Philosophies and Guiding Concepts

Connecting Appraisal with Professional Learning, Reflection and Teacher Growth.

 

Guiding Concepts

In developing this self-review we have endeavoured to create a set of items that address the key challenges of a teaching professional’s to view content sources and attributions, refer to our editorial policy. the following adverse reactions are  work; that can operate within guidelines established by the New Zealand Ministry of Education; that are applicable to the learning environment; and which are firmly based on established conceptual frameworks (ways of thinking about a topic). The nature of the work we do at InterLEAD means that, over the years, we have had opportunity to examine various conceptual frameworks, to incorporate them in our teaching and consulting, and to get feedback on their practical value from teachers and leaders. Outlined below are some of the key ‘Guiding Concepts’ upon which the review items are based.

Our Philosophy

Humans have yet to invent a tool that cannot be misused. The hammer can be used skillfully to cheapest prices pharmacy.mb. The same outcomes are possible with a management tool like this. We don’t think people should stop manufacturing hammers because some use them maliciously. And even though we realise that some people adopt abrasive or abusive approaches to appraisal and review, we don’t think that should stop us from developing tools that good teachers and leaders can use to promote professional development.

Outlined below are some of the management principles we hope you will apply when using this review tool to build capability within your learning organisation.

This is Not a Test: Because we use tests so often in education, you might be tempted to treat the feedback given in the review as if it was a mark for a test. That is not the case. With tests, typically the best children in the class will consistently score high marks. If you have a history of being a “good student” you might expect highly positive feedback in each area. That will not be the case here. In some areas, such as the section on Competencies, a person would need to be gifted to achieve a high score in one of the areas. We doubt that anyone will score highly in all four areas considered: that would not truly reflect the nature of competencies and giftedness.

Taking a Long Term View: This tool is designed to be used throughout your career. Beginning teachers may find they get ‘Novice’ ratings in most of the areas of Teaching Practice. That would be an accurate reflection of where they are in their professional development. They have years of development ahead of them. Plans based on the feedback provided need to reflect this reality. It takes years to develop mastery. When making developmental plans on the basis of the feedback given, aim to be realistic and focused. Think about the “next step” that needs to be taken. Attempting to lift capability across the board would be trying to do the impossible.

Developmental Tool: Sometimes we forget that adults are learners too. We think they should automatically be experts at everything. Of course this isn’t so. One isn’t born a fully capable teaching professional. Even ‘child prodigies’ have to work hard to develop their talent. So, the review process is not one of ‘command and control’: demanding that certain ratings are achieved and disciplining those who fall short of arbitrary standards that have been set. Rather, feedback is used developmentally: it is the basis for planning further learning and professional growth.

Appreciation: Development works best when people appreciate and build on strengths. Not every teacher has the same strengths. Not all deficiencies need be of real concern. A child will encounter many teachers: you don’t have to do everything. You will make a greater impact by being extraordinary at some things. Many people set developmental goals by default. They just work on their area of greatest weakness. They work on that until it is ‘OK’, then shift to the next greatest weakness. At its best, this is a recipe for mediocrity. Aim to use the feedback to identify your areas of strengths. How could you use these more fully? What currently prevents you from using your strengths effectively? What could become another strength?

Building Developmental Partners: On one’s own it is easy to lose sight of the purpose of feedback. You might start to focus on deficiencies, treat the review as a test, or take a short-term view. What can help? Having a developmental partner—a trusted colleague—who can help you make sense of the feedback, check the reasonableness of your plans, and offer an appropriate level of challenge and support. When you find a developmental partner who you know is interested in your professional development, who speaks to you openly about your developmental needs, and who you trust, treat this person as a treasure. Make it easy for them to give you the feedback you need by asking for it, and ask repeatedly if necessary.

Overview of Results Ratings and Levels of Capability

The self review process is designed to produce rich data that can help you with on-going professional development. Items and ratings are specifically designed to reflect the levels of capability that you are showing across a wide variety of areas. We have designed the feedback around 4 levels of capability that are discussed in literature on Adult Learning and Development.

  • Novice: While novices may have been introduced to the area of concern, and may have developed some ability to talk about the subject using appropriate vocabulary, they can only perform the most basic operations. They may know what the process is, but do not know how to do it. Even the most experienced teacher will be a novice in regard to some aspect of teaching practice.
  • Capable: Capable people are those who have started to perform basic operations associated with the subject, but are not yet ‘skilled’. They have to think carefully about what they are doing at each step. Usually they can reliably produce desired results, as long as conditions are favourable (e.g. they are not required to do something else at the same time) or they are able to refer to some with experience when things get tricky. They know what they are doing.
  • Proficient: People who are proficient have practiced the skill to the point where they can perform the operations in a relaxed state. With proficiency, people know why they do various elements of the work, so they can adjust what they do when conditions change or complexity in the environment increases.
  • Masterful: People have obtained mastery when they have the subject deeply embedded in their personal practice. They intuitively sense when to use the skills associated with the subject and display them with a degree of “artistic flair”. Others, including those who are proficient, recognise their depth of understanding and turn to them for advice when confronted with difficult challenges.

 

Teaching Practice (The Classroom)

The Big Four is the framework for improving instructional practice developed by the University of Kansas Centre for Research and Learning. The Big Four are about focussing teachers’ attention on high yielding teaching practices. More specifically it’s about asking teachers to:

  • Encourage Positive Behaviour
  • Focus on Essential Content
  • Increase Learning through effective Instruction; and
  • Increase Child Motivation through Formative Assessment

The Big Four also provide a useful framework for the provision of tailored professional development and learning for teachers. In sequence each of the Big Four provides the typical developmental pathway teachers take across their careers. Typically a novice teacher initially focuses on gaining control in the classroom or learning environment and reinforcing positive behaviour. Once achieved the next focus becomes deepening knowledge and understanding of essential content (Curriculum) and then in sequence, developing effective instruction before typically looking at increasing children’s motivation through Formative Assessment.

This Self Review Instrument is designed to generate feedback across all of the Big Four areas. As teachers and leaders take part in developmental conversations based on this feedback, they will be able to discuss where to focus developmental efforts in the context of individual teachers’ careers.
The Big Four Areas are;

  • Classroom/Learning Environment Management
  • Content Knowledge
  • Instructional Practice
  • Formative Assessment

There are 10 questions under each topic. A total of 40 questions. These questions are designed to be answered by the Appraisee and Appraisor only.

 

Key Competencies

We then thought it important to assess whether teachers were modelling the Key Competencies ( or Capabilities ) within your organisation. We hope to encourage teachers and leaders to see the direct connection between how they model these competencies personally and the degree to which learners within the organisation develop them.

Work on Adult Competencies (capabilities) by Adult Education expert Douglas Hall, has encouraged us to apply four of these competencies to the review of adults, these are;

  • Thinking
  • Relating to Others
  • Managing Self
  • Participating and Contributing
  • There are 5 questions per topic and these can be contributed to by; colleagues, management, the principal, parents or children… you choose!

 

Teacher Criteria

We also wanted to make sure this Self Review provided data to help baseline, and subsequently benchmark, how each teacher is performing against the 12 Teacher Criteria as ratified by the Teachers Council in 2010.

We have created a matrix that shows how each of the 40 questions answered in the 4 Key Areas relates to each of the 12 Teacher Criteria. We wanted to make sure the data gathered was applicable for use in Teacher Registration.

 

Management Responsibilities

Finally we wanted a way for Management Unit Holders to gain feedback. Robert Fritz, Author of Path of Least Resistance, has outlined the power of the Tension – Resolution process in guiding Behavior. This process is based around 3 stages;

  • Establishing a vision of a desired result
  • Assessing current reality
  • Working systematically to close the gap between the two

After comparison of Fritz’s work to other management experts such as Peter Drucker, Walter Mahler and others, we found that the above three point process needs to be applied with a clear focus on results that matter and that managers have a responsibility to shape the emotional environment people work in, so that people have the resources and support they need to deal with the tension involved in performance.

Our Management Feedback Questions focus on the points outlined above.