May Your Journey be Your Destination!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pond? Stones? Ripples?

What do these things all have to do with an action research project, you might ask? Nancy Fichtman Dana, author of Leading with Passion and Knowledge The Principal as Action Researcher, provided a story with these words to describe how essential it is to share one's action research project with colleagues, district administrators, and beyond. The story goes like this: 
Imagine you notice a large pond that is stagnant and that you are enticed to create some type of movement or change in the water. As you near the edge, you notice that the pond is surrounded by numerous stones. You reach down, pick up a stone, and toss it as far out into the center of the pond as your strength allows. While lying beside the pond, the stone had no impact on the water, but once tossed in, it disturbs not only the stillness of the water where it lands but also emanates ripples from its landing place that eventually reach the perimeter of the pond.
Dana continued by likening, our action research projects as the rocks on the shore. If we do not throw them into the pond they will create no ripples. Once thrown in, there is no telling how sharing your project could impact those around you. I believe this to be true with educators in general. Sharing is what we do, or so, that is what we should be doing. It is how we improve our teaching practices- both through the use of others' ideas or through collaboration. Our projects will set in motion a catalyst that will make changes both large-scale and small-scale, as well as create a need for additional action research projects as a result of our findings.
It may begin small-scale like the ripples; eventually, we will begin to see some pretty big waves. 
She continues by stating that without this change, action, movement, ripples, there is very little need to do an action research project.
Rocks sitting on the shoreline create no movement, no change, no ripples. Once thrown in the pond, wow! So with that, test the waters. Throw that stone in, you might even want to jump into that pond yourself! Be prepared, however, a storm's a brewing!
Dana, Nancy. (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge (pg 135). Corwin Press.

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