Reflection and Action in ESOL Classrooms

This brief illustrates how ESOL teachers can reflect on their teaching and carry out action research in their classrooms.

M. Cooke
C. Roberts
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

This resource provides a detailed plan for carrying out action research and reflective practices as teachers participate in a research project. Each step needed to implement reflective practice is laid out in the resource. The authors demonstrate these steps by providing concrete examples of teachers who are trying out their own action research project. They provide the teacher reflections and comments, as well as the results of the projects, and the underlying research.

Required Training

 None, however readers may want to explore this topic further.

What the experts say

This well-organized product articulates a clear model, step by step, for performing action research and establishes the value to both practitioners and learners of engaging in reflective practices. It provides very helpful real-life examples of classroom-based practitioner research and recommendations for applying this method to one’s own teaching practice. The authors have created a useful way of illustrating the action research process as it really happens. This guide would be easy to use in a professional development setting and perhaps encourage teachers to try such a project with their colleagues.

It is also extremely helpful to practitioners who seek to go beyond casually reflecting on their practice to engage in a more systematic and collaborative process for identifying and implementing innovative practices or strategies that could enhance student learning and result in significant professional growth. The process is broken into steps that are stated in terms and procedures that practitioners can understand and apply.

The most useful features are:

  • A compelling rationale, supported by research project results, for conducting action research projects.
  • A step-by-step, concise model for action research.
  • An innovative, real-life action research example (the Turning Talk Into Learning Project), complete with teacher reflections and learner utterances that help the reader to visualize an action research project and its implementation.
  • In an uncluttered and easy-to-follow format, this resource describes the stages of action research in an adult education setting. Each of the four stages (Explore, Plan, Act, Analyze and Reflect) is illustrated with actual notes making the document a “living” resource that brings the implementation into clear focus.
  • There are examples of how to pose research questions and how general questions evolve to become more specific as the team members refine their thinking; these help to show how the process develops along the way. Later, there are direct quotes from teachers as they “discover” and reflect on changes they have made in their classes. Ways of collecting data are discussed.
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