Teacher Accountability & Performance

Here’s a follow up to some earlier articles I’ve shared on this blog around the issues of assessing teachers’ performance and how to create school climates and culture that promote excellence in teaching.

Earlier articles:
What Motivates Top Teachers
What Makes a Truly Great Teacher
Evaluating Teacher Performance

This is a new article that questions what is happening in the US right now on this front. There, the new approach is that teachers should be paid according to the results of their children in standardised exams. With, I think, lots of justification there’s a lot of criticism that this will see teachers simply teaching to the test and/ or will not. Cynics and those who doubt would say that, at least they would have some certainty that teachers would be teaching and some focus in their work is better than none.

This article shares an approach which is adopted and taken very seriously in Japan. I have read elsewhere of how seriously the ‘lesson study’ approach is taken. A teacher will put together a lesson which will be observed by (sometimes dozens of) his/ her peers. They will sometimes be the very best and most reputed teachers of that subject from all over the city, not just the observed teacher’s own school. After the lesson has been observed it is debated and discussed in great detail.

The article acknowledges that to introduce such an approach in American schools would require a fairly significant culture change and similar would be the case in India. Teachers would have to be willing to open up their work to expose it to the critique of their peers . They would need to be comfortable with sharing frank feedback with peers in a spirit of professional growth. They would also need to be willing to focus upon school-wide quality of teaching, looking beyond their own individual perspective.

What could make this attractive to teachers is that if the desire is to be for accountability then this is far more attractive and less intimidating than the alternatives.


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