CFLE Voices From the Field – Spring 2021
We invite you, CFLEs in active practice, to share your experiences related to providing Family Life Education (FLE) services to individuals and families in your community. Specifically, we invite CFLEs who have not published in CFLE Network before to submit a 250- to 500-word response to a writing prompt relevant to the theme of Action Research and Program Evaluation. The writing prompt follows.
Writing Prompt for Spring 2021—Action Research and Program Evaluation
CFLEs are both ethically and professionally obligated to regularly assess the effectiveness of and improve, where needed, the quality of FLE-related services that they provide to individuals, families, and other community members.
Action research provides a means for CFLEs to meet their obligations for assessing and improving the quality of the educational services they provide. CFLEs do not need specialized knowledge (e.g., research methodology, statistical analyses) to conduct action research; they already possess the skills needed to successfully apply the steps of action research to the instructional services they provide to individuals, families, and other community members in a variety of online and in-person teaching–learning settings (e.g., homes, nonprofit agencies, workshops, seminars, conferences).
According to Rust and Clark (2003; How to Do Action Research in the Classroom; Heinemann Press; p. 4; https://bit.ly/2JMddgY), action research comprises these basic steps: Determine what is and is not working in your teaching–learning setting; pose “good questions” about what isn’t working and gather information (data) from teaching–learning activities and from pertinent resources that allows you to fully answer your questions; use this information to identify actions you can take to modify teaching strategies and improve learner outcomes; implement the modifications; and gather information (observations, surveys, interviews) that allows you to determine the impact of the modifications on your and the learners’ behaviors.
In about 250 to 500 words, please briefly describe your instructional setting (e.g., home visits, one-to-one client instruction, small group instruction, community workshop, professional conference), summarize what is and is not working in your teaching–learning situation (e.g., helping families set realistic goals; regaining participants’ wandering attention during a segment of a workshop; encouraging teens to participate in small group discussions; encouraging parents to use nonpunitive discipline), and pose a “good question” about what isn’t working. According to Rust and Clark (2003; pp. 5–6; previously cited), a good question is open-ended and leads the questioner toward action (e.g., “What can I say or do to encourage all members of the teen group to actively participate in group discussions?”). Please share what actions you took to answer your question, what modifications you made to your teaching–learning situation based on the answers you found, and the outcome of the changes your made on you, the teacher, and the learners. Finally, congratulate yourself for having conducted an action research project!
Please see “What Is Teacher Research?” (https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/vop/about-teacher-research) for additional information and resources related to action research.
If you would like to engage in ongoing conversations about action research with other CFLEs who share your interest, please contact Dawn Cassidy, Director of Family Life Education, by email ([email protected]) and suggest action research as a topic for CFLE Conversations.
Please notify Beth Morgan, CFLE Network Editor, by email ([email protected]), of your intent to submit a response by the March 1, 2021, Intent to Submit Deadline and include one or two sentences about the content of your response. Note: Your completed 250- to 500-word response is due by the submission deadline of March 22. You may also email Beth Morgan with questions or for more information.