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Evaluation for the Purpose of Improvement? What an Idea!

flickr user zcreem

One of the most frustrating aspects of the recent teacher-blaming, test-pushing, charter-happy “reform” effort to me is the complete lack of emphasis on improving the work of teachers.  That’s why I was so excited to read Larry Ferlazzo’s recent piece on the videotaping and formative assessment going on at his school.  He writes:

Our school, led by principal Ted Appel, has begun having Kelly Young, an extraordinarily talented consultant on instructional strategies who we have been working with for years, videotape our lessons (I’ve written much about Kelly in this blog). He then meets with us to review an edited version of the tape, with us initially giving our own critique and reflections followed by his comments. This process is entirely outside of the official evaluation process, and is focused on helping teachers improve their craft.

This is mind-blowingly great stuff, isn’t it?  So, what would it take for something similar to happen in your building?  If you are a school leader, what is keeping you from putting this type of tool in the hands of your teachers?

2 thoughts on “Evaluation for the Purpose of Improvement? What an Idea!

  1. Our board runs a program called Side by Side, a program that puts new teachers with an experienced mentor. They then make available workshops on Instructional Strategies, Having Hard Conversations, etc. One of the benefits of the Side by Side program is you have supply days available for you and your mentee to use at your discretion.
    With the low cost and ease of use of Flip video cameras, there’s really nothing stopping us from planning a specific instructional strategy focus, videotaping our lessons, and then analyzing them together. In the past, I think teachers felt vulnerable about exposing themselves to consultants who might report weaknesses to administrators, but now that teachers can do it all themselves, I think you’ll see this tool being used more and more often.

    1. Janice,
      What a fantastic program! Teacher-to-teacher observation has the most potential for individual growth, and the use of pocket video cameras makes that really easy to do. Thanks for sharing.

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