Date of Award

4-2019

Rights

© 2019 Cheryl L. Lang

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

William Boozang

Second Advisor

Jennie Calnan

Third Advisor

Patrick Hartnett

Abstract

Today, across the United States of America, ongoing efforts are underway to transform the teacher evaluation system into a useful and manageable tool for improving teaching and learning in the classrooms. Currently, school districts in Maine are required to implement teacher observation and evaluation systems as a method of improving instructional practices in the classrooms. According to Mezirow’s adult learning theory, adults learn best when the learning fits into their frame of reference that has been long cultivated through maturity into adulthood, and they become invested in what they are learning. School districts have an opportunity to make teacher observations and evaluations a meaningful tool to nurture teacher growth, endorse success, and hold poor performing teachers accountable.

Participant teachers and administrative leaders from one rural school district in Maine embraced the idea of creating a culture in which autonomy and accountability could coexist through the process of creative tension. In this qualitative study, the researcher explored the use of SWIVL devices to self-observe and evaluate one’s own teaching practices in a way that gave teachers empowerment and expectation to see firsthand what their teacher practices looked like and to align them to the district’s teacher performance evaluation and professional growth (TPEPG) rubric. Full participant teachers engaged in self-observation and evaluation, which then led to initiating discourse with their building administrators about their professional strengths and needs. Video is a powerful tool for growth and professional development because it allows for conversations that are more professionally rich.

Twenty-four participant teachers and two building administrators were initially surveyed to get a breadth of knowledge and understanding surrounding the current culture in relation to the district’s T-PEPG process. Then, four participant teachers continued also to engage in self observation and evaluation, along with initiating discourse with their respective building administrator. These full participant teachers and two building administrators were interviewed prior to and after they experienced the self-observation protocol to gain in-depth insight into any possible changes in perceptions of the T-PEPG process as it might relate to instructional practices and professional strengths and growth needs. The participant teachers completed a minimum of three self-observations and evaluations, and initiated a minimum of two conversations with their administrator in between the preobservation and postobservation interviews.

Providing opportunity or choices related to change, allowing innovation to grow organically and through natural means, and offering alternative approaches is imperative to a successful protocol system. The themes of a desire to have a culture in which autonomy and accountability are allowed and expected to coexist emerged in the research findings. Recommendations include actions for districts to rethink their teacher evaluation policies and practices; they are urged to consider enhancements such as self-observation and evaluation to empower teachers with the expectation of accountability for their own professional growth and performance.

Comments

Ed.D. Dissertation

Cheryl’s presentation on this topic for the UNE CGPS Virtual Research Symposium 2019 can be found here: https://dune.une.edu/virtual2019/12/

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