BRIDGING THE GAP: Researching Teaching in Higher Education: Our Paths to Surrender is a collection of articles on action research in the classroom.
Edited by Fatimah Hashim, it offers a glimpse of how academics give up their ingrained beliefs about teaching and learning as they involve themselves in action research.
Unlike many other books on local education in the market, this publication is replete with practical examples that academics can apply to their own teaching.
Covering subjects such as Medicine, Dentistry, Language, Economics and Education, Researching Teaching in Higher Education gives the reader a taste of the problems faced and solutions devised by academics as they designed and carried out action research.
The authors attended a series of workshops on action research and the chapters cover their experience in putting it into practice.
Chapters include Jessie Rubrico's Going Facebook! Action Research in Perspective; Y. M. Ngeow's No Learner Left Behind -- Engaging Low Achievers Through Powerful Sensors, Concerning Sensibility and Sensitivity; and R. K. Lalwani's Using Action Research and Conversations on Practice to Improve Engineering Teaching.
There is much to interest teachers and teacher educators.
One of the strongest impressions a reader will get is the idea that they are not alone in dealing with uncertainty and doubt in going about teaching.
As the Malaysian education system now requires teachers to become researchers in improving their practice, this book is a timely reference as it reveals how academics have managed to bridge the gap between belief and practice.
The chapter authors show in some detail how they deal with the challenges of reflection, action and evaluation called for by action research and how the results or lack of the same can be explained.
What is refreshing is that the authors are unafraid to admit their mistakes, in the true spirit of action research.
This compilation underscores the need for interdisciplinary collaboration and professional networking among educators so that the findings and research in one field can be applied to enrich and inform another.
Rohana Othman from the Faculty of Accountancy and Zainab Mohd Noor from the Faculty of Education, both in Universiti Teknologi MARA, show this in the chapter titled Answering the Cry for Help of Undergraduates in Theory-based Courses, where they test their assumptions about student learning in theory-based courses.
Through student focus groups and analysis of the students' reflective journals, the authors came up with five factors contributing to the effectiveness of learning accounting theory, namely lecturers' approach, teamwork, preferred learning styles, communication and positive thinking.
What emerges from this book is not only a picture of the concerns of academics but also those of students.
Some chapters raise further questions regarding the need for university students to develop some subskills of critical thinking and lecturers to understand the diversity of learning styles of their students.
Although targeted at the higher education practitioner, many of the ideas in this book can be applied to the school and college setting.
In fact, the readership might also be extended to managers and trainers.
The book, published by Pearson, costs RM42. For more information, contact the Scholarly Publications & Support Unit, University of Malaya call 03-7967-7812, fax 03-7967-7813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org