Sunday, September 11, 2011

Teacher Evaluation

Discuss how teacher evaluation is "a golden opportunity" to improve teacher and student performance?

Teacher evaluation is a "golden opportunity" to improve teacher and student performance because it provides a forum to discuss best practices in teaching and learning. Continuous learning and growth should be the purposes of evaluative procedures, not just for remediation purposes, but for extending practices. Evaluation allows for the meta-cognition of teaching to help formulate the "why we do" behind the "what we do.". Through this exploration is the opportunity to address deficiencies and to celebrate achievements, and establish a process for growth.

As Anthony Alvarado said, teacher learning is the key to improving student achievement. Students learn from teachers, so the more teachers know then the more students can achieve from their interactions with their teacher.

According to Danielson and McGreal, traditional evaluation models are flawed. What then are the “best practices” for supervision and evaluation to improve student learning?

Traditional evaluation models are flawed because of the evaluative judgments inherent in the process. The judgments can be inaccurate, inconsistent and not based on evidence, and may differ depending upon who is evaluating. These traditional forms of evaluation also do not differentiate for varying levels of experience and expertise. Danielson and McGreal recommend a differentiated approach to evaluations: new teachers are evaluated using criteria specific to their needs for growth; experienced teachers using criteria to professional growth initiatives; and teachers in need of improvement using criteria that establishes core knowledge and skills required for effective teaching.

Effective Instruction

What does the literature describe as the components/domains of effective instruction?
Effective Instruction takes on many shapes and forms, but essentially it is practices inclusive of challenging curriculum that both respect and engage learners. According to Danielson, the domains of effective instruction include planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities. Planning and preparation encompass the foundational knowledge of curriculum, instructional practices and resources required for the lesson. The classroom environment domain encompasses the classroom management systems the develop a culture of learning. The instructional domain includes the active practices of communicating, engaging, assessing, and responding. The professional responsibilities domain includes the efforts towards continuous improvement and development of the class, the families, the school, and the profession through reflection, communication, and self-learning.

How do you know effective teaching when you see it?
To see effective teaching, first one must be knowledgeable of the curriculum, resources and relationships within the environment. from there, the evaluator can assess the instructional practices being employed and the reflective engagement of the learners within the context of the lesson. The four domains provide a framework for engaging learners in lessons where the taught-curriculum best aligns with the learned-curriculum, that translates into achievement based on the assessed curriculum. Through observing the process and building the relationships with the instructional staff, the evaluator can know effective learning because they can have appropriate knowledge of what is taught, see how it is taught, and reflect on the process based upon the results of formative and summative assessment to determine the learning.

In what way might the presence of teacher leaders require a differentiated approach to supervision?
As the authority of leaders moves along the continuum from bureaucratic, to personal, to professional, then to moral authority, the amount of differentiated supervision needed increases. At the bureaucratic level, all teachers are held to the same requirements, and evaluated accordingly in a directive supervision approach. At the personal level, there is an understanding and empathic approach that sees others more individually, thus taking into context the needs and strengths of the teacher in a directive informational approach. Further, at the professional level, not only are teachers viewed for their strengths and needs, but their ability to self-address those strengths and needs increases, requiring the evaluator to become more facilitator and collaborator within the professional collegial relationship. Lastly, approaching the moral level, the school community takes a flattened approach to the hierarchy of evaluation and supervision and looks not just to the classroom, but to the greater, non-directive, mission driven approach to the vocation.