Opening up thinking about education today for tomorrow - Imagining possibilities and solutions

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Recognising and Measuring Teaching Effectiveness

One of the areas of responsibility for my team is building capacity of teachers across the system. 
To support our learning as a team in doing our work I have established a work blog that is used to share and develop thinking and ideas related to the work of the Professional Leadership and Development Unit of the Catholic Education Office Sydney.
I posted the following for members of the team to engage with and thought that it may be worth sharing more widely.
There is currently some serious discussion and thinking being put into the connection between teachers' pay, the quality of teaching and student performance. (See Sydney Morning Herald 17/03/2011)
Much has been made of the 2007 McKinsey Report, How the world's best performing school systems come out on top, as has been made of Hattie's 2008 work, Visible Learning particularly concerning teachers and what they do.
This research has often been reduced to a simplistic mantra: "It is what teachers do that matters for students and their learning."
One of the areas that is on our agenda is building the capacity of teachers: those graduate teachers who are commencing their careers, but also experienced teachers who wish to engage with the higher level professional standards for teaching.
Linked with this are a number of issues:
  1. What works in developing the early career teacher? (Types of induction? Use of mentors? Reflective practice?)
  2. Capacity of supervisor in recognising teaching standards in practice? (Use of standards? Understanding standards? Own practice? Who should be a supervisor?)
  3. Locating accreditation processes into a career long learning framework rather than a compliance exercise.
  4. Developing higher level skill in teachers to benefit the profession.
Linda Darling-Hammond poses a challenge of getting a good teacher into every classroom. Defining "good" and recognising "good" in practice is a challenge.
If we are to lead the thinking about building the capacity of teachers we need to address the question of building capacity from what towards what; and in what context and for what purpose.
Simon Breakspear earlier this year posted the following on his blog:
There is some increasingly interesting research coming out of the States which is seeking to investigate the ‘black box’ of successful schools – what do effective teachers do?
Harvard’s Tom Kane backed by Gates Foundation funding is conducting one of the most remarkable projects yet. Launched in the fall of 2009, the Measures of Effective Teaching Project is the largest effort of its kind to collect video, student perceptions, and assessments of student achievement and teacher knowledge. The project’s goal is to learn what effective teaching looks like.
The website for Measures of Effective Teaching is worth having a look at.
Your thoughts and experiences would be welcomed.

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