Action Research

STEPWISE-related Outreach & Action Research

INTRODUCTION
Because many aspects of the STEPWISE pedagogy often are not well-implemented in school science & technology, members of our team of teachers & educational researchers (as in the video here) share our resources widely, engage in different ‘outreach’ activities (e.g., workshops & seminars), action research and publication activities (see Resumé). This page provides some details about our work. If you would like to learn more about and/or become involved in our outreach and/or action research, write to me at: larry.bencze@utoronto.ca.

OUTREACH
We provide workshops & seminars for teachers, school administrators, graduate students, professors & others to address topics of their choice related to STEPWISE, such as:

COLLABORATIVE ACTION RESEARCH
To try to continuously improve STEPWISE-informed teaching & learning approaches that may help students to develop expertise, confidence & motivation for eventually self-directing RiNA projects to overcome STSE Harms of their concern, we work with teachers and others to facilitate collaborative action research (CAR). Although action research by teachers as individuals or in groups can be helpful, CAR with educational researchers can increase diversity of teaching approaches & learning outcomes. Educational researchers may suggest cycles of activities like those shown at right/below. Elaborations of such AR processes for science & technology education are given here. Some typical research foci for CAR are given below.

Action Research Foci

Action researchers tend to focus on studying relationships between changes in ‘conditions’ (i.e., independent variables) and ‘outcomes’ (i.e., dependent variables) – such as those illustrated at right/below (and here). In education, a teacher may, for instance, change the number of students in group activities to monitor how that may influence outcomes like students’ abilities to analyze new situations. Other similar examples are provided here. Foci more specific to STEPWISE are given here. Such foci also may arise from analyses of outcomes for elements of the STEPWISE tetrahedral framework, here.

Some STEPWISE-related Action Research Outcomes

Action research can “improve the rationality and justice of [participants’] practices, their understanding of these practices, and the situations in which the practices are carried out” (Carr & Kemmis, 1986, p. 162). Referring to the schema at right/below, CAR can generate ‘Signs’; e.g., knowledge about how the ‘World’ (e.g., teaching & learning) works. It can also improve the ‘World’; e.g., new teaching & learning. STEPWISE has used CAR to address apparent harms linked to pro-capitalist science & technology education, some results of which are described below.

Action researchers may explore inconsistencies (“gaps”) in translations between World & Sign. Ontological gaps, due to differences in composition of World & Sign entities, often are hard to avoid. Ideological gaps (intentional inconsistencies), although difficult to change, often are worth revising.

Students’ RiNA Projects

It is difficult to measure, but students whose teachers have collaborated with us in action research have generated what appear to be very creative and inspired (and inspiring) RiNA projects – such as the one that culminated in the educational video at right/below. This and many more such projects are highlighted at: Sample RiNA Projects. Also, several student RiNA projects are featured in three issues of the journal JASTE: 5.1; 9.1; 11.1; and, in several refereed publications – such as chapters in: Activist Science & Technology Education and STEPWISE.

Besides generating many RiNA projects, it seems – as indicated by the student interviews at right/below – that STEPWISE approaches can lead to long-lasting student understandings & commitments.

Pedagogical Goals & Approaches

STEPWISE-related CAR has generated many pedagogical resources that our research (e.g., as suggested here and in our publications) indicate have worked well. As apparent in the videos at right, approaches have worked with younger, as well as older, school students.

Many perspectives & practices promoted by STEPWISE are not very commonly-used in schools. This is, indeed, a major reason to use action research for STEPWISE implementation; i.e., it requires continuous cycles of reflection, actions, reflections & revisions. Actor-network theory (ANT), while very important for understanding STSE relationships & RiNA projects, often is difficult for some students to understand and use. Teachers working with us have, accordingly, continuously revised their goals & approaches in this regard. In this video, Mirjan Krstovic, who has worked with STEPWISE since 2011, describes his such efforts.

Working with Us in Collaborative Action Research

To work with us in curriculum development, action research and on publications, contact me at: larry.bencze@utoronto.ca. Also, please help us recruit teachers and others to uses of our resources and/or CAR with us – perhaps using this flyer. We are interested in working with educators in many different contexts, including in primary, secondary & tertiary formal & informal education contexts.