Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 25

action research Related Abstracts

25 Delay Studies in Construction: Synthesis, Critical Evaluation, and the Way Forward

Authors: Abdullah Alsehaimi

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Over decades, there have been many studies of delay in construction, and this type of study continues to be popular in construction management research. A synthesis and critical evaluation of delay studies in developing countries reveals that poor project management is cited as one of the main causes of delay. However, despite such consensus, most of the previous studies fall short in providing clear recommendations demonstrating how project management practice could be improved. Moreover, the majority of recommendations are general and not devoted to solving the difficulties associated with particular delay causes. This paper aims to demonstrate that the root cause of this state of affairs is that typical research into delay tends to be descriptive and explanatory, making it inadequate for solving persistent managerial problems in construction. It is contended that many problems in construction could be mitigated via alternative research approaches, i.e. action and constructive research. Such prescriptive research methods can assist in the development and implementation of innovative tools tackling managerial problems of construction, including that of delay. In so doing, those methods will better connect research and practice, and thus strengthen the relevance of academic construction management.

Keywords: Industrial Engineering, construction delay, action research, constructive research

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24 A Development of English Pronunciation Using Principles of Phonetics for English Major Students at Loei Rajabhat University

Authors: Pongthep Bunrueng

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This action research accentuates the outcome of a development in English pronunciation, using principles of phonetics for English major students at Loei Rajabhat University. The research is split into 5 separate modules: 1) Organs of Speech and How to Produce Sounds, 2) Monopthongs, 3) Diphthongs, 4) Consonant sounds, and 5) Suprasegmental Features. Each module followed a 4 step action research process, 1) Planning, 2) Acting, 3) Observing, and 4) Reflecting. The research targeted 2nd year students who were majoring in English Education at Loei Rajabhat University during the academic year of 2011. A mixed methodology employing both quantitative and qualitative research was used, which put theory into action, taking segmental features up to suprasegmental features. Multiple tools were employed which included the following documents: pre-test and post-test papers, evaluation and assessment papers, group work assessment forms, a presentation grading form, an observation of participants form and a participant self-reflection form. All 5 modules for the target group showed that results from the post-tests were higher than those of the pre-tests, with 0.01 statistical significance. All target groups attained results ranging from low to moderate and from moderate to high performance. The participants who attained low to moderate results had to re-sit the second round. During the first development stage, participants attended classes with group participation, in which they addressed planning through mutual co-operation and sharing of responsibility. Analytic induction of strong points for this operation illustrated that learner cognition, comprehension, application, and group practices were all present whereas the participants with weak results could be attributed to biological differences, differences in life and learning, or individual differences in responsiveness and self-discipline. Participants who were required to be re-treated in Spiral 2 received the same treatment again. Results of tests from the 5 modules after the 2nd treatment were that the participants attained higher scores than those attained in the pre-test. Their assessment and development stages also showed improved results. They showed greater confidence at participating in activities, produced higher quality work, and correctly followed instructions for each activity. Analytic induction of strong and weak points for this operation remains the same as for Spiral 1, though there were improvements to problems which existed prior to undertaking the second treatment.

Keywords: Phonetics, action research, English pronunciation, segmental features, suprasegmental features

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23 Transnational Higher Education: Developing a Transnational Student Success Signature for Clinical Medical Students an Action Research Project

Authors: Wendy Maddison

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This paper describes an Action Research project which was undertaken to inform professional practice in order to develop a newly created Centre for Student Success in the specific context of transnational medical and nursing education in the Middle East. The objectives were to enhance the academic performance, persistence, integration and personal and professional development of a multinational study body, in particular in relation to preclinical medical students, and to establish a comfortable, friendly and student-driven environment within an Irish medical university recently established in Bahrain. Expatriating a new part of itself into a corner of the world and within a context which could be perceived as the antithesis of itself, in particular in terms of traditional cultural and organisational values, the university has had to innovate in the range of services, programmes and other offerings which engages and supports the academic success of medical and nursing students as they “encounter the world in the classroom” in the context of an Arab Islamic culture but within a European institution of transnational education, engaging with a global learning environment locally. The outcomes of the project resulted in the development of a specific student success ‘signature’ for this particular transnational higher education context.

Keywords: Medical Education, Student success, action research, transnational higher education, Middle Eastern context, student persistence in the global-local, student support mechanisms

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22 Social Responsibility in Reducing Gap between High School and 1st Year University Maths: SMU Case, South Africa

Authors: Solly M. Seeletse, Joel L. Thabane

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Students enrolling at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) come mostly from the previously disadvantaged communities of South Africa. Their backgrounds are deprived in resources and modern technologies of education. Most of those admitted in the basic sciences were rejected in medicine and health related study programmes in SMU. Mathematics (maths) is the main subject for admission into SMU study programmes. However, maths results are usually low. In an attempt to help to prepare the students in the neighbourhood schools of SMU, some Maths educators partnered with local schools to communicate the needs and investigate the causes of poor maths results. They embarked on an action research to determine the level of educators’ maths education. The general aim of the research was to investigate the causes of deficiencies in maths teaching and results in the local secondary schools, focusing on teachers and learners. Asking the teachers about their education and learners about maths concepts of most difficulty, these were identified. The researchers assisted in teaching the difficult concepts. The study highlighted the most difficult concepts and the teachers’ lack of training in some content. Intervention of the researchers showed to be effective only for the very poor performing schools. Those with descent pass rates of over 50% did not benefit from it. This was the sign of lack of optimality in the methods used. The research recommendations suggested that intervention methods should be improved to be effective in all schools, and extension of the endeavours to more schools.

Keywords: Social Responsibility, Intervention, action research, support

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21 Effect of Science Learning Module in Filipino on Content Mastery and Conceptual Understanding of Grade 9 Students

Authors: Roly B. Bayo-Ang

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This research investigated the effect of science intervention modules in Filipino and in English on mastery of content (MOC) and conceptual understanding of Grade 9 students in Chemistry. Analysis of content mastery scores revealed a significant difference in the mean scores of the control and experimental group, t (46) = -2.14, p < 0.05. The experimental group achieved an MPS of > 75% in three of the five lessons while none in the control group. Analysis of the pretest and posttest scores of the control group in the test for conceptual understanding (TCU) showed no significant difference, t (18), =1.44, p > 0.05, while pretest and posttest scores of experimental group revealed significant difference, t (29) = -5.08, p < 0.05. Comparison of posttest scores of control and experimental group revealed no significant difference t (42) =1.67, p > 0.05. Performance in TCU and MOC of the control group are not significantly correlated, r (17) =.307, p > 0.05; but significantly correlated, r (27) =.571, p < 0.05, for the experimental group. The intervention module in Filipino promotes conceptual understanding and mastery of content than the module in English.

Keywords: action research, conceptual understanding, mastery of content, Filipino module

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20 The Application of Action Research to Integrate the Innovation in Learning Experience in a Design Course

Authors: Walaa Mohammed Metwally

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This case study used the action research concept as a tool to integrate the innovation in a learning experience on a design course. The action research was investigated at Prince Sultan University, College of Engineering in the Interior Design and Architecture Department in January 2015, through the Higher Education Academy program. The action research was presented first with the definition of the research, leading to how it was used and how solutions were found. It concluded by showing that once the action research application in interior design and architecture were studied it was an effective tool to improve student’s learning, develop their practice in design courses, and it discussed the negative and positive issues that were encountered.

Keywords: Innovation, Intervention, peer review, action research, learning experience

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19 Action Research of Local Resident Empowerment in Prambanan Cultural Heritage Area in Yogyakarta

Authors: Destha Titi Raharjana

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The finding of this research results from three action researches conducted in three rurals, namely Bokoharjo, Sambirejo, and Tirtomartani. Those rurals are close to Prambanan, a well-known cultural heritage site located in Sleman Regency, Indonesia. This action research is conducted using participative method through observation, interview, and focus group discussion with local residents as the subjects. This research aims to (a) present identifications of potencies, obstacles, and opportunities existed in development process, which is able to give more encouragement, involvement and empowerment for local residents in maintaining the cultural heritage area, (b) present participatory empowerment programs which adjust the needs of local residents and human resources, and (c) identify potential stakeholders that can support empowerment programs. Through action research method, this research is able to present (a) potential mapping; difficulties and opportunities in the development process in each rural, (b) empowerment program planning needed by local residents as a follow-up of this action research. Moreover, this research also presents identifications of potential stakeholders who are able to do an empowerment program follow-up. It is expected that, at the end of the programs, the local residents are able to maintain Prambanan, as one of cultural heritage sites that needs to be protected, in a more sustainable way.

Keywords: Empowerment, Indonesia, action research, Sleman, local resident, cultural heritage area, Prambanan

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18 Engaging Teacher Inquiry via New Media in Traditional and E-Learning Environments

Authors: Daniel A. Walzer

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As the options for course delivery and development expand, plenty of misconceptions still exist concerning e-learning and online course delivery. Classroom instructors often discuss pedagogy, methodologies, and best practices regarding teaching from a singular, traditional in-class perspective. As more professors integrate online, blended, and hybrid courses into their dossier, a clearly defined rubric for gauging online course delivery is essential. The transition from a traditional learning structure towards an updated distance-based format requires careful planning, evaluation, and revision. This paper examines how new media stimulates reflective practice and guided inquiry to improve pedagogy, engage interdisciplinary collaboration, and supply rich qualitative data for future research projects in media arts disciplines.

Keywords: New Media, action research, reflection, inquiry

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17 Public Values in Service Innovation Management: Case Study in Elderly Care in Danish Municipality

Authors: Christian T. Lystbaek

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Background: The importance of innovation management has traditionally been ascribed to private production companies, however, there is an increasing interest in public services innovation management. One of the major theoretical challenges arising from this situation is to understand public values justifying public services innovation management. However, there is not single and stable definition of public value in the literature. The research question guiding this paper is: What is the supposed added value operating in the public sphere? Methodology: The study takes an action research strategy. This is highly contextualized methodology, which is enacted within a particular set of social relations into which on expects to integrate the results. As such, this research strategy is particularly well suited for its potential to generate results that can be applied by managers. The aim of action research is to produce proposals with a creative dimension capable of compelling actors to act in a new and pertinent way in relation to the situations they encounter. The context of the study is a workshop on public services innovation within elderly care. The workshop brought together different actors, such as managers, personnel and two groups of users-citizens (elderly clients and their relatives). The process was designed as an extension of the co-construction methods inherent in action research. Scenario methods and focus groups were applied to generate dialogue. The main strength of these techniques is to gather and exploit as much data as possible by exposing the discourse of justification used by the actors to explain or justify their points of view when interacting with others on a given subject. The approach does not directly interrogate the actors on their values, but allows their values to emerge through debate and dialogue. Findings: The public values related to public services innovation management in elderly care were identified in two steps. In the first step, identification of values, values were identified in the discussions. Through continuous analysis of the data, a network of interrelated values was developed. In the second step, tracking group consensus, we then ascertained the degree to which the meaning attributed to the value was common to the participants, classifying the degree of consensus as high, intermediate or low. High consensus corresponds to strong convergence in meaning, intermediate to generally shared meanings between participants, and low to divergences regarding the meaning between participants. Only values with high or intermediate degree of consensus were retained in the analysis. Conclusion: The study shows that the fundamental criterion for justifying public services innovation management is the capacity for actors to enact public values in their work. In the workshop, we identified two categories of public values, intrinsic value and behavioural values, and a list of more specific values.

Keywords: Public value, Co-creation, action research, public services innovation management

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16 Overcoming Challenges of Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Technical Classrooms: A Case Study at TVTC College of Technology

Authors: Sreekanth Reddy Ballarapu

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The perception of the whole process of teaching and learning is undergoing a drastic and radical change. More and more student-centered, pragmatic, and flexible approaches are gradually replacing teacher-centered lecturing and structural-syllabus instruction. The issue of teaching English as a Foreign language is no exception in this regard. The traditional Present-Practice-Produce (P-P-P) method of teaching English is overtaken by Task-Based Teaching which is a subsidiary branch of Communicative Language Teaching. At this juncture this article strongly tries to convey that - Task-based learning, has an advantage over other traditional methods of teaching. All teachers of English must try to customize their texts into productive tasks, apply them, and evaluate the students as well as themselves. Task Based Learning is a double edged tool which can enhance the performance of both the teacher and the taught. The sample for this case study is a class of 35 students from Semester III - Network branch at TVTC College of Technology, Adhum - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The students are high school passed out and aged between 19-21years.For the present study the prescribed textbook Technical English 1 by David Bonamy was used and a number of language tasks were chalked out during the pre- task stage and the learners were made to participate voluntarily and actively. The Action Research methodology was adopted within the dual framework of Communicative Language Teaching and Task-Based Learning. The different tools such as questionnaires, feedback and interviews were used to collect data. This study provides information about various techniques of Communicative Language Teaching and Task Based Learning and focuses primarily on the advantages of using a Task Based Learning approach. This article presents in detail the objectives of the study, the planning and implementation of the action research, the challenges encountered during the execution of the plan, and the pedagogical outcome of this project. These research findings serve two purposes: first, it evaluates the effectiveness of Task Based Learning and, second, it empowers the teacher's professionalism in designing and implementing the tasks. In the end, the possibility of scope for further research is presented in brief.

Keywords: Perception, action research, communicative language teaching, task based learning

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15 Senior Leadership Team Coaching in Action: Creating High-Performance Teams

Authors: Siqi Fang, Jingxi Hou

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Positive psychology and coaching psychology share a number of fundamental assumptions and common themes. Blending positive psychology, mindfulness, and coaching psychology, our work in team coaching with leaders enhances both leadership and team effectiveness. Although individual coaching has proven to be effective, this article advocates the benefits of leadership coaching in team settings, because durable changes in leadership behaviors are more likely to occur. Does leadership team coaching really work? Does it help improve senior leadership team effectiveness and productivity? This action research study answers these questions by tracking the progress of three typical senior leadership teams consisting of 31 executives participating in a six-month team coaching program. Assessments (pre- and post), workshops, and feedback based on ego development theories and mindfulness were applied to upgrade the senior leadership teams’ transformational stages and reframe their organizational leadership cultures. Results suggest that the team effectiveness of the three leadership teams increased up to 43 percent according to post-survey feedback from superior, direct report, and peers. Discussion is offered to show that senior leadership team coaching help teams to achieve a consensus on common purposes, establish a foundation of trust, improve collective skills, and promote efficient operation. All factors translate into better team performance. Implications of the results for future executive development programs are discussed and specific recommendations are provided.

Keywords: Mindfulness, Team Effectiveness, action research, ego development, senior leadership team coaching, transformational stages

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14 Reflecting on Deafblindness: Recommendations for Implementing Effective Strategies

Authors: V. Argyropoulos, M. Nikolaraizi, K. Tanou

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There is little available information concerning the cognitive and communicative abilities of the people who are deaf-blind. This mainly stems from the general inadequacy of existing assessment instruments employed with deafblind individuals. Although considerable variability exists with regard to cognitive capacities of the deaf-blind, careful examination of the literature reveals that the majority of these persons suffer from significant deficits in cognitive and adaptive functioning. The few reports available primarily are case studies, narrative program descriptions, or position papers by workers in the field. Without the objective verification afforded by controlled research, specialists in psychology, education, and other rehabilitation services must rely on personal speculations or biases to guide their decisions in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of services to deaf-blind children and adults. This paper highlights the framework and discusses the results of an action research network. The aim of this study was twofold: a) to describe and analyse the different ways in which a student with deafblindness approached a number of developmental issues such as novel tasks, exploration and manipulation of objects, reactions to social stimuli, motor coordination, and quality of play and b) to map the appropriate functional approach for the specific student that could be used to develop strategies for classroom participation and socialization. The persons involved in this collaborative action research scheme were general teachers, a school counsellor, academic staff and student teachers. Rating scales and checklists were used to gather information in natural activities and settings, and additional data were also obtained through interviews with the educators of the student. The findings of this case study indicated that there is a great need to focus on the development of effective intervention strategies. The results showed that the identification of positive reinforcers for this population might represent an important and challenging aspect of behaviour programmes. Finally, the findings suggest that additional empirical work is needed to increase attention to methodological and social validity issues.

Keywords: Effective Strategies, action research, cognitive and communicative abilities, deafblindness

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13 Increasing the Mastery of Kanji with Language Learning Strategies through Multimedia

Authors: Sherly Ferro Lensun, Donal Matheos Ratu, Elni Jeini Usoh, Helena M. L. Pandi, Mayske Rinny Liando

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This study aims to gain a deep understanding of the process and the increase resulting in mastery of Kanji with a Language Learning Strategies through multimedia. This research aims to gain scientific data on process and the result of improving kanji mastery by using Chokusetsu strategy in Kanji learning. The method used in this research is Action Research developed by Kemmis and Mc. Taggart is known as Spiral Model. This model consists of following stages: planning, implementation, observation, and reflection. The research results in following findings: (1) Kanji mastery comprises 4 major aspects, those are reading, writing, the use in sentence, and memorizing, and those aspects show gradual improvement from time to time. (2) Students have more participation in learning activities which can be identified from some positive behaviours such giving respond in finishing exercise in class. (3) Students’ better attention to the lesson shown by active behaviour in giving more questions or asking for more explanation to the lecturers, memorizing Kanji card, finishing the task of making Kanji card/house, doing the exercises more seriously, and finishing homework assignment punctually. (4) More attractive learning activities and tasks in the forms of more engaging colour and pictures enables students to conduct self-evaluation on their learning process.

Keywords: Multimedia, action research, language learning strategies, Kanji

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12 Positive Behaviour Management Strategies: An Action Research Conducted in a Kindergarten Classroom in Remote Regional Queensland

Authors: Suxiang Yu

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As an early childhood teacher in a socially and economically highly disadvantaged suburb in regional QLD, the author endeavors to find out effective positive approaches to behavior management for a classroom that is overwhelmed with challenging behaviors. After evaluating the first-hand data collected from the action research, the author summarizes a few innovative, positive behavior management strategies. The research also implies that behavior management opportunities are actually great social and emotional teachable moments, and by tapping into those teachable moments effectively, the teacher and children will have a closer relationship.

Keywords: Behavior Management, action research, classroom strategies, social and emotional teaching

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11 Information Security Risk Management in IT-Based Process Virtualization: A Methodological Design Based on Action Research

Authors: Jenny Paola Forero Pachón, Luis Carlos Gómez Flórez, Jefferson Camacho Mejía

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Action research is a qualitative research methodology, which leads the researcher to delve into the problems of a community in order to understand its needs in depth and finally, to propose actions that lead to a change of social paradigm. Although this methodology had its beginnings in the human sciences, it has attracted increasing interest and acceptance in the field of information systems research since the 1990s. The countless possibilities offered nowadays by the use of Information Technologies (IT) in the development of different socio-economic activities have meant a change of social paradigm and the emergence of the so-called information and knowledge society. According to this, governments, large corporations, small entrepreneurs and in general, organizations of all kinds are using IT to virtualize their processes, taking them from the physical environment to the digital environment. However, there is a potential risk for organizations related with exposing valuable information without an appropriate framework for protecting it. This paper shows progress in the development of a methodological design to manage the information security risks associated with the IT-based processes virtualization, by applying the principles of the action research methodology and it is the result of a systematic review of the scientific literature. This design consists of seven fundamental stages. These are distributed in the three stages described in the action research methodology: 1) Observe, 2) Analyze and 3) Take actions. Finally, this paper aims to offer an alternative tool to traditional information security management methodologies with a view to being applied specifically in the planning stage of IT-based process virtualization in order to foresee risks and to establish security controls before formulating IT solutions in any type of organization.

Keywords: information security, Information Technology, Risk management, action research, methodological design, process virtualization

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10 Learning and Rethinking Language through Gendered Experiences

Authors: Neha Narayanan

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The paper tries to explore the role of language in determining spaces occupied by women in everyday lives. It is inspired from an ongoing action research work which employs ‘immersion’- arriving at a research problematic through community research, as a methodology in a Kondh adivasi village, Kirkalpadu located in Rayagada district of the Indian state of Odisha. In the dominant development discourse, language is associated with either preservation or conservation of endangered language or empowerment through language. Beyond these, is the discourse of language as a structure, with the hegemonic quality to organise lifeworld in a specific manner. This rigid structure leads to an experience of constriction of space for women. In Kirkalpadu, the action research work is with young and unmarried women of the age 15-25. During daytime, these women are either in the agricultural field or in the bari -the backyard of the house whose rooms are linearly arranged one after the other ending with the kitchen followed by an open space called bari (in Odia) which is an intimate and gendered space- where they are not easily visible. They justify the experience of restriction in mobility and fear of moving out of the village alone by the argument that the place and the men are nihi-aaeh (not good). These women, who have dropped out of school early to contribute to the (surplus) labour requirement in the household, want to learn English to be able to read signboards when they are on the road, to be able to fill forms at a bank and use mobile phones to communicate with their romantic partner(s). But the incapacity to have within one’s grasp the province of language and the incapacity to take the mobile phone to the kind of requirements marked by the above mentioned impossible transactions with space restricts them to the bari of the house. The paper concludes by seeking to explore the possibilities of learning and rethinking languages which takes into cognizance the gendered experience of women and the desire of women to cross the borders and occupy spaces restricted to them.

Keywords: Space, Language, action research, gendered experience

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9 Collaborative Reflexive/Reflective Teaching and Action Research in TESL

Authors: O. F. Elkommos

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Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) has become a very rich area of research. Practitioners or teachers of English as a foreign or a second language are now promoting both collaborative learning and collaborative teaching. Students learning a language collaboratively and cooperatively are learning in a better environment of team work where they learn from each other. Further, teaching English collaboratively also creates an enriching environment that is also very enriching to students’ and teachers’ experiences of learning and teaching. Moreover, action research stems from actual teacher concerns and students’ needs. Reflection in turn, on the experience of the material taught and the delivery of material is becoming an integral part of the teaching and learning experience self- evaluation and self-development. In this case, the concern of the research field in the area of TESL will be the development of teaching delivery, material and quality of learning. In the present research, the TESL module taught to year two students in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, British University in Egypt (BUE) will be evaluated reflexively by the students and teachers. The module was taught to students in two different specialisms. It was taught and delivered through collaborative teaching and was evaluated by both teachers and students as very successful and enjoyable. The reflections of both teachers and students as well as student results confirm that it was a success.

Keywords: action research, self-evaluation, TESL, collaborative teaching, addressing differentiation, reflective teaching and learning, reflexive learning, reflexive teaching, self-development

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8 Creative Mathematics – Action Research of a Professional Development Program in an Icelandic Compulsory School

Authors: Osk Dagsdottir

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Background—Gait classifying allows clinicians to differentiate gait patterns into clinically important categories that help in clinical decision making. Reliable comparison of gait data between normal and patients requires knowledge of the gait parameters of normal children's specific age group. However, there is still a lack of the gait database for normal children of different ages. Objectives—This study aims to investigate the kinematics of the lower limb joints during gait for normal children in different age groups. Methods—Fifty-three normal children (34 boys, 19 girls) were recruited in this study. All the children were aged between 5 to 16 years old. Age groups were defined as three types: young child aged (5-7), child (8-11), and adolescent (12-16). When a participant agreed to take part in the project, their parents signed a consent form. Vicon® motion capture system was used to collect gait data. Participants were asked to walk at their comfortable speed along a 10-meter walkway. Each participant walked up to 20 trials. Three good trials were analyzed using the Vicon Plug-in-Gait model to obtain parameters of the gait, e.g., walking speed, cadence, stride length, and joint parameters, e.g., joint angle, force, moments, etc. Moreover, each gait cycle was divided into 8 phases. The range of motion (ROM) angle of pelvis, hip, knee, and ankle joints in three planes of both limbs were calculated using an in-house program. Results—The temporal-spatial variables of three age groups of normal children were compared between each other; it was found that there was a significant difference (p < 0.05) between the groups. The step length and walking speed were gradually increasing from young child to adolescent, while cadence was gradually decreasing from young child to adolescent group. The mean and standard deviation (SD) of the step length of young child, child and adolescent groups were 0.502 ± 0.067 m, 0.566 ± 0.061 m and 0.672 ± 0.053 m, respectively. The mean and SD of the cadence of the young child, child and adolescent groups were 140.11±15.79 step/min, 129±11.84 step/min, and a 115.96±6.47 step/min, respectively. Moreover, it was observed that there were significant differences in kinematic parameters, either whole gait cycle or each phase. For example, RoM of knee angle in the sagittal plane in the whole cycle of young child group is (65.03±0.52 deg) larger than child group (63.47±0.47 deg). Conclusion—Our result showed that there are significant differences between each age group in the gait phases and thus children walking performance changes with ages. Therefore, it is important for the clinician to consider the age group when analyzing the patients with lower limb disorders before any clinical treatment.

Keywords: Professional Development, Mathematics Education, action research, creative learning

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7 Implementing Action Research in EFL/ESL Classrooms: A Systematic Review of Literature 2010-2019

Authors: Amira D. Ali

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Action research studies in education often address learners’ needs and empower practitioner-researcher to effectively change instructional practices and school communities. A systematic review of action research (AR) studies undertaken in EFL/ESL settings was conducted in this paper to systematically analyze empirical studies on action research published within a ten-year period (between 2010 and 2019). The review also aimed at investigating the focal strategies in teaching the language skills at school level and evaluating the overall quality of AR studies concerning focus, purpose, methodology and contribution. Inclusion criteria were established and 41 studies that fit were finally selected for the systematic review. Garrard’s (2007) Matrix Method was used to structure and synthesize the literature. Results showed a significant diversity in teaching strategies and implementation of the AR model. Almost a quarter of the studies focused on improving writing skills at elementary school level. In addition, findings revealed that (44%) of the studies used a mixed approach followed by qualitative method approach (41%), whereas only (15%) employed quantitative methodology. Research gaps for future action research in developing language skills were pointed out, and recommendations were offered.

Keywords: action research, language skills, systematic review, EFL/ESL context

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6 The Enquiry of Food Culture Products, Practices and Perspectives: An Action Research on Teaching and Learning Food Culture from International Food Documentary Films

Authors: Tsuiping Chen

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It has always been an international consensus that food forms a big part of any culture since the old times. However, this idea has not been globally concretized until the announcement of including food or cuisine as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2010. This announcement strengthens the value of food culture, which is getting more and more notice by every country. Although Taiwan is not one of the members of the United Nations, we cannot detach ourselves from this important global trend, especially when we have a lot of culinary students expected to join the world culinary job market. These students should have been well educated with the knowledge of world food culture to make them have the sensibility and perspectives for the occurring global food issues before joining the culinary jobs. Under the premise of the above concern, the researcher and also the instructor took on action research with one class of students in the 'Food Culture' course watching, discussing, and analyzing 12 culinary documentary films selected from one decade’s (2007-2016) of Berlin Culinary Cinema in one semester of class hours. In addition, after class, the students separated themselves into six groups and joined 12 times of one-hour-long focus group discussion on the 12 films conducted by the researcher. Furthermore, during the semester, the students submitted their reflection reports on each film to the university e-portfolio system. All the focus discussions and reflection reports were recorded and collected for further analysis by the researcher and one invited film researcher. Glaser and Strauss’ Grounded Theory (1967) constant comparison method was employed to analyze the collected data. Finally, the findings' results were audited by all participants of the research. All the participants and the researchers created 200 items of food culture products, 74 items of food culture practices, and 50 items of food culture perspectives from the action research journey through watching culinary documentaries. The journey did broaden students’ points of view on world food culture and enhance their capability on perspective construction for food culture. Four aspects of significant findings were demonstrated. First, learning food culture through watching Berlin culinary films helps students link themselves to the happening global food issues such as food security, food poverty, and food sovereignty, which direct them to rethink how people should grow, share and consume food. Second, watching different categories of documentary food films enhances students’ strong sense of responsibility for ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all people in every corner of the world. Third, watching these documentary films encourages students to think if the culinary education they have accepted in this island is inclusive and the importance of quality education, which can promote lifelong learning. Last but not least, the journey of the culinary documentary film watching in the 'Food Culture' course inspires students to take pride in their profession. It is hoped the model of teaching food culture with culinary documentary films will inspire more food culture educators, researchers, and the culinary curriculum designers.

Keywords: Practices, Food culture, Perspectives, action research, culinary documentary films, food culture products

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5 Urban Ethical Fashion Networks of Design, Production and Retail in Taiwan

Authors: WenYing Claire Shih, Konstantinos Agrafiotis

Abstract:

The circular economy has become one of the seven fundamental pillars of Taiwan’s economic development, as this is promulgated by the government. The model of the circular economy, with its fundamental premise of waste elimination, can transform the textile and clothing sectors from major pollutant industries to a much cleaner alternative for a better quality of all citizens’ lives. In a related vein, the notion of the creative economy and more specifically the fashion industry can prompt similar results in terms of jobs and wealth creation. The combining forces of the circular and creative economies and their beneficial output have resulted in the configuration of ethical urban networks which potentially may lead to sources of competitive advantage. All actors involved in the configuration of this urban ethical fashion network from public authorities to private enterprise can bring about positive changes in the urban setting. Preliminary results through action research show that this configuration is an attainable task in terms of circularity by reducing fabric waste produced from local textile mills and through innovative methods of design, production and retail around urban spaces where the network has managed to generate a stream of jobs and financial revenues for all participants. The municipal authorities as the facilitating platform have been of paramount importance in this public-private partnership. In the explorative pilot study conducted about a network of production, consumption in terms of circularity of fashion products, we have experienced a positive disposition. As the network will be fully functional by attracting more participant firms from the textile and clothing sectors, it can be beneficial to Taiwan’s soft power in the region and simultaneously elevate citizens’ awareness on circular methods of fashion production, consumption and disposal which can also lead to the betterment of urban lifestyle and may open export horizons for the firms.

Keywords: action research, the circular economy, the creative economy, ethical urban networks

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4 Action Research into including Sustainability in [Lean] Product Development: Cases from the European Space Sector

Authors: Rob Dekkers, JoãO Paulo Estevam De Souza

Abstract:

Particularly for the space sector the inclusion of sustainability in product development poses considerable challenges for practitioners. Outcomes of action research at two companies in this sector demonstrate how this contemporary theme could be included in methods for product and process development; this was supported by wider focus groups involving more companies. The working together with practitioners brought to the fore that holistic product life-cycle thinking needs further development, especially when firms are suppliers to original equipment manufacturers. Furthermore, the findings indicate that the social aspect of the triple-bottom-line causes remains elusive for companies; to this purpose, some pathways based on the action research and focus groups are proposed.

Keywords: Aerospace, Product Development, Sustainability, Product Life-Cycle, action research, triple bottom-line

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3 An Action Research Study of Developing Foreign Language Teachers’ Intercultural Competence

Authors: Wei Hing Rosenkvist

Abstract:

In the past few decades, concerns and demands of promoting student intercultural communicative competence in foreign language education have been increasing along with the rapid growth of information technologies and globalization in the 21st century. In Sweden, related concepts such as internationalization, global citizenship, multiculturalism, and intercultural communication etc., are also keywords that would be found in the written learning objectives of the foreign language education in all levels. Being one of the leading higher institutes in distance education in Europe, Dalarna University clearly states that after completion of the teacher education program, students shall understand the needs for integrating internationalization, intercultural and global perspective in teaching and learning in Swedish schools and implement their own studies to promote education in an international and global context. Despite the fact that many teachers and educators agree with the institutes’ mission and vision about the importance of internationalization and the need of increasing student understanding of intercultural and global perspective, they might find this objective unattainable and restricted due to the nature of the subject and their personal knowledge of intercultural competence. When conducting a comprehensive Chinese language course for the students who are going to become Chinese foreign language teachers, the researcher found that all the learning objectives are linguistic oriented while grammatical components dominate the entire course. Apparently, there is a gap between the learning objectives of the course and the DU’s mission of fostering an international learner with intercultural and globalized perspectives. How to include this macro-learning objective in a foreign language course is a great challenge to the educator. Although scholars from different academic domains have provided different theoretical frameworks and approaches for developing student intercultural competence, research that focuses on the didactic perspectives of developing student intercultural competence in teaching Chinese as a foreign language education (CFL) is limited and practical examples are rare. This has motivated the researcher to conduct an action research study that aims at integrating DU’s macro-learning objective in a current CFL course through different didactic practices with a purpose of developing the teacher student intercultural competence. This research study aims to, firstly, illustrate the cross-cultural knowledge integrated into the present Chinese language course for developing intercultural competence. Secondly, it investigates different didactic means that can be utilized to deliver cross-cultural knowledge to student teachers in the present course without generating dramatic disturbance of the syllabus. Thirdly, it examines the effectiveness of these didactic means in enhancing teacher student intercultural competence regarding the need for integrating and implementing internationalization, intercultural and global perspectives in teaching and learning in Swedish schools. Last but not least, it intends to serve as a practical example for developing the student teachers’ intercultural competence in foreign language education in DU and fill in the research gap of this academic domain worldwide.

Keywords: Teacher Education, action research, intercultural competence, foreign language education

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2 Reconceptualizing “Best Practices” in Public Sector

Authors: Eftychia Kessopoulou, Styliani Xanthopoulou, Ypatia Theodorakioglou, George Tsiotras, Katerina Gotzamani

Abstract:

Public sector managers frequently herald that implementing best practices as a set of standards, may lead to superior organizational performance. However, recent research questions the objectification of best practices, highlighting: a) the inability of public sector organizations to develop innovative administrative practices, as well as b) the adoption of stereotypical renowned practices inculcated in the public sector by international governance bodies. The process through which organizations construe what a best practice is, still remains a black box that is yet to be investigated, given the trend of continuous changes in public sector performance, as well as the burgeoning interest of sharing popular administrative practices put forward by international bodies. This study aims to describe and understand how organizational best practices are constructed by public sector performance management teams, like benchmarkers, during the benchmarking-mediated performance improvement process and what mechanisms enable this construction. A critical realist action research methodology is employed, starting from a description of various approaches on best practice nature when a benchmarking-mediated performance improvement initiative, such as the Common Assessment Framework, is applied. Firstly, we observed the benchmarker’s management process of best practices in a public organization, so as to map their theories-in-use. As a second step we contextualized best administrative practices by reflecting the different perspectives emerged from the previous stage on the design and implementation of an interview protocol. We used this protocol to conduct 30 semi-structured interviews with “best practice” process owners, in order to examine their experiences and performance needs. Previous research on best practices has shown that needs and intentions of benchmarkers cannot be detached from the causal mechanisms of the various contexts in which they work. Such causal mechanisms can be found in: a) process owner capabilities, b) the structural context of the organization, and c) state regulations. Therefore, we developed an interview protocol theoretically informed in the first part to spot causal mechanisms suggested by previous research studies and supplemented it with questions regarding the provision of best practice support from the government. Findings of this work include: a) a causal account of the nature of best administrative practices in the Greek public sector that shed light on explaining their management, b) a description of the various contexts affecting best practice conceptualization, and c) a description of how their interplay changed the organization’s best practice management.

Keywords: Benchmarking, Public Sector, Critical Realism, action research, best practices

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1 Designing Freirean-Inspired Community Relevant STEAM Curriculum for Underserved Students in Pakistan Using Action Research Process

Authors: Fahad Javed, Imran Haider, Midhat Noor Kiyani

Abstract:

This study constituted community-based, action research that sought to identify community needs and design indigenous community relevant STEAM projects in a local community of underserved students in Pakistan. This community-based Action Research is conducted in “The Tent School System”; a slum school in H-11 Islamabad, Pakistan. The five-phase cyclic action research process is implemented that involved: diagnosing and identifying community problems using needs assessment survey from community members, creating STEAM lesson plans for identified problems of ineffective waste management, electricity cut-off and gas shortage, designing useful products like biogas generator and portable flashlights using lesson plans to solve these problems, evaluation of STEAM projects using rubrics and classroom observations, then specifying learn-ing for next interaction of this STEAM action project. Drawing on needs assessment survey, post feedback survey and field notes, this mixed methods study explored the experiences of low-socioeconomic students participating in contextually authentic STEAM Projects. Based on the students’ feedback, it was revealed that the main sources of student engagement in this action research project were: the overall impact of these STEAM projects on their community and the skills they inculcated in them that made them capable of solving local community challenges on their own. The major strength of this study was its successful practical application of Freire’s theory of critical pedagogy for designing community relevant learning environment for the students. Key learnings of this study imply a useful example of how students can contribute their knowledge and skills to promote general community well-being. Furthermore, the fusion of critical pedagogy of place in STEAM model offers a unique pedagogical innovation to education practitioners all around the world.

Keywords: Critical Pedagogy, Authentic Learning, action research, contextual, STEAM Education, community relevant

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