On a sunny, warm but not too hot spring day at Ambedkar University, Lodhi Road campus, New Delhi, ten mentors from the Aptis Action Research Award Scheme (AARMS) shared their thoughts in a plenary on stage and about half the teachers who’d been their mentees reported with posters in stalls around the seating area. Finally, there was a workshop by the scheme’s overall academic coordinators, Amol Padwad and Richard Smith. This was almost the last event of the International Festival of Teacher-research in ELT, and at last we managed to live-stream quite a lot of the event via the Teachers Research! Facebook group to enable others in India and around the world to participate virtually. Below is an attempt to reconstruct the main events of the day, using some of these videos alongside photographs taken by participants and also posted in Facebook:
Plenary session by AARMS mentors
In this introductory session, representatives of the AARMS mentors provided an overview of what has been happening since the scheme began last March. They shared basic overall information about scheme participants and activities and then summarised the main challenges and achievements overall over the past year, as well as plans for further work. There was ample opportunity for question and answers at the end. Here is just one extract (we hope to add more later):
AARMS mentees’ projects: interactive ‘marketplace’
This was the heart of the event: around 40 AARMS mentees (mainly, teachers in secondary or primary schools from all over India) shared their work via posters, grouped according to individual mentor.
(click on Facebook icon to view photos)
Workshop – Getting started: What do you need to do to start your own exploratory classroom-based research project?
In this introductory workshop, Amol Padwad and Richard Smith used activities from the recently published book A Handbook for Exploratory Action Research to introduce the kind of research which has been undertaken within AARMS. They helped participants see how research questions can usefully be built up from the problems and concerns facing teachers in difficult circumstances. Participants were also introduced to ways in which teachers can find answers to their questions via small-scale research which, rather than being an added burden, can be built into everyday teaching and which can help teachers overcome, or at least understand better, the difficulties they are facing. Teachers from AARMS were on hand to provide insider experiences of deciding on a topic, research question development and decisions regarding research methods.
Exploring before action:
From issues to questions:
And so, on to next year’s mela …