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Developing Personal, Professional and Leadership Competencies

through Action Research


by Marco D. Meduranda

Good afternoon to one and all.

It is an honor to share with you my insights on how my action research journey has
shaped my personal, professional and leadership competencies.

I am proud to come from a school with a thriving culture of research. For eleven
years, I have served Navotas National High School lately as Master Teacher, and
in the past three-years, I was its action research and learning action cell
coordinator. I thank the Lord that my humble beginnings as basic education
researcher was nurtured in the school's research committee under the guidance
of a very inspiring leader, my principal, Dr. Maria Cristina Robles.

My home school is a source of inspiration. When we rolled out our school-based


action research program in SY 2015-2016 during its first year of implementation,
we were able to engage 100% of our 136 junior high school teachers in doing
team-based, action research projects. In 2017, we have doubled the number of
proposals for classroom-based action researches, from 32 in 2016 to 65 in 2017.
Forty-six of action research projects conducted from 2015-2017 were all funded
by Basic Education The same month last year, most BERF completers in DepEd
NCR came from Navotas National High School. It is also good to note that learners
in our school are also trained to do student-led action research. These are the
reasons why the Basic Education Sector Transformation or BEST gave funding
support for the first Navotas Action Research Festival, a school-based initiative
that was made division-wide by then Dr. Romulo Rocena, Schools Division
Superintendent of the Division of Navotas.

But looking back, three years ago in NNHS, there was no evidence of
collaboration in doing action research, only master teachers were bent on doing
it, and most teachers did not have a deep understanding and appreciation of
the action research process. It was also the time when a number of DepEd Orders
on continuous improvement, learning action cells and basic education research
agenda were cascaded in the field and the challenge was how to communicate

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to teachers that these reforms are interconnected and not compartmentalized.
We were also looking for ways on how we can document the continuous
development of our school-based curriculum innovation program, the Project
MCART or Mobile Computer Aided Reinforcement for Teaching. At this point, we
explored the process of ACTION RESEARCH as a way to address these concerns.

And so we conceptualized the creation of a school-based action research


program. Being a research director for many years in graduate school, my
principal challenged me to conduct a study to ensure that our research program
was anchored on evidence and solid basis. This was my first plunge in the world
of basic education research. I conducted the study, "Levels of Research Self-
Efficacy and Anxiety of Public High School Teachers: Implications for Enhancing
Research Culture." It sought to examine the research self-efficacy and research
anxiety of our teachers in order to design meaningful and relevant capacity-
building program on AR for them.

I looked into their level of confidence in doing research activities or "research self-
efficacy" and also examined their fears and uncertainties associated in doing
research. We used validated tools in this process. Based from the findings, we
learned that most teachers have low confidence on data analysis and technical
writing. This was corroborated when fear of statistics and fear of writing were
found to be the causes of "research anxieties" among our teachers.

Guided by these findings, we tried to ensure that our research capability training
would support teachers in technical writing and data analysis through continuous
coaching and technical assistance in all phases of the research process - from
conceptualization, implementation and evaluation.

How did we get 100% of our teachers do AR. First, we developed the BERF
compliant action research template that simplified the AR proposal writing. This
tool was even endorsed by then regional director Dr. Ponciano Menguito through
a regionwide memo. We created more tools that allowed teachers to just shoot
the information and data without worrying about paragraph unity, coherence
and technical writing.

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Since teachers' prior knowledge on research were rooted on their difficult
experience when doing their undergraduate thesis, we made sure that the
capacity training on AR was fun and purposeful so that teachers reconstruct their
understanding of research. We also created the school research editorial team
which is composed of English and Math teachers who would help improve the
English grammar and statistical applications used. Most importantly, coaching
and technical assistance to teachers were provided before, during and after their
research projects.

Since modelling or leading by example is crucial to convince teachers that AR


can be done, I also led in doing collaborative action research projects. I
presented this research on "The Use of Adapted Frayer Model in Developing
Vocabulary Knowledge of Grade 10 Students" during the Regionwide Research
Congress last February, 1, 2017. This research sought to improve vocabulary
knowledge on a specific curriculum topic for selected Grade 10 learners through
explicit vocabulary instruction using the adapted Frayer Model. The study was a
two-cycled action research that was validated through data triangulation.

Findings of the pretest-posttest scores reveal significant gains on vocabulary


achievement test. Results of the focus group discussion showed that students liked
the tool used as well as the instructional procedure employed in the lesson.
Furthermore, analysis of students' worksheets obtained a proficient rating using
the teacher-made rubric. Through reflection, I was able to deduce that teachers
should carefully looked into the results of formative assessments in order to
contextualize any research-based strategies and provide meaningful learning
experience for students.

With these sharpened competencies on problem-solving, collaboration,


communication data analysis and evidence-based decision-making which I
gained by immersing myself in the action research process, I must say that I have
become a much better educator.

Today, together with my principal, Dr. Robles, we were able to share these
competencies to 1380 teachers across 15 public schools in Navotas, Malabon,
Pasig, Manila and even in the provinces like Bicol and Pangasinan. This was done
through our Modified School to School Partnership on Action Research. Indeed, it

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is so rewarding that in my own little way, I was able to popularize and make AR
viral in basic education context.

For instance, just recently, I gave training to 80 Filipino subject area teachers
in our division. I was also able to share research coaching strategies to 70 teachers
during the Basic Education Research Certification Program at the division of Pasig.
Most special achievement last July, was when I was tapped by DepEd's
Indigenous Peoples Education Program to train their focal persons across all
regions in the country on how to do action research to improve their program
implementation. I was also able to contribute in the crafting of IPEd Research
Agenda.

And with my new role as assistant to the principal in North Bay Boulevard North
Elementary School, I am confident that I will be able to lead teachers in
understanding and appreciating action research as the highest form of
professional development.

At this point, allow me to express my huge gratitude to the people who


have inspired, supported and made a significant mark in me in continuing journey
as a person, a teacher and a leader. Thank you so much Dr. Maria Cristina Robles,
Dr. Warren Ramos, Dr. Meliton Zurbano, Sir Jojo Dullas, Mam Mariel Bayangos and
Mam Lourie from IPsSEO.

To everyone thank you very much for your attention. Good afternoon!