group of students getting the experimental treatment with the average score of another group of students getting another control treatment (Tuckman, 1999:132). No revision on the strategy is done in experimental research. 2. What is the objective of a Classroom Action Research? Classroom Action Research is a research especially designed for teachers so that classroom teachers can conduct research in their own classrooms for the purpose of improving the quality of their classroom performance. So the research is done by the teacher-researcher. As a teacher, he/she has to solve the classroom problems and as a researcher he/she has to contribute to the development of the knowledge in their subjects by producing an innovative instructional strategy that improves the effectiveness of the classroom performance. In 1976, John Elliot (1991) established Classroom Action Research Network for Teachers in UK to share the experience in conducting research. The classroom Action Research Network was established in 1976 to enable individuals and groups committed to action research in the UK and other countries to communicate with each other and share experience through correspondence, papers documenting the experience of action research and conferences. (Elliot, 1991: 39) 3. How to state Research Problems and research objectives in Classroom Action Research? A Research problem and a research objective in Classroom Action Research indicate two focuses: (a) solving classroom problems and (2) developing an innovative instructional strategy. Some people prefer emphasizing the problem solution in the research problems and objectives more then the development of a strategy. They prefer statements of research problems, like “How can students’ ability in reading be improved through …………….”? Or “How can students’ achievement in state final exams be increased using …………….?. The weakness of too much emphasizing the problem solution is that the researcher may forget the need to develop the instructional strategy to solve the problem. Some Classroom Action Research reports only present the success in improving the quality of students’ achievement without producing any instructional strategy that can be shared to other classroom teachers. Other people prefer emphasizing the development of an innovative instructional strategy more than the solution of the problems. They argue that the classroom problems are the contextual background reasons why the research has to be conducted. The problems are used as a starting point for the research. The research problems are used as the criteria of success to measure the effectiveness in the development of the instructional strategy. So, the most important part in Classroom Action Research is the development of the instructional strategy. Examples of research problems in Classroom Action Research that emphasize the solution of the problems: 1 How can the skill of writing recount texts of the second year students of SMP Negeri 3 Nganjuk in 2007/2008 academic year be improved through the implementation of interactive experience? (Sumidi, 2008:6) 2 How can reading comprehension instruction be improved using the Reciprocal Teaching Strategy?(Iyan Hayani, 2008:5) Examples of research problems in Classroom Action Research that emphasize the development of instructional strategy 1 How can Picture Games strategy be developed to increase the students’ participation in their learning speaking? 2 How can the Reciprocal Teaching Strategy be developed to improve the quality of reading comprehension instruction? Examples of objectives of Classroom Action Research that emphasize more on problem solution 3 This study aims at improving the skill of writing recount texts of the second year students of SMP Negeri 3 Nganjuk in 2007/2008 academic year through the implementation of interactive experience? (Sumidi, 2008:6) 4 The purpose of this study is to improve the quality of reading comprehension instruction using the Reciprocal Teaching Strategy (Iyan Hayani, 208:5) Examples of objectives of Classroom Action Research that emphasize the development of an instructional strategy 3 This study aims at developing Picture Games Strategy to increase students’ participation in learning speaking. 4 This study aims at developing the Reciprocal Teaching Strategy to improve the quality of reading comprehension instruction 4. How many research questions and objectives should a Classroom Action Research have? A classroom Action Research aims at developing one strategy to solve classroom problems, so only one research problem and one research objective is required. This one research problem and objective may be elaborated into several sub questions and sub objectives. The elaboration should make the research problems and objectives clearer. The sub questions and sub objectives may be developed to describe the stages in using the instructional strategy. These stages then will make up one grand strategy. An instructional strategy to develop students’ writing skills, for example, may be elaborated into several stages of (a) activating schemata, (2) brainstorming, (3) drafting, (4) editing, and (5) publishing. When the Classroom Action Research objective is to develop an instructional writing strategy using movies to improve the quality of students’ writing skills of Junior High School students of SMP 1 Malang, for example, this research objective can be elaborated into 5 sub objectives as follows. 1. To develop an instructional writing strategy using movies in activating schemata 2. To develop an instructional writing strategy using movies in brainstorming 3. To develop an instructional writing strategy using movies in drafting 4. To develop an instructional writing strategy using movies in editing 5. To develop an instructional writing strategy using movies in publishing The research question may be stated into“ How can movies be used as a strategy in improving the quality of Junior High School students’ writing skills in SMP 1 Malang?” This research question may be elaborated into 5 sub questions as follows 1. How can movies be used as a strategy in improving the quality of the process of activating schemata for Junior High School students learning writing in SMP 1 Malang? 2. How can movies be used as a strategy in improving the quality of the process of brainstorming for Junior High School students learning writing in SMP 1 Malang? 3. How can movies be used as a strategy in improving the quality of the process of drafting for Junior High School students learning writing in SMP 1 Malang? 4. How can movies be used as a strategy in improving the quality of the process of editing for Junior High School students learning writing in SMP 1 Malang? 5. How can movies be used as a strategy in improving the quality of the process of publishing for Junior High School students learning writing in SMP 1 Malang? When a Classroom Action Research objective, to develop students’ writing skills using Movies, is elaborated based the sub-skills that make up the writing skills, (a) to develop the students’ vocabulary, (b) to develop students’ grammar, (c) to develop students’ skill in using cohesive devices, (d) to develop students’ skill in developing coherence, etc. the elaboration does not make the main objective clear. Developing the strategy for each of those sub skills does not make up one unified grand strategy. 5. What is the process of Classroom Action Research? The process of Classroom Action research involves several steps to be conducted by the teacher who acts as a researcher. 1. Classroom problems are identified to be solved. The problem here refers to any classroom practice that can be improved to get better results. Any professional teacher has a classroom problem. 2. Alternative instructional strategies are reviewed from related references, from teachers conferences, from discussion with colleagues, 3. One best alternative instructional strategy is selected to solve the problem, 4. The selected instructional strategy is translated into a detailed teaching scenario, or a lesson plan, 5. The instructional media and the assessment instruments are developed. 6. The targeted criteria of success are decided to be achieved 7. Observation instruments are prepared 8. A collaborator is selected to help the researcher observe the implementation of the strategy. 9. The teacher-researcher is trained to implement the planned instructional scenario 10. The observer is trained to observe the implementation of the strategy to collect data related to the criteria of success 11. The instructional scenario is implemented in class and observed by the observer. 12. The data collected from the observation are analyzed to reflect the result of the implementation of the strategy 13. If the result of the implementation of the strategy does not meet the targeted criteria of success, the instructional strategy is examined closely to find which part to be revised. 14. The revised strategy is implemented again, observed, and reflected to see if further revision is needed. 15. If the targeted criteria of success are achieved, the research activities are reported. 16. The strategy is presented in a manual booklet or video record. 6. What are the criteria of success? The criteria of success for Classroom Action Research are derived from the classroom problems to be solved and the classroom goals to be achieved. Many criteria are used to measure the success of the process of teaching and learning. Classroom instructions that do not result in students’ academic achievement is having a classroom problem to be solved. So, students’ academic achievement is one criteria of success. Classroom instructions that do not sustain students’ motivation in learning (self-regulated learning or independent self-learning) are having a classroom problem to be solved. So, students’ motivation in learning is one criteria of success. Classroom instructions that create scary atmosphere, where students are scared or highly worried, that create students loose their self esteem and their self confidence, that kills their personal as well as social skills are having classroom problems that need to be solved. So, classroom atmosphere is criteria of success. The data indicating the achievement of the criteria of success may come from numerical information (quantitative data), obtained from the result of a test, or from verbal information (qualitative data) obtained from observation, interview, or documentation. The more criteria of success are achieved in the process of Classroom Action Research, the more other teachers having similar classroom problems get interested in using the strategy in their classrooms. 7. What represents a cycle in Classroom Action Research? A cycle in Classroom Action Research comprises four stages. The first stage is strategy planning, where the strategy is planned to solve classroom problems that have been identified. The second stage is acting, where the strategy that has been planned is implemented. The third stage, which is done simultaneously at the second stage, is observing, to collect data indicating the achievement of the criteria of success. The fourth stage is reflecting to analyze the data collected from the observing stage by comparing the data and the criteria of success. The implementation of the instructional strategy may be done in one classroom meeting or several related classroom meetings. In writing instructions, for example, the first meeting is used for activating students’ schemata and drafting, the second meeting is used for peer editing and revising, and the third meeting is for publishing. All the three meetings make up one cycle. In speaking instructions using Picture Games strategy, for example, one meeting is enough to implement the Picture Games Strategy. This one meeting makes up one cycle. 8. Which group should be used for the second cycle.? The product of a Classroom Action Research is an innovative instructional strtegy, which significance depends on how many other classroom teachers find it useful for their classrooms. They may get interested in the product of our Classroom Action Research if the strategy can help them a lot in solving their classroom problems. So, the instructional strategy resulted must have real strength of solving classroom problems. If the cycle in a Classroom Action Research is conducted in the same group of students who have got the treatment in the previous cycle, and the topic in the cycle is the same as the previous cycle, then the achievement of this group of students may be caused by the repetition of the treatment, not merely resulted from the implementation of the strategy. When the strategy is applied by other teachers who want to achieve the same goal, the strategy might not work well. So it is suggested that if the cycle is repeated to teach the same topic, the next cycle should be done in another group of students having similar problems. If the strategy is applied to teach another topic, then for the next cycle after the strategy is revised, the same group of students can be used for the implementation of the strategy. 9. What should be discussed under PLANNING in the Method of research? PLANNING in Classroom Action Research is a technical term referring to the instructional strategy selected to be developed in the research to solve classroom problems. So, the focus of discussion under the PLANNING section is not on what is going to be done. The section should focus the discussion on the elaborated instructional strategy that has been selected. In fact, the focus of Classroom Action Research is on this instructional strategy. It is this instructional strategy that is going to be developed; to be tried out, observed, evaluated, and then revised, and tried out again in cycles. So, the section under PLANNING contains the detailed description of the instructional strategy. Other things also need to be prepared to support the implementation of this strategy, like the instructional media, the assessment instrument, the criteria of success, and the instrument to collect data. 10. What should be discussed under ACTING? The discussion under the section ACTING focuses on the description on the context of the implementation; the size of the class, the classroom environment, the existence of the observer in the classroom, and the schedule of the implementation. The description of the steps in teaching activities that has been described in detailed under the PLANNING does not need to be repeated under this section. The description of what is happening can be attached in the appendix of the thesis, not necessarily inside the thesis because it is going to disturb the flow of the ideas in the thesis. If the detailed description of the instructional strategy is presented under ACTING, then when the cycle is repeated because the targeted criteria is not completely achieved yet, the researcher has to revise the ACTING not the PLANNING. This of course confuses the flow of the cycles in Classroom Action Research (See the Action Research Spiral, Figure 1 by Kemmis &Taggart). 11. How do we measure the success of a cycle? The success of a cycle is measured from the achievement of the targeted criteria of success indicating the solution of the classroom problems and the achievement of the classroom goals that have been decided in advance. When the result of observation and reflection in one cycle has shown that the targeted criteria of success have been completely achieved, the cycle is successful, and no further cycle is needed. If some criteria of success have not been achieved, the cycle is not successful yet, and further cycle is needed to improve the quality of the strategy. A Classroom Action Research may need only one cycle or many need several cycles. The improvement in the results from one cycle to the following cycles is not the measure of the success of the cycles. The improvement of the results from the first cycle to the last cycles does not determine whether one more cycle is needed. Therefore, comparing and analyzing differences in achievement from the first cycle to the last cycle to find out statistical significant difference is beyond the Classroom Action Research and so it is not needed. This comparison belongs to another research design. Comparing the results of pre test conducted before the first cycle is started and the results of post test administered after one cycle is conducted to find out statistical significant difference is not the measure of success of the cycle, as the significant difference between the two sets of scores does not determine whether one more cycle is needed. Similarly, comparing and analyzing the results of one cycle with the results from an instructional process using another strategy to find out statistical significant difference is not the measure of success of the cycle, as the significant difference does not determine whether one more cycle is needed. The statistical comparison belongs to another research design. 12. What data are collected during Observing? Observation in Classroom Action Research is a step for collecting data. The data to be collected are determined by the targeted criteria of success to be achieved. Any information not related to the criteria of success is not the data to be collected. The data to be collected are going to be used in the reflection process to determine whether one more cycle is needed. Teachers’ activities and students’ activities are not the data to be collected if they do not represent the achievement of the criteria of success. The data to be collected are indicators of the results of the implementation of the strategy not the process of the implementation of the strategy. The question to be answered during the process of observation is “How well does the strategy being implemented achieve the results to meet the criteria of success?” not “How well is the strategy implemented?” A check list to record the activities by the teacher and the students to check whether the activities have run following the planned scenario is not going to result in the data appropriate for Classroom Action Research purposes. These data do not indicate the result of the implementation of the strategy, so the data will not be useful in reflecting the effectiveness of the strategy. 13. What should be reported under Findings? Description under Findings focuses on the research result obtained through the research process. Research process and research results are two different things. In Classroom Action Research, the research process involves the repeated cycles comprising four steps; planning, acting, observing, and reflecting. In planning, the strategy is prepared so planning does not produce research results. In acting, the strategy is implemented, so acting does not produce research results. In observing, data indicating the success of the strategy are collected, so observing does not produce research results. In reflecting, the data collected are analyzed and evaluated, so the reflecting alone does not produce research results. It is the research process involving the four steps that produces the research results. The research process is described in detail under the Research Method. There is no need to describe the planning, the acting, the observing, and the reflecting under the findings, because the research process discusses the method of obtaining the result, it does not discuss the results. 14. What should be reported under the conclusion of the research? The conclusion of research is the answer to the research problems. So, a conclusion answers the research problems. As the problem in Classroom Action Research is, “How can an instructional strategy solve selected problems?” or “How can an instructional strategy achieve certain classroom goals?” the answer is a procedure in solving classroom problems or in achieving certain classroom goals and the evidence to support the achievement. The detailed elaboration of the research conclusion becomes a guide book for teachers on how to implement the strategy that has been developed through the research This conclusion is different from the conclusion from Co-relational research which describes the relationship between two variables by stating: “the better students are in one measure, the better they are in another measure.” It is also different from causal research which describes the relationship between two or more variables by stating “the average score of one measure is significantly better than another measure”. 15. What is the significance of the product of Classroom Action Research? Significance in research refers to the contribution of the research result to the improvement of the related practice (practical contribution) and or to the development of the related theory.(theoretical contribution). Research significance does not include the importance of the research for the researcher. Since the product of Classroom Action Research is an innovative instructional strategy, the practical significance depends on how many other teachers teaching similar subjects get attracted in applying the strategy in their classrooms. The more teachers teaching similar subjects get interested in applying the strategy in their classroom, the higher the significance of the Classroom Action Research result is. The success of an instructional strategy in solving certain classroom problems and in achieving certain instructional goals must also be explained by the researcher. A success can never happen by accident. A success must always have some explanation. It is this explanation that contributes to the development of theory (theoretical significance). 16. Does Classroom Action Research belong to qualitative or quantitative research? Quantitative research is differentiated from qualitative research from the type of data collected. Quantitative research collects numerical data while qualitative research collects verbal data. Data collected in Classroom Action Research depend on the criteria of success used as the target of achievement. Usually the criteria of success are related to both types of data, numerical data as well as verbal data. Therefore, Classroom Action research can not be claimed as quantitative research because verbal data are also collected.. It can not be claimed as qualitative research either because numerical data are also collected. It is safer to claim that Classroom Action Research belongs to both quantitative research and qualitative. 17. How to present the research method for classroom Action research? The presentation of the research method for Classroom Action Research is different from the presentation of research method for other research designs. In quantitative research, the research method is usually contains 1. research design, 2. sampling technique, 3. instruments to collect data 4. data collection, and 5. data analysis. In qualitative research, the research method is usually presented to contain 1. research design, 2. research setting, 3. research subjects, 4. data collection and data analysis, an 5. triangulation In Classroom Action Research, the research method is presented to contain 1. research design, 2. Planning, 3. Acting / Implementing, 4. Observing (contains data, instrument, and data collection), and 5. reflecting (contains analysis) CONCLUDING REMARK Professional classroom teachers always have classroom problems to be solved and try to find alternative strategies to solve the problems. The development of the strategies to solve the classroom problems can be done through Classroom Action Research. Teachers who always conduct Classroom Action Research help maximize the achievement of their students as well other teachers of the same field. So, it is important that teachers learn how to conduct Classroom Action Research. REFERENCES Bogdan, R. C., Biklen, S.K. 1998 Qualitative Research in Education, An Introduction to Theory and Method. Boston, London, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore; Allyn and Bacon Borgia, Eileen T, Schuler, Dorothy. 2003 Action Research in Early Childhood Education ERIC Digest http://www.ericfacility.net/ericdigests/ed401047.html diakses 29 Juli 2008. Elliot, John. 1991. Action Research for Educational Change. Bristol: Biddles Ltd, Guilford and King’s Lynn. Indah, Rahman, N. 2002 Enhancing Content-Area Reading Skills of the English Department Students of STAIN Malang through Summary Writing. Unpublished Thesis, Graduate School, State University of Malang Iyan Hayani. 2008 Improving Students Reading Comprehension through Reciprocal Teaching Strategy at the Second Year Students of MTs.N Pasir Sukarayat Rangkasbitung Banten Unpublished Thesis Graduate School State University of Malang Kemmis, S., McTaggert, M. 1988 The Action Research Planner.(3rd edition). Victoria: Deakin University. http://www.stanys.org/RT/Action%20Research%20Spiral.pdf. Marshall, C., Rossman, G. B.1995 Designing Qualitative Research. Thousands Oaks London, New Delhi; SAGE Publications Sujak 2002 Peningkatan Kemampuan Membaca Kritis dengan Strategi SQ3R dalam Pembelajaran Membaca di Kelas 3 SLTP Negeri Ngimbang Lamongan Unpublished Thesis Graduate School State University of Malang Sumidi 2008 Improving Writing Recount Skill of the Second Year Students of SMP Negeri 3 Nganjuk through Interactive Experiences Unpublished Thesis Graduate School State University of Malang Suntari. 2002 Pengembangan Kreativitas Menulis Puisi dengan Strategi Pembelajaran Menulis Puisi Formula di Kelas 2 SLTP Negeri Tuban. Unpublished Thesis Graduate School State University of Malang Tickman, Bruce, W. 1999 Conducting Educational Research, Fifth Edition. Belmont: Wadsworth Group/Thomson Learning. : Wadsworth Group/Thomson Learning.
Pages to are hidden for
"Classroom Action Research"Please download to view full document