Animo, ARAL: I Joined the 7th International Congress Action Research, Action Learning 2023

As a research enthusiast, one of the things I love to do is attending congress/ conference. I believe that publishing a study is not the end of the research writing process. A researcher must convey what he found out in his work with his fellow researchers. 

I have tried participating in two international conferences before the pandemic. I can say that I enjoyed those events. I was able to share my first paper and I met people who are experts in their respective fields. When COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to join online conferences. However, I became busy at work and I conducted a study during the final three months of 2021. I tried doing an action research for the first time and I was jubilant that I finished it. This academic output brought me to my recently attended activity. 

I was part of the 7th International Congress Action Research, Action Learning (ARAL) 2023 last May 19 to 21, 2023. It was held in a hybrid mode. Participants are allowed to join online and/ or in-person at the Hotel Benilde- Maison De La Salle. ARAL was established to promote action research. This is the product of collaboration of Lasallian Institute for Development and Educational Research (LIDER) and Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education (BAGCED) of De La Salle University- Manila. Even though I only participated online, it was surreal as I was included in an event of DLSU, a prestigious higher education institution in the country. 

Before reaching this milestone, I prepared much in submitting the research abstract. We all know how important this part in presenting a study. This is like you are auditioning to a talent show and you only have few minutes to get the nods of the judges. Days before the deadline, I read abstract samples intensively. I searched examples online and studied how the researchers constructed theirs. I wrote my own and I remember that I was sweating while doing it. I strictly followed the format given. I trusted the grammar correction suggestions of Microsoft Word and Grammarly. I read the text again and again. I submitted it on March 20, the first deadline set by the organizers. I really reviewed my submission to make sure that I did not miss everything. A day after I sent my abstract, the deadline was moved to March 30. With the additional days, I had overthinking about the outcome of my submission. 

Last April 12, ARAL posted on their Facebook page about the dates to remember. It was announced the notifications of reviews would happen on April 24 to 25. I prayed a lot that I will receive a good news. Those dates came and I was nervous checking my email account. I could not face the screen in a relaxed manner. I kept on checking my account for two days, I hadn't received a notification. That time, I thought of it as a sign that I get rejected. I was also thinking that there might be a traffic and eventually I will receive the news late at night. An email appeared on the night of April 26th and it was from them. I opened it anxiously. The result was highlighted in yellow. It was accepted as an oral presentation. I was elated how my attempt went through. I could not believe I made it. Being accepted is a validation and an indicator that I have research writing skills. 

After knowing the result, I immediately worked on my registration. I prepared my full paper and my payment as a participant. I targeted to attend in- person, but my allergic rhinitis was triggered a week before the event. So, I chose to attend online. After uploading my full paper, the next challenge I need to hurdle was the recording of my presentation. I prepared my slides and recorded my video from 5 to 6:30 AM of May 17, two days before the start of the research congress. I originally planned to record the night of 16th but there was a videoke session near our compound. I woke up at 4 AM to prepare myself. Good thing that I have my headset making my voice heard. The roosters did not cackle much. 

Based on the program sent to my email account, I was slated to talk on the first day. All online presenters were scheduled on the 19th. After the opening part of the program, we were asked to go to the different breakout rooms. There were four presenters in our room and I was the last to present. The oral presentation started at 10 AM. I struggled connecting to the Internet. I was only using mobile hotspot. There were times I got disconnected. The Internet signal became stable when it was my turn. I answered two questions of the facilitator and I was able to answer them even I feel tensed. 

The research congress had notable plenary speakers. They were excellent in their presentation. I enjoyed the talk of Dr. Mary Brydon- Miller. Her topic was "Promoting Climate Change Awareness and Action Across the Curriculum: An Educational Action Research Approach". She mentioned about participatory action research, a term I met several years ago and I want to perform one in the future. The activity was fruitful and I learned a lot. I am excited to apply them in my research writing. 

ARAL 2023 gave me a different research experience. I hope I can attend another congress in- person. Thank you, ARAL. 

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