Engaging teachers in action research to develop 21st century teaching practices and learning outcomes

Engaging teachers in action research to develop 21st century teaching practices and learning outcomes (21CTL)

Teachers reported on their participation in this Brunei Research Council funded research project at the Colloquium held in the Senate Room on June 4. With an invited audience of school Principals and Ministry of Education Officers, they shared their experience of engagement with cycles of action research to develop 21st century teaching practices and learning outcomes for their students. The 50 teachers from 30 government schools are the first participants in a three-year study that will develop a research-based professional development model for teaching and learning knowledge and skills along six dimensions: knowledge construction and real-world problem solving and innovation supported through collaboration, self-regulation, use of ICT for learning, and skilled communication. The model places emphasis on engaging teachers in cycles of collaborative action research to design, teach and review learning activities that promote the development of these 21st century dimensions.



To review the design of the learning situation, teachers collect evidence of gains in student knowledge and problem solving capability in the specific curriculum content; and evidence of the opportunities provided by the design for students to experience collaboration, self-regulation, skilled communication and/or the use of ICT for learning. If the evidence shows that the design is not working, the action research model challenges the teachers to redesign and teach again to improve the outcomes using evidence to make a judgement. The model accords with international research findings that the most effective professional development for teachers does not result from one-off workshops or sharing sessions but, rather from intensive, on-going professional development that is connected to practice, focusing on student learning and the teaching of specific curriculum content, and that builds strong working relationships among teachers¹. Cycles of action research, develop participants’ understanding of the dimensions of 21CTL, and how to design learning situations to achieve them.

The research project aims to identify the conditions under which such professional development can support curriculum development and implementation in Brunei Darussalam; professionalising teachers in alignment with school improvement priorities and goals. To reflect on the design and enactment of learning activities they create for their students, teachers are able to apply a rubric to the evidence they collect from the classroom to review and make a judgement about the quality of teaching and learning. If this shows that there is room for improvement, a further cycle of design, teaching and review follows.



Data have been collected from: baseline teacher questionnaires, video recording of lessons taught, video recording of teacher group meetings, Learning Activity/Student Work coversheets for each learning activity, designs for each activity, students' work for each activity, pre- and post-tests, student interviews, teacher interviews, teacher written reflections, video recording of group colloquium presentations, and follow up teacher questionnaires. The data are being analysed prior to the participation of a second group of 50 teachers. First impressions are encouraging:

… it has given me a different idea. It has helped me to see lessons differently … so it changed my perception.

… what I see from 21 CTL is the core of teaching and learning, to understand the new approach to teaching and learning, to design the learning activity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Social Studies Teacher

The materials developed, trialled and refined by the teachers through action research will be made available as a web-based resource. The final report of the project should be published in 2016. During the life of the project, papers presented at international conferences will be submitted for publication.

Investigators: Professor Dr Keith Wood, Dr Jainatul Halida binti Jaidin, Dr Masitah Shahrill, Associate Professor Dr Quintus Perera, Dr Hajah Sallimah Haji Mohd Salleh, Associate Professor Dr Saratha Sithamparam, Dr Rosmawijah Jawawi, in partnership with the Department of Planning and Research, Ministry of Education

Graduate Research Assistants: Victoria Chong, Rozi Suzanah Yatab, Nurul Asme Amit, Kristie Kam Voon Ying, Eddy Aswi Matassan, Adeline Pang, Chris Foo, Felicia Soon.