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Franchesca Jones

MATL 2016
Action Research Project Reflection
The most impacting experience of the MATL Practicum was the action
research project. I came up with the idea for my action research project as a
result of a realization I had during one of my self-analysis projects. I wanted
to connect the previous lesson on comparative adjectives, to the lesson of
the day on superlative adjectives. I asked my class what we had done the
previous day, and the students in the room were silent. I realized then that
one aspect of my communicative language teaching abilities I could improve
upon was contextualization of what I teach my students. Part of
contextualizing learned information is ensuring that first the students have a
clear and solid understanding of what it is they are learning. For this reason I
felt that it was necessary to create a plan to highlight to the students the
objectives and goals of each class in ways I hadnt previously done so.
I began to research the importance of student awareness of classroom
objectives, and found that this active consciousness of goals is critical and
beneficial in various ways. It is extremely challenging to try to put together
a puzzle without knowing what the image one is trying to construct is.
Similarly, students need to know what the end result is and how what they
are learning is applicable to the overarching language learning goals, so that
they know what they are aiming for. In being informed and confident in the
direction in which they are going, students put forth increased effort as well
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as retain more information. To put this concept to the test, I applied different
strategies to evaluate their impact on assisting them in this awareness.
While my typical practice was to solely write the objectives on the
board and begin my lesson, I began to wait for the attention of the class and
announce the objectives. I also reminded students throughout the class
what the objectives were, and requested that they inform me once again of
the objectives at the conclusion of the class. I also had them self-assess
themselves and reflect on whether they felt they had successfully grasped
ad applied the objectives by the end of the class. Through minor
adaptations, I was able to increase student awareness of learning objectives,
which also increased student engagement and autonomy. It was not just the
content and results of the action research project which were of great impact
however, it was the realization that through reflection, research and
application of the aforementioned, I have the ability to alter and improve my
classroom on a daily basis. As teachers we have the tools to continuously
develop our craft on a daily basis. With access to a plethora of current
research on foreign language teaching, and with our own classrooms as
platforms, we have the ability to develop our efficacy as teachers, and
improve the learning environment for our students.
With this newly learned information and practices in mind, I find it
nearly impossible to ever be complacent with my teaching as it is. I have
gleamed that it is always possible to learn more about teaching, especially in
an ever developing and evolving subject area like foreign language teaching.
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I plan to not only incorporate the strategies and practices that I have learned
in this course, but continuously self-reflect and encourage reflection amongst
my students. Most importantly, I have learned the value of action research,
and plan to address challenges and deficiencies in my classes not through
frustration or ignorance, but through educating myself and applying said
knowledge.