Action Research


Research problem

While in my practicum class, I noticed that my grade 1 student who issix years old had a problem. The student’s problem was that henever talks to anyone while at school including the teacher and hisfriends in class. Hamdan never talks to anyone even during break timeand any free time. I decided to monitor his twin brother who is inthe same category and found out that he was fine (Black, 2009). Basedon findings and literature review I decided to mark Hamdan and make afollow up how he behaves at home and discovered that at home he wasokay, and he regularly talked therefore I found out that he onlymaintained that behavior when he was at school. After seeing thatthis problem only exists in the school, I began planning to evaluatethe situation with an aim of coming up with the particular causes ofthis issue. I decided to collect information on Hamdan’sdevelopmental history, the beginning of this problem and his schoolachievement.

I applied some strategies which included observing what was workingwell and what needed improvement in the class and at school ingeneral so as Hamdan may improve. I also opted to keep and maintain areflective journal of the things performed by Hamdan, which at schoolincluding his behavior and the relationship with his friends outsideschool. I decided to review the literature materials that exist aboutpsychological disorders related to the existing problem. The researchproblem topics were narrowed down to specific questions whichincluded what issues lead to a child to select where to talk? Whatmay solve this issue? Later I set up steps to follow leading to myconclusions and findings. Through this, I was able to plan andorganize ways of achieving my primary goal in my research to end uphelping Hamdan (Lopez &ampSnyder, 2009). I observed that his failureto talk affected him significantly in his performance due to failureto participate in discussions and failing to ask the question inclass.


I developed a plan to take action to collect data with an aim ofgetting solutions and causes to the problem. I planned to use thefollowing data collecting tools classroom observation, attituderating, focus group interviews and student self-assessments. Throughobservations, I made notes about Hamdan and the behaviors andincidences that make Hamdan quiet when at school. Throughinterviewing him, he was not in a position to explain about himself.The tools were selected wisely so as to protect Hamdan from harm orfrom having fear due to the study being conducted on him. I plannedfor to undertake my research for one month. I set the methods fordata collection, and the observations had to be recorded after theyare discovered.

To facilitate my study I prepared a consent form which I was tofollow throughout my research which was supposed to range from threeto four weeks. I also sought for the approval for the collection ofmy data from the head of the school in which I was performing mypracticum. I prepared an observation sheet which was to help me inrecording my comments on the daily basis both at school and outsideschool since it was important to compare the incidences inside andoutside school. I prepared some interview questions which I was toask Hamdan’s brother, Hamdan himself. These interview questionswere both open and closed. I prepared a schedule to facilitate me inconducting my observations at different times whereby the commentswere to be carried out without Hamdan being aware. I had to set timeduring the weekends to go and monitor Hamdan outside.

I scheduled to use my colleague teacher who was a neighbor to Hamdanto help me in making observations about him outside a school for thepurpose of comparison. I also used his twin brother to inform meabout the status of Hamdan at home for one month on a daily basis(Lopez &ampSnyder, 2009). I planned to analyze the data one monthafter which I decided to visit existing scientists and review booksthat contain and explain similar problems. I was to evaluate myresearch and analyze my findings and visit a psychologist and help mefind out ways of helping Hamdan hence making his stay at schoolpeaceful and of great importance by making him social when at school(Black, 2009).


I made my observations according to my plan. I made notes duringschool hours, and my notes originated from my observations which Iconducted three times a week. The comments were made systematically.I made observations and recorded them immediately after observingthem avoid forgetting important things (Philips, 2009). My colleagueteacher helps me to collect data through observations outside schoolsduring the time which I was busy. The teacher handed me theobservation data immediately after the comments were made. I compiledthe data received from the master and stored them to await analysis.Observations inside and outside were made without the knowledge ofHamdan because if he would be aware, then he would not be at hisnormal state when the comments were being made hence the data gainedwould not be reliable. The observations were made three days a weekfor one month as planned.

The comments proceeded accurately and worked as planned apart fromtwo days when the comments were not made because Hamdan was absentfrom school due to illness although his absence from school did nothave a significant effect on the days planned for the research wereincreased by two to cater for the days when he was out of school(Black, 2009). The observations at school involved how he reacted andwhen in class and also when out of class during break time. Thecomments were made with Hamdan’s incidences with teachers and withother students. Outside school, observations were made when Hamdan’sreactions and ability to talk when at home when playing with otherchildren, when communicating with his twin brother and whencommunicating with his parents and the observations were recorded inthe observation form. The parents were not made aware since it was aschool issue.

I conducted an interview with Hamdan. After getting my consentapproved by the school principal, I went ahead to question him. Icalled him to my office and talked to him in a friendly manner. Wesat down, and I interviewed him using an audiotape to record hiswords. He looked nervous to a point of talking in a stammering way. Inoted some of his points in a form with an aim of analyzing themlater. I noted his impressions and behavior during the interview. Ihad to relax my moods and act in a loving manner for the purpose ofmaking him express himself freely. In the beginning, he seemed totalk in fear but before the end, he changed and was able to expresshimself freely. The audiotape was placed in a position whereby hecould not see it because this would make him be in fear if hediscovered that he was being recorded. After the interview, I thankedhim for his participation, devotion and time.

I also conducted an interview with Hamdan’s twin brother to seewhether they had the similar qualities and behaviors. His brother wasalways charming, and he possessed a desirable behavior and heanswered all the questions in a pleasant manner (Philips, 2009). Heexplained all the issues perfectly unlike Hamdan, who was shy. Theywere seen to have similar characteristics, but the only differencewas that Hamdan never liked talking when at school. His brother wasseen to be clear in speech and also an audiotape was used to recordhis voice for comparison during the analysis of the data at the finalstage (Black, 2009).

Data Analysis

After implementing my data collection plan, I acted and aftercollecting the data for one month and recording my observations andmy findings, I settled to analyze the data and see whether I couldend up getting the primary cause of Hamdan’s silence while atschool. The following step was to analyze the collected data. Thedata collected through interview was analyzed through thetranscription of the audiotaped interview using a word document so asto receive the vital information in word format. I also read theinterview transcripts and made notes on the margins so as to arriveat the point of research. I created coding categories scheme throughreading the interviews (Black, 2009). I used these types for thepurpose of grouping information which provides ideas that aresimilar. The behavior of Hamdan was also analyzed.

After I had analyzed the data, I found out that Hamdan changes hisattitude when at school whereby he was not talking to anyone inschool. This behavior was not the same when at home. When at home hewas seen to be social and interacted with other people freely and sothis behavior was observed to originate from school. Through aninterview, it was seen that he had fear regarding those in authoritymore so the teachers and prefects. When asked about his concerns atschool he answered that he fears being punished and being criticized.When asked the kind of freedom he experiences at home and in school,he replied that at home he feels free because no fear of criticismand no harsh punishment(Lopez &ampSnyder, 2009). He said that athome he does not fear his parents but at school he fears the teachersand complains that at school the teachers are harsh and unfriendly.He also said that his classmates do not so love, and so he is alwaysafter keeping them away.

Hamdan said that in class he fears being punished for answeringquestions wrongly like he did when he once answered a question wrongand was punished for that. Since that time he decided to stay quiet.When his parents were interviewed, they said that their child wasalways happy and free at home whereby he was social to everyone athome, and he communicated well with everyone and played happily withother children. The research found that this behavior was changingfrom school to home and from home to school (Delpit, 2006). Thishighly signified that the central issue leading to this behavior washighly related to the school setting and so as to correct this, thechange was to start from school.

Through my research, I found out that most typical children haveno difficulty while expressing themselves although a few of them arereluctant to speak in some settings like Hamdan. I observed that thisis highly possible to take place during the early school years andmost likely appearing in school at the age of five years and sevenyears (Philips, 2009). A variation of this results and behaviorhappens in few children who do communicate their wishes and thoughts.I concluded that from research a small percentage of children ofthose seen in the mental health setting and even in typical classroomsettings communicate in only one setting and not in others. Iobserved that failure of Hamdan to talk during lessons had an effecton his academic and social development around the school setting.This selective mutism was as a result of the dislike of the schooland lack of comfort due to the treatment of students by teachers.Since no family member had such a disorder.

It was found out that this was not a personality disorder becausethe personality disorder is built during adolescence. Also, this wasobserved that in the early years of school he was good with excellentcommunication skills, and he used to communicate perfectly before hetransferred to the current school. He did not start this behaviorbefore beginning school, and also, this behavior was not evidentduring his preschool and day care.

Reflection and sharing

In the process of data collection, I faced some challenges with theobservations. This is because during the research I was alsoperforming my teaching practicum and so it was impossible for mi tofollow Hamdan always. Sometimes he was absent from school so I couldnot make my observations. Sometimes I was concerned with otherstudents. Therefore, I could not go to observe him always and due tothis am sure I missed important information. I am confident thatinterviewing him provided me with information which is more preciseand accurate (Delpit, 2006). This information was precious for myresearch. I faced a change in making my observations outside theschool because at times I was committed at home and the colleagueteacher did not have exactly what I had in mind so am sure that whathe presented was through shallow observations, unlike my observationsthat were more detailed.

I decided to share my findings with the school principal since it wascrucial for the survival of Hamdan in school. Through sharing theresults, it would be possible for the principle to come up withstrategies for making him settled and free at school because withthis kind of life he would not be in a position to undertake hisstudies in the required way. Informing the findings to other teacherswas imperative because it was right to make them aware of pupil forthem to be in a position to provide a follow-up activity hencemonitoring his behavior at school. This will significantly contributepositively to his future studies and lifestyle (Black, 2009).


Black, C. (2009). It will never happen to me: Growing up withaddiction as youngsters, adolescents, adults. HazeldenPublishing.

Delpit, L. D. (2006). Other people`s children: Cultural conflictin the classroom. The New Press.

Lopez, S. J., &amp Snyder, C. R. (Eds.).(2009). The Oxfordhandbook of positive psychology.Oxford University Press.

Philips, S. U. (2009). Participant structures and communicativecompetence: Warm Springs children in community and classroom.