Let me begin with a statement by Nancy Fichtman Dana (2009) I plan to keep on my mirror for a visible reminder each day.
With all the never-ending demands on a principal from a large and diverse number of constituencies, coupled with the numerous emergencies that surface on an almost daily basis, it is easy for principals to lose sight of why they aspired to be principals in the first place – leading and inspiring the teaching and learning that occur within their schoolhouse, a task that has become increasingly more complex in recent years. (p. 2)
Reading that almost makes a person wonder why someone would ever desire to be in a position of leadership in the field of education. However, action research provides a means and an end to help educational leaders face these many issues.
Action research is “one tool that can be used by principals to untangle the intricate web of demands in which they become entangled each day, take charge of their own professional development, and become the ‘head learner’ of their school” (Dana, 2009). It provides a method of continuous improvement through the process of determining what educational concern needs to be addressed. This inquiry is best when formed as an open-ended question rather than one that only requires a yes or no response. Once the inquiry is identified a plan of research is developed involving the gathering of data related to the concern. This data is then analyzed based on a perusal of current educational literature on the matter. This analysis and a new understanding of the problem in question lead to change in the educational setting. Interestingly, the last step of action research involves sharing what has been learned (or discovered) with other educators. In my opinion, this is a reminder that we’re all in this together, or as the saying goes, there’s strength in numbers.
Dana, N.F. (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.