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Staff Action Research Projects - Maths Vocabulary

9/05/2014
​Teacher inquiry and knowledge-building cycle

​Over the past couple of weeks, teachers have been preparing to start their next whole school Action Research project . So, what is Action Research? Parsons and Brown (2002) state that, “Action Research is a form of investigation designed for use by teachers to attempt to solve problems and improve professional practices in their own classrooms. It involves systematic observations and data collection which can then be used by the practitioner –researcher in reflection, decision making and the development of more effective classroom strategies”. To drive our Action Research projects, we use Helen Timperley’s, “Teacher inquiry and knowledge-building cycle”, pictured.

During this project, staff will be testing the following hypothesis: “That specific pedagogical practices, are more effective in the explicit instruction of maths vocabulary and should therefore be shared practices at Brisbane Central State School”. Teachers have selected ten “high impact” words that they will explicitly teach  to students. This week and next, teachers will  pre-tested the words to ascertain what students already know. Over the next few weeks, teachers will trial various explicit teaching strategies to support students to fully understand and know the target vocabulary, and use it accurately within a mathematics context. Through post-test data, we will be able to ascertain which strategies we need to adopt as teachers, to support the development of mathematics vocabulary. Next time you are in your child’s classroom, don’t forget to ask your child’s teacher what the “big ten words” they will be explicitly teaching this term.

Thanks to Charmaine Xinis, Shona Arneil and Michelle Martin for leading this project, and to our amazing classroom teachers, who constantly look for opportunities to reflect on and improve their practice.