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SASKATCHEWAN ACTION RESEARCH NETWORK FOUR YEARS OF BUILDING, NOW PARTNERING WITH SIIT THROUGH 2012-2013 Allan Quigley, Ed.D. Allan Quigley,

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Presentation on theme: "SASKATCHEWAN ACTION RESEARCH NETWORK FOUR YEARS OF BUILDING, NOW PARTNERING WITH SIIT THROUGH 2012-2013 Allan Quigley, Ed.D. Allan Quigley,"— Presentation transcript:

1 SASKATCHEWAN ACTION RESEARCH NETWORK FOUR YEARS OF BUILDING, NOW PARTNERING WITH SIIT THROUGH Allan Quigley, Ed.D. Allan Quigley, Ed.D.

2 How do you raise the professionalism of a hugely diverse field in a time of scarce resources?

3 A literacy/Basic Education field that is Made up of practitioners with highly diverse training and backgrounds, located over the entire province—including some very remote areas, in a time of scarce resources? A field of practice comprised of... volunteer tutors & teachers in CBO’s (including ESL). Part & full-time instructors in colleges and SIIT--including the North. Full & part-time instructors and administrators at SIAST and colleges.

4 Three ways (Susan Lytle) Top Down (e.g., k-12) “Knowledge For” -Experts: workshops, courses, literature Bottom Up (e.g., apprentice)..... “Knowledge with” - On-the-job & local mentoring/colleagues Building Across (collaborative).... “Knowledge in” - Shared problems; shared learning - Community of practice & research

5 Building Top Down: (Expert Knowledge) Expert guest speaker at workshop AEEI ideas tested “top-down” (portfolio) Guest ideas/guest experts on SARN Website/Blog and on linked Websites

6 2) Building “Bottom Up” Individual instructors/tutors “adapting- adopting” evidence-based practices shared on SARN & linked Websites and/or mentors Encouraging hands-on application of new ideas in the workplace. Encouraging individual instructors/tutors to use new Website resources (self-directed) 2) Building “Bottom Up” Individual instructors/tutors “adapting- adopting” evidence-based practices shared on SARN & linked Websites and/or mentors Encouraging hands-on application of new ideas in the workplace. Encouraging individual instructors/tutors to use new Website resources (self-directed)

7 3) “Building Across” (Collaborative) Sharing questions in workshops and sharing findings on our SARN & linked Websites Engaging mentors with individuals/groups in face-to-face and/or distance learning Building dialogue on SARN Blog/within & across institutions and systems 3) “Building Across” (Collaborative) Sharing questions in workshops and sharing findings on our SARN & linked Websites Engaging mentors with individuals/groups in face-to-face and/or distance learning Building dialogue on SARN Blog/within & across institutions and systems

8 ADDING TO THE ALPHABET SOUP SOME TERMS USED....

9 The wider movement is Research-in-Practice, Action Research is the research method we mainly use in Canada, the USA, UK and Australia. What’s the difference between Research-in-Practice (RiP), the Saskatchewan Action Research Network (SARN) and Action Research... ?

10 – The Saskatchewan Action Research Network is the name of our province’s literacy/basic education movement... Now entering our 5 th year sarn

11 Our story – One workshop in 2003 It could have died then..

12 Thanks to Janet Galbraith & Jennifer Bain at Wascana SIAST...

13 The Funding Years: Practitioners Trained Since in the movement Year one: 2008 – 2009: “Getting Started 12 participants at Saskatoon Workshop Including 2 working with Aboriginal learners (Onion Lake & SIIT) Training materials developed Presentations at conferences (SLN & SABEA) Year one: 2008 – 2009: “Getting Started 12 participants at Saskatoon Workshop Including 2 working with Aboriginal learners (Onion Lake & SIIT) Training materials developed Presentations at conferences (SLN & SABEA)

14 Year Two: : “Building a base” -- 9 participants at Saskatoon Workshop -- including 3 working with Aboriginal learners: (Nekaneet, SALN) -- Reports added to SLN/SABEA Websites -- Presentations at conferences (SLN, SABEA, Colleges)

15 Year Three: “Creating an identity” Named Sask Action Research Network 11 trained at Saskatoon Workshop Inc. 4 working with Aboriginal learners (Ft. Q’ area First Nations & Parkland College) 5 mentors added Reports added to SLN and SABEA Websites Presentations at SLN, SABEA, Colleges conferences Year Three: “Creating an identity” Named Sask Action Research Network 11 trained at Saskatoon Workshop Inc. 4 working with Aboriginal learners (Ft. Q’ area First Nations & Parkland College) 5 mentors added Reports added to SLN and SABEA Websites Presentations at SLN, SABEA, Colleges conferences

16 Year Four: : “Picking up Steam: -- SERC: 27 Participants at Weyburn campus workshop inc. 7 working with Aboriginal learners—Pheasant Rump, Piapot, Ocean Man, Carry-the-Kettle, Kahkewistahaw -- Great Plains: 9 (+2 formerly trained) at Rosetown inc. 3 with Aboriginal learners, Nekaneet -- SIAST Woodland Campus: 20 trained — inc. 4 working with Aboriginal learners (La Ronge & Creighton)

17 WHERE ARE WE TODAY? 88 Practitioner-researchers trained. Including 23 working with Aboriginal Learners 9 Mentors trained for outreach and support Two college campuses (Great Plains + SERC) and two SIAST campuses (Wascana + Woodland) SARN Website with active blog in place Articles in SIAST newsletter & AESA newsletter

18 Why Saskatchewan Action Research Network? WE ARE RAISING THE LEVELS OF PRACTITIONER PROFESSIONALISM, AT A COMPARATIVELY MINIMAL COST AND, BY DOING SO, WE ARE HELPING RAISE LITERACY & BASIC EDUCATION LEVELS FOR A BETTER SASKATCHEWAN

19 FOR THE COMING 2012–2013 YEAR?

20 PROPOSED SASKATCHEWAN ACTION RESEARCH ADVISORY BOARD ADVISORY BOARD * Not yet represented Meet 3-4 times annually by conference call and/or face-to-face Regular updates to AEEI and Advisory Board by Director Final report to AEEI with workshop and formative evaluations *New organizations; current organizations to have new representatives PROPOSED SASKATCHEWAN ACTION RESEARCH ADVISORY BOARD ADVISORY BOARD * Not yet represented Meet 3-4 times annually by conference call and/or face-to-face Regular updates to AEEI and Advisory Board by Director Final report to AEEI with workshop and formative evaluations *New organizations; current organizations to have new representatives AEEI* SABEA SLN SALN SIIT* COLLEGES* SIIT FINANCIAL ADMIN WEB MANAGER DIRECTOR MENTORS

21 THE FUTURE? THE CHALLENGE OF SUSTAINABILITY Have campuses co-sponsor workshops as PD days 50%-50% for major PD costs Build dialogue & resources on Website and Write Board Make this a membership movement? Add mentors for more outreach and support Have campuses co-sponsor workshops as PD days 50%-50% for major PD costs Build dialogue & resources on Website and Write Board Make this a membership movement? Add mentors for more outreach and support

22 ENGAGING THE PROVINCE Create annual RiP Exchange conference Bring in annual guest speaker(s) Publish in professional/academic journals Connect with Webinars & Blog dialogue to other provinces

23 WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

24 Jacqueline Bruce – Onion Lake Research Question: “If I improve the social environment of the classroom, will the number of students who complete the first three weeks increase?” Outcomes: “Student attendance increased by 20% in the Winter 2009 semester and by 30% for the Fall 2009 semester. This met and exceeded my hoped for criterion for success. I consider the project to have been a huge success.” Here’s but two categories on the Websites: “Learner retention” & “Attendance”

25 The research question: “Would an increase in personal communication between myself and my adult students over a period of three months improve daily attendance?” The action research interventions tested “included: 1) phone calls, 2) s, 3) inquiries with community members about absentee students, and 4) positive personal conversations when I saw my adult students in the community.” The Outcomes: “After a period of three months with the action research interventions, the overall student attendance improved from 38% to 51%. I had hoped that student attendance would improve by 5% overall, so an improvement of 13% was a wonderful result.” Kristi Nelson Yarshenko - Nekaneet First Nation

26 Research Question: “Would using to build a sense of community among P-T evening math Basic Ed students improve retention rates by 10%?” Outcomes: “For the January 2009-April 2009 class twelve students completed the class for a retention/persistence rate of 85% suggesting an improvement in the retention rate of 50%. Jennifer Bain – SIAST Wascana

27 OTHER MORE SPECIALIZED EXAMPLES... Naome Soleil (Woodland College): “Can students attain a minimum of 70% on essay assignments by using a vocabulary application approach to develop a variety of sentences?” Andrew Quackenbush (SIAST Wascana): “Testing and determining the size and extent of the vocabulary list that a level one ABE class can comfortably manage as first time readers. “ Connie Jones: (SLN) Would providing literacy discussion forums in the form of Literacy Cafes across the province improve collaboration among literacy practitioners by 10%?

28 HOW DO WE USE ACTION RESEARCH? WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SARN WORKSHOPS?

29 ACTION RESEARCH IS A THREE STEP PROBLEM-SOLVING PROCESS Plan Act Reflect

30 Two Basic Approaches with Different Emphases in Research-in-Practice: PROBLEM POSING PROBLEM SOLVING 1) Action Inquiry 2) Action Research “Adapt & Adopt” Data-based reports

31 The Three- Stage Cycle Of Action Research

32 Posted reports on the SARN Website, organized as follows: A.Addressing Issues of Dropout, “Lates,” and Low Attendance B. Exploring Innovative Teaching Strategies C. Increasing Learner Community Involvement D. Focus on Aboriginal Literacy Issues E. Focus on Adult Learners of English as an Additional Language Issues F. Practitioner Professional Development

33 Two Basic Approaches with Different Emphases in Research-in-Practice: PROBLEM POSING PROBLEM SOLVING 1) Action Inquiry 2) Action Research “Adapt & Adopt” Data-based reports

34 HOW DO ACTION INQUIRY CIRCLES WORK? 3-12 practitioners in a circle—face-to-face or distance (Distribution List? Write Board? Lynk?) Specific topic of real concern to everyone Typically meet 3-5 times Prior to each meeting each member reads some relevant research and/or Brings written notes/data to the discussion Recorder keeps notes and summarizes outcomes 3-12 practitioners in a circle—face-to-face or distance (Distribution List? Write Board? Lynk?) Specific topic of real concern to everyone Typically meet 3-5 times Prior to each meeting each member reads some relevant research and/or Brings written notes/data to the discussion Recorder keeps notes and summarizes outcomes

35 OBJECTIVES READ and then discuss new information DISCUSS the relevance to your practice DISCUSS strategies for applying the findings MAKE PLANS to try out the new strategies SHARE what happened with the others HAVE A RECORDER keep notes and write up a Circle summary (for SARN website ) READ and then discuss new information DISCUSS the relevance to your practice DISCUSS strategies for applying the findings MAKE PLANS to try out the new strategies SHARE what happened with the others HAVE A RECORDER keep notes and write up a Circle summary (for SARN website )

36 WHAT KIND OF TOPICS? Topics that are bigger and more general than individual action research studies...

37 Jackie Bruce at Onion Lake First Nation, commented on the SARN “What Works?” blog: “I guess I am a nurturer. Empathy is one of my strongest skills that I bring to the ABE field.... but I think I’m held back somewhat by the fact that I’m a non-Aboriginal person teaching on a First Nation. I sometimes question if it is my “place” to be an activist when I haven’t personally dealt with the issues that my students are facing.”

38 TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION Should an instructor be Aboriginal to teach Aboriginal learners? What would you say to Jackie?

39 TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION Evelyn Battell (Research-in-Practice in BC) says every literacy/BE instructor is either: A “nurturer” or A “political advocate”

40 TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION Do you agree with Evelyn? Are you a nurturer or an advocate? Do you agree with Evelyn? Are you a nurturer or an advocate?

41 IN CLOSING HERE’S MY FAVOURITE QUOTE ON TEACHING

42 Raymond Wlodkowski (2006) is often asked: “What is teaching, really?” He replies: “I am not completely sure,” but: “When it is motivating, when there is a flow of learning and communication between instructor and learner, it more than all have written or said it was. It is a dimension. Not something one practices and performs, but something one enters and lives” (p. 107).

43 TO CONCLUDE We have a solid beginning to build upon for a stronger field of adult literacy and basic education. I look forward to the new partnership with SIIT You can contact me at We have a solid beginning to build upon for a stronger field of adult literacy and basic education. I look forward to the new partnership with SIIT You can contact me at


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