Dawn is Here: A New Day for Educators

No single approach will be effective in every situation, for each set of instructional purposes, or with all individuals or groups of students. These choices and decisions represent the heart of professionalism.

(Danielson, 2007, p. 24)

Teaching is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. We can construct a system that gives teachers the latitude to attempt multiple approaches to teaching and learning based on the needs of the school, their classroom and students.

Allowing flexibility and abandoning false assumptions doesn't mean turning teaching into a free-for-all with no structure. Instead, the new system is built on a few broad assumptions.

In the previous chapter we explored the faulty assumptions of our current system. In this chapter we will explore what the new assumptions could entail and how those new assumptions can influence more impactful behaviors demonstrated by principals and teachers.

Falling Between Two Purposes

As we saw in Chapter 4, the two purposes consistently stated for teacher evaluations are summative (accountability) and formative (professional learning). School leaders are trapped between these two purposes (LiIlejord & Borte, 2019). Why do many teacher evaluation systems fail to achieve this dual purpose?

Broad Assumptions of Teacher Efficacy

Motivation

Teachers are intrinsically motivated to help students

Teamwork

Educators solve problems with teamwork

Collective Efficacy

Educators are interdependent^ linked to the success of the organization

Context

The local school culture, community needs, institutional knowledge and cultural proficiency are prioritized in the organizational objectives and goals

Collective Inquiry

Educators have processes that influence critical examination of practice

Collaboration

Educators strategize root causes and intervene to meet goals and objectives

Figure 5.1 Broad assumptions of teacher efficacy

Li I lejorcl and Borte have presented findings and assertions from a metaanalysis of 73 studies, to develop guidelines and recommendations for teacher evaluation. The authors have cited relevant research to address the foundational confusion that educators have been met with through policy, implementation and assumptions. Jones et al. (2019) also concluded that the two school reform efforts, collaborative teaching and teacher evaluation, are at odds with each other and that a collaborative form of evaluation should be researched and implemented.

The question remains as to why teacher evaluation is stuck between accountability and promoting teachers' professional learning. As we saw in Chapter 1, teacher evaluation rubrics in the United States are classroomheavy. This is at odds with collaborative school reforms. Current rubrics emphasize and prioritize the behaviors, actions and strategies used in the moment, during the lesson, by the teacher to the students. The teacher's actions during the lesson are the focus of evaluation documents—the equivalent of watching a basketball player shoot a free throw and then making an overall judgement about their basketball playing ability. If basketball coaches operated like that, they would not win many games. We have reduced our profession to a setof narrowly defined skills. Policymakers have reduced the need for principals and teachers to act as professionals, at least in the context of teacher evaluations.

 
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