Element 3 – The Action Research Project

Although we are funded for this work via the time-limited EDIF 2013-14 project, we want the impact to be a lasting one.  Our participants will make this happen, of course, by taking a refreshed determination to embed diversity back to their own work.  And we wanted to learn as deeply as possible from their experience, so we shaped TeachDifferent:  The Diversity Programme as an action research project.

Each element of The Diversity Programme will be scrutinised by our researcher @jillwilkens and we’ll learn all we can about impact and what works.  This work needs to be genuinely sustainable, so we want to figure out what can be embedded into our TeachNorthern programme of teacher education courses and what can be offered as reasonably-priced CPD to social purpose educators everywhere.  We want to learn how we can use social media to promote and enhance our work and how the Community of Praxis can operate to maximum effect for minimum cost.  Above all, we want to work out what excellence in embedding diversity looks like, so that we are armed forever with the understanding to figure out what we are looking at, that is so effective.

The research tools are now polished and ready to go.  We’re looking at an initial demographics survey, completed pre-course to take the whole ‘ticking boxes’ thing out of the classroom environment, plus an impact survey, to be repeated at least twice, and a series of qualitative interviews.  We’ve used the free version of Survey Monkey for both of these, to the enlightenment and frustration of our patient research administrator Katy Henderson.  Survey Monkey didn’t allow us to do quite what we wanted to do and the conversations around that, via the project steering group on Yammer, have been fascinating, invoking as they did sometimes quite deep emotions around how we identify ourselves to others.  I’m heartened to report that the earliest responses to the demographic survey are as challenging of the box-ticking approach as we’d hoped.

Everything’s in place now, as it is with the coaching.  Figuring out what we wanted to do has been more enjoyable than I could ever have thought possible.  I can’t wait now to find out what it is that we are going to learn.



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