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An Enquiry into how students in one Croatian school are using action research to improve their own and others' learning

Researchers: Branko Bognar with Marica Zovko, the class teacher



Student interview transcript
based on a video recording
recorded on 3 February 2004

Branko: First I would like to commend you on your endeavors to engage in action research. I also must say that your teacher, Mrs Vesna, along with several other teachers is also involved in action research, and we are very interested in finding out how you, our young friends, are coping with the same problems as we are. In other words, you are trying to improve something in your life. Well tell me this, I am interested if you have an answer: Why do some of you want to get involved in action research? Why did you decide to research something?

Girl: Well, I decided to do it because this way I know that I will maybe improve myself and.For instance now with my "family" (topic of her
action research), I can.When I finalize my "family", I wont stop, I'll keep on doing everything else. I want to improve because of that.

Branko: Interesting. Here, this boy wanted to say something.

Boy: Well, through my research "games and fun" I want to improve my friendship with my friends through game and fun.

Branko: Hm. And you?

Girl: Well, I just wanted to say that I simply want some situations in my family.I don't know, they keep telling me "Valentina, you don't do
anything, look how lazy she is." I want them to see as well that I am doing something.

Branko: GO ahead.

Girl: I want to entertain people, so they can be happy too.

Branko: Ok, you want others to be happy as well. Good.

Girl: Well I think that this research makes some people happy, and some are more curious, the ones who would like to study it.

Branko: Hm, interesting. Go ahead.

Girl: I want others to.I want to be a good friend to them and to lend, and not to be so stingy and evil towards them.

Branko: Tell me, were you a good friend before this research as well?

Girl: Yes.

Branko: Then why did you decide.What do you mean improve? Does that mean that you were not a good friend or that you can be an even better friend?

Girl: Well I.that I can be a better friend.

Branko: Good. Go ahead.

Girl: Well I really like the fact that I can improve my friendship, and there, I like it a lot.

Branko: Good. Go ahead.

Girl: Me and Marinela don't get along too good. I wanted to improve us and for us to get along better because we used to argue all the time.

Branko: Interesting. Go ahead.

Girl: I used to be friends only with Anica. But I figured out that I can improve our friendship even better, so I went into research.

Branko: Interesting. What about the few boys who decided not to do research. can you share some thoughts? In other words, you have the right and the ability, since nobody should be forced into doing it, but if you could explain what did. why weren't you interested in action
research? Would you like to answer me?

Marica: Here, Kruno.

Branko: Are you doing action research?

Boy: No. Because it didn't start off well.

Branko: What do you mean it did not start of well?

Boy: Well, I don't know. I didn't really follow the plan and stuff.

Branko: Ok. Good. Interesting

Marica: And tell me, did you have a plan?

Boy: Yes.

Branko: You did.

Branko: And would you maybe like to answer? What is your name?

Boy: Dario.

Branko: Do you want to say something? Why did you give up?

Boy: I don't want to say.

Branko: What about the boy behind you?

Boy: I am doing it.

Branko: You are doing it. And you behind him?

Boy: I am doing it.

Branko: You are doing it to. I must have made a mistake.

Marica: Antun, I must speak for Antun. Antun was sick. And at the beginning, hard working, he overcame everything. Then he came later
on.and Antun wrote something and Antun needs help to start off.

Branko: Good. And could you do this, if you needed to explain to, let's say teacher Vesna's students, what action research is, how would you ,
in the most simple way, explain this to them? Here, would you like to tell us?

Boy: Well it is a research in which you want to, I don't know, research or improve something, something in your life, it doesn't have
to be in your life, you just want to find out something about it.

Branko: Good. Go ahead. How would you explain it?

Girl: It is improving something important in your life.

Branko: Good. And how, if they were to ask, how are you going about this
research now?

Girl: I make a plan and decide that according to the plan I will try
to improve it.

Branko: And how do you know if have improved something?

Girl: Well somebody can confirm this through an interview. To questions somebody whether it has improved. Or record it on tape.

Branko: Good.

Girl: Simply find a critical friend, develop a questionnaire or an interview. I mean, have him watch.

Branko: You just said a critical friend. What do you mean by a critical friend?

Girl: I already said that he tells you what you haven't done too good, what you can do better, not just commend you: "Oh that's great, oh
that's wonderful".

Branko: Good. Go ahead. Did you want to say something?

Girl: A critical friend is always with you and he will always give you, he will always tell you what is missing or what not to do and what
to do, he always says.

Boy: It is a friend who gives you advice about the things you didn't do right in your plan and the things that you did and what you could

Branko: Good. Thank you. Did somebody else want to say something?

Branko: Well tell me are you, when somebody tells you. for instance someone tells you that something is not good, that you didn't do
something right, gives you some kind of remark, criticism, how do you feel? Are you angry with the critical friend of yours or are you glad
that he said that to you?

Girl: No, because if there was something missing, he was supposed to tell me that because I chose him to tell me such things.

Branko: Go ahead, did you want to say something?

Boy: Well I am glad that he tells me that because we have to know something about ourselves also, to gather some information.

Branko: Good. Did you want to say something?

Boy: Well I don't get mad if he tells me that something is wrong. I don't get mad for that.

Branko: Is there anybody who did not feel too comfortable?

Girl: Me. I mean, to me, when they say it, I feel sort of regretful, but I still take it because I know that sometimes I have to face
consequences in life.

Branko: Good. And tell me, when you finish with a certain part of your performance, your activities and when you complete a certain plan of
yours, what will you do after that?

Girl: Start with new plans.

Branko: How will you start with a new plan?

Girl: Well the same way we did with the first one. I will make a plan and start researching again.

Branko: Will it be related to what you have previously done or will it be something completely different?

Girl: It can completely different or it can be something related.

Branko: If it was related with your previous work, how will you previous work help you?

Girl: Well it will help with the plan. The way I did it, the way my family reacted, that way I'll be able to see how I will develop my plan,
how I can act.

Branko: Good. What did you want to say?

Girl: Nothing.

Branko: You?

Boy: The plan that we made earlier, with the other one when we complete it, we can use it to see what was wrong with it, what was

Branko: Ok, what wasn't right with the plan?

Boy: Yes, and then add the other one.

Branko: Notice some other problems. Right?

Branko: Yes. Well, I think that this is a good point of view. Besides that, it is also important for you to learn something out of your
research. What can you learn from your research?

Girl: That we don't have to be stingy, that we don't have to act mean and many other things.

Branko: Go ahead, the girl in the back.

Girl: Well, we don't have to act you know, like, not lend them anything, not to reveal their secrets and to act polite.

Branko: Good. Go ahead.

Girl: That we can be better.

Branko: Ok, well good, that was sort of a general statement, but nice.

Boy: That we can always improve something in our lives which we were not good at.

Breanko: In other words, there is always some way. Great. Nice. And tell me, can you maybe make some sort of a report, so we can inform
others about what you have learned? For instance, something we could send to teacher Vesna and her students, so that they can find out
something from it? Could you do that? How would you go about doing it? Something that you have learned from your research? What could you do?

Girl: Well we could send them some messages in which we could prove to them that they can do it too.

Branko: And what about you here, your group believes that you have done everything right and that you wrote down everything honestly, but what if you send me some texts, or to someone else, some other students from a different group, and they say that they really don't completely
believe what you wrote. Would you be mad at them?

All: No.

Branko: What then?

Girl: I would cry if they didn't believe me.

Branko: Would you try to give some additional explanation, what would you do?

Gril: I would tell them, if they don't believe me, they should come see it for themselves.

Girl: Let them start doing research so they can realize and they will
start to believe that it is possible.

Branko: But what if they say that they can't see what really happened from what you have written. What would you do then? Your wrote down
something, and they didn't understand what you wanted to accomplish. How would you help the understand, without them having to come over here?

Girl: Well we would explain it to them.

Branko: Good.

Girl: Get them more familiar with our research.

Branko: How?

Girl: .as a whole.

Branko: Give more details about the research. Go ahead.

Girl: I would want to explain as much as I can and then if they still don't (believe), then I would do it all over again.

Branko: Good. Well I can tell you that what you are doing is very influential, for me as well. I don't know how teacher Vesna..

Vesna: For me as well.

Branko: .likes it? It would be good if you tried to learn well with your teacher how to actualize action research, and to try to help other
children with it. Would you like that?

All: Yes.

Branko: If you make it, by the end of the school year. If not, then your teacher will convey your experiences, so will I. I have some interesting
news. I will write about your work to certain people who live outside of our homeland - in England. They are very interested in it. One
university professor (Sarah Fletcher) asked me whether some students performed action research here, and I said yes.

Marica: And that is you.

Branko: Well then, if you agree, I will send her maybe your photos and some things that you said...

All: We agree.

Branko: And will let you teacher know if the respond. OK?

All: Yes.

Branko: Good. Thank you.

Marica: Thank you. I must also say that I am impressed with your answers. Actually, the mature and intelligent ways you think about
certain things.

Somebody: Like grown-ups.

Marica: On the other hand, our guests don't know that you have been sitting here over an hour.

Branko: Yes. Well, if you agree, I would end this here.

Marica: Yes, yes.



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