An Effective Teacher Performance and Development Framework

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Introduction

This is an effective Teacher Performance Development Framework for a secondary school in the District. It will shape teaching culture, enhance performance, and learners’ outcomes.

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A detailed Teacher Performance and Development Framework for a school

The Process

In an effort to improve the quality of secondary education in Australia, there must be an effective framework in place to promote teaching and student outcomes. In most cases, factors within the school are responsible for student outcomes. In this context, there is strong evidence to show that effective leadership, performance management, appraisal, coaching, and feedback can enhance the quality of student outcomes in secondary schools and creating a formidable performance culture (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2011a).

While Australia has performed well in relation to other countries in the provision of quality education, the feedback mechanism has not been effective to teachers. Today, there is a State requirement for every teacher in Australia to have “a yearly performance assessment which will include classroom observation and evidence of student outcomes” (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2011a). The yearly performance appraisal for teachers came into force because of the recommendation from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) in its draft of 2011. There are set performance goals every year, which teachers must demonstrate how they have met them (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2011a).

The process of developing a detailed Teacher Performance and Development Framework for the school relies on setting objectives, continual consultation, and review of the progress. The aim is to match performance with the national goal of education for the young people in Australia, which include promotion of equity and excellence and ensure that all young learners become successful, confident and creative, active, and informed people (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012). This is a collaborative among education stakeholders. There must be effective planning, consultation, and review of the performance on a yearly basis in order to ascertain the effectiveness of the framework.

What to Do

Enhancing Student Outcomes

The framework should focus on enhancing student outcomes. While teachers may strive to improve teaching, the overall aim should be to improving student outcomes. The framework shall include teacher performance against student performance (Goldstein, 2001). It is necessary to recognise that the aim of this approach is not to rate teaching directly with the every outcome indicator.

Rather, the aim is to link every aspect of teaching with its impacts on the quality of education and student outcome (Goldstein, 2001). In this context, student outcome is a broad term that includes “student learning, engagement in learning and wellbeing, and acknowledges that these can be measured in a variety of ways” (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

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Effective Teaching

There is also the need to state clearly all elements of effective teaching. In order to improve teaching, teachers must understand what effective teaching entails. Currently, teachers have the Standards in Australia, which highlights what “every teacher must know and practices during teaching career stages” (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012). Teachers must exhibit professional knowledge, practice, and engagement (NSW Institute of Teachers, n.d).

Teachers must get the general idea of their roles from the Standards. However, it is not simple for teachers or the school to focus on all aspects of the Standard simultaneously (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012). Therefore, a suitable developing a culture of performance in schools requires a focus on the Standards with aim of understanding what effective teaching entails and its common principles for the specific school. In this context, the school culture, practices, contexts, and priorities must shape the effective teaching (Training and Development Agency for Schools, 2007; Jerald, 2006).

Leadership

Studies have identified the importance of leadership in schools and its contribution to school performance (Hallinger, 2011; Stolp, 1994). In addition, they have also noted how leadership can shape the culture of performance and development in education (Louis, n.d). There is a need to strengthen the role of school principals and administrators. For instance, the Australian Professional Standard for Principals provides the role of the principal in “leading teaching and learning, developing him or her and others, and leading improvement in a school” (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2011b).

The role of leadership is critical for developing a culture of performance in a school (Hallinger, 2011. However, we have to recognise that others must also assist the principal in developing performance and development culture in the school. Thus, all teachers and other support staff must demonstrate leadership (Louis, n.d). This can only work when teachers have recognised the need to share responsibilities and support each other’s role for performance development (Louis, n.d).

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Teacher Performance Management and Appraisal

Schools need to enhance teacher evaluation, performance management, and appraisal in order to improve conditions for both the teacher and student learning (Danielson, 2011a). John West-Burnham notes that performance management is the key indicator of leadership (West-Burnham, 2002). Performance appraisal is not unique to teacher profession because it exists in the corporate world as a major approach to strategic management and business policy (Fletcher, 2001).

In fact, they have combined performance management with “social and motivational aspects of appraisal” (Fletcher, 2001). A framework for creating a culture of performance in schools also needs effective performance management among teachers. However, policymakers must recognise that not all teachers will welcome performance appraisal with ease (Carter and Delahaye, 2005). Thus, motivational aspects are necessary to encourage teachers to take active role in teaching.

Parent and Community Involvement

The ACT Council of P&C Associations has worked with parents to identify factors that contribute to an effective school. They noted that a number of factors were necessary, and active parent and community participation contributed to an effective school (ACT Council of P&C Associations, 2007). Nick Burnett asserts that schools should engage parents as partners in children learning and teaching (Burnett, 2009).

However, he notes that such partnership requires time and adequate resources. Therefore, an effective framework for the school needs adequate participation of teachers (Burnett, 2009). This should ensure inclusion by including all parents from different social and economic backgrounds. When parents and teachers work together, there are good chances of improving teaching and student outcomes in schools (Burnett, 2009).

Michele Lonsdale notes that the community can support a learning and performance development by providing “human and financial resources, time, infrastructure, skills, tools, talent, and enthusiasm” (Lonsdale, 2009).

Coaching and Mentoring

The use of mentors and coaches can improve learning and performance cultures in schools (Rowley, 1999). Australian secondary schools should introduce mentors, who should be veteran teachers. Mentor and coaching should include both teachers and learners. However, Rowley observes that the mentor and protégé should establish a personal relationship before matching could take place (Rowley, 1999). This is necessary to avoid later challenges between the mentor and protégé. Therefore, the school must ensure that there are effective approaches to mentoring and coaching based on training, qualifications, and token available for coaches and mentors (Dorval, Isaksen and Noller, 2001).

The reasoning for the Teacher Performance and Development Framework

The framework shall ensure that teachers and students promote high standards of teaching and learning. The framework shall not only enhance learning and student outcomes, but also demonstrate to the entire school and community that teachers also adhere to professional standards with regard to performance (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

The framework for teaching profession shall serve many purposes. It will enhance that teachers improve their skills and promote effective teaching for positive student outcomes. The framework understands the complexity of teaching and the learning environment. Thus, it provides a road map in areas, which are core in formulating an effective framework for promoting performance development and developing performance culture. The framework advocates for collaboration so that novice teachers can get mentoring and coaching programmes from their accomplished fellows (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012 reports that teachers in Australia do not receive adequate feedback for improvement on their performance. In fact, the OECD survey noted that 63 percent of Australian teachers reported that the appraisal system only aimed at fulfilling administrative purposes (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012). This implies such teachers do not get feedback.

Thus, they cannot improve their performances based on the result. Based on the importance of performance and appraisal, administrators must insist on providing feedback to teachers in order to improve teaching and student outcomes.

An effective feedback mechanism in teacher performance and development and student outcomes can enhance professional practices in teaching profession. This can be a culture of a school if leadership and other educators provide adequate supports. Feedback must be “timely, frequent, focused on improvement, guides choices about professional learning, and informs reflection on and revision of performance and development goals” (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

Despite the importance of leadership in schools, particularly in shaping culture of performance and student outcomes, it tends to be a problem in most schools (Robinson and Timperley, 2007). This happens because most principals do not delegate some roles to other teachers or there is a lack of collaboration in schools. In addition, teacher influences in schools tend to be critical than the influence of leaders. This shows that leaders must delegate some roles to teacher in order to enhance effective learning and teaching for positive performance outcomes (Robinson and Timperley, 2007).

While mentoring and coaching programmes are good for both teachers and students, challenges usually emerge in matching the mentor and protégé. Studies indicate that prior matching of the mentor and the protégé often lead to challenges. Thus, the framework shall ensure that matching of the mentor and the protégé takes place after both parties have established personal relationships (Rowley, 1999).

Some schools have not concentrated adequately on the role of community and parents in promoting performance development and culture of performance. Parents understand their children, and they can provide their background experiences. Such information can help teachers to know characteristics of learners and respond to their diverse needs accordingly. Still, the community can provide resources to support their local schools. Thus, mutual partnership can promote effective teaching and student outcomes (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

For the success of this framework, educators must ensure that there is continuous review, provision of feedback, and improvement on the existing framework as teaching shifts to advance levels and learners become dynamic.

Challenges anticipated with the implementation of the Framework and their solution

Obviously, the framework shall encounter numerous challenges during its implementation. Some of these challenges could be formulating individual effective performance management plan for all teachers, performance tracking, and feedback implementation, time, and financial resources (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

Tracking

Teachers and school leadership must track student outcomes and teacher performance. Performance tracking is an effective method gauging the current standards against the national standards. Teacher performance and appraisal systems should have an effective feedback mechanism that allows teachers to review the performance. Feedback must be complete and show areas of improvements.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012 had noted that the feedback system in Australia is poor and does not facilitate improvement because administrators do it as a requirement. For efficient processes, administrators must change their approaches to performance and appraisal management because of their roles in improving student outcomes and teaching practices (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

Performance Management and Appraisal Standard

A study by Jan Moreland revealed that teachers acknowledged the importance of performance management in education. The author notes that performance management is all about “celebrating teachers’ achievements, valuing their contributions to the profession, and helping them to develop their skills and career path” (Moreland, 2009). He also notes that others consider performance management as a way of ensuring that teachers improve professional practices for positive student outcomes while school administrators see performance management as a method of improving school reputation and growth (Moreland, 2009).

However, the study established that school leaders have diverse views and approaches to implementation and the use of performance management and appraisal frameworks. These views vary based on the leadership style of school administrators and their perceptions on performance management (Moreland, 2009). School administrators who considered performance management as a tool for growth had no challenges in its implementation.

Moreover, the process of implementation was consultative than in other schools. Conversely, other school administrators did not understand its purpose. In addition, several participants noted that there was a need for adequate training to allow teachers to understand the importance of performance management and appraisal. Based on this knowledge, educators must have adequate understanding of the framework and identify areas of potential challenges.

Effective implementation of the performance management programme can result in good teacher practices, which can promote positive student outcomes. Further, effective implementation of the programme relies on the leadership style of school administrators because different leadership styles have various impacts on implementation of the framework. Therefore, it is necessary for educators to develop a standard performance and appraisal programme for all schools and school administrators. This can ensure shared goals, interests, and outcomes (Moreland, 2009).

Ensuring Professional Development

We have novice, experienced, and accomplished teachers (Hattie, 2003). These teachers have different levels of professional development. However, all teachers need professional development in order to guide student teaching (Hattie, 2003). Teachers must know which concepts and skills are “central to a discipline, peripheral, how the discipline has evolved into the 21st century and incorporate such issues as diversity” (Danielson, 2011b).

Experienced and accomplished teachers have knowledge of students’ requirements, concepts to teach, and they understand “the link among different disciplines, which are fundamental for effective teaching and student outcomes” (Danielson, 2011b). In this context, teachers must also choose the most appropriate “pedagogical approach best suited in each discipline in advancing student understanding because knowledge of the content is not sufficient” (Danielson, 2011b).

On the same note, school administrators should encourage teachers to enhance performance by motivating them. For instance, in 2012, Peter Garrett in the Ministry of Education introduced “the first national professional standards for both teachers and principals alongside motivation for teachers” (Garrett, 2012). This can have positive effects among teachers for performance improvement and culture development. Motivation must also extend to students, school administrators, and parents as Ron Renchler notes (Renchler, 1992).

Time and Financial Concerns

In most cases, inadequate time and financial resources have hampered implementation of several initiatives because they scarce. All schools require adequate teachers, time, and financial resources to implement their performance improvement framework. In addition, the support must be available on a constant basis in order to enhance framework implementation, for curricular materials, and other supports necessary for a standard curriculum in all schools. In this bottleneck, the State must intervene and establish an appropriate funding system that can support implementation of the framework in all schools.

One must recognise that implementation of the framework also involves introducing changes in the established cultures of various schools. This is where there is a challenge. Thus, school administrators, teachers, students, and parents must recognise that implementation of the framework is an ongoing process. In this regard, the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership notes that for the framework to have an enduring impact, “a strong commitment from, and extensive support for schools, groups of schools, teachers and school leaders will be critical” (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

In this process, schools must align the framework with the national goals of education, policies, processes, and other schools practices that favour teaching and student outcomes. This will ensure that there is a sustained effort for the framework. Teachers and administrator will also support the process if it guarantees career growth through formal ways.

Evaluating Success of the Framework

Teacher and Student Feedback

Educators and teachers believe in feedback because it offers informative information and encourage individuals. In the past, feedback to teachers has been poor. An effective implementation of this framework should facilitate feedback among stakeholders. Teachers who receive adequate and timely feedback can know areas of improvements. Still, students who get immediate feedback on their performance get opportunity to practice, learn, and work towards the desired outcomes (Goldstein, 2001).

This framework emphasises the importance of feedback because it shows that when education stakeholders receive feedback on critical elements, they also get valuable experiences for improvement. It is a real-time reflection of teaching and learning outcomes. Thus, informed feedback shall be useful in developing student outcomes and effective teaching plans.

Leadership and Collaborative Processes

School administrators tend to run affairs of the school on their own. However, successful implementation of this programme shall reflect high-levels of delegation and collaboration. Educators, parents, and learners must work together to ensure the success of the framework. This is critical during decision-making processes (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2011b). Collaborative approaches shall enhance teamwork among teachers and learners. The aim is to create an environment where all education stakeholders can work together for culture development and performance improvement.

Improvement in Performance and Appraisal Management

While performance and appraisal management may have different meanings to different groups, successful implementation of this framework shall ensure improvement in managing teacher performance and appraisal processes (Danielson, 2011a). A standard approach to implementation of the framework shall ensure that different styles of leadership among school administrators do not hamper performance and appraisal processes. Thus, it will be a tool for improvement rather than a tool for fulfilling administrative requirements.

Effective Teaching and Learning

The framework also advocates for a professional growth of teachers. It ensures that novice teachers gain experience and finally become accomplished ones. In this context, the teacher must exhibit a thorough knowledge of critical elements in the subject and their relationships with other areas of learning and teaching. Teacher’s preparation, plans, and practices show how well he understands concepts and their relationships with the necessary with students’ learning requirements and outcomes. This ensures that the teacher gauges learners’ abilities and notes areas of difficulties.

Thus, the success of the framework shall reflect effective teacher’s practices, preparation, and plan, which highlight how the teacher is familiar with different areas of effective teaching and learning for positive student outcomes (NSW Institute of Teachers, n.d).

Changes in Coaching and Mentoring Practices

Changes in mentoring and coaching practices are also indicators of a successful implementation of the framework. It is advisable for a mentor and a protégé to establish personal relationships first in order avoid challenges later. Thus, one should evaluate the relationship between the mentor and the protégé before and after implementation of the framework in order to ascertain its effectiveness (Dorval, Isaksen and Noller, 2001; Rowley, 1999).

Changes in the Role of Parents and the Community

Improvement in parental and communal involvement in school activities would indicate positive impacts of the framework. However, the absence of such changes may indicate ineffective implementation of the framework and may suggest a need for further improvement on the framework implementation (ACT Council of P&C Associations, 2007).

A performance and development culture is the best approach of improving teaching and student outcomes in secondary schools. However, we have to note that it is a collective responsibility for stakeholders in Australian education. Developing an effective framework is a continuous process that should be deliberate, structured, and a long-term project for creating positive outcomes for students, as well as teachers with aim of ensuring high standards in the teaching profession (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

Finally, monitoring and evaluation based on effective feedback shall be fundamental for effective implementation and improvement on this secondary school framework. In addition, we must also recognise that teacher practices should also benefit from ongoing research in the field, which identifies new methods of effective teaching and learning. This is the only way to establish and sustain high standards of performance and development culture.

References

ACT Council of P&C Associations. (2007). Characteristics of Effective Schools. Australia: ACT Council of P&C Associations.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2012). Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework. Carlton South, Australian: Education Services Australia.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2011a). National Professional Standards for Teachers. Carlton South, Australia: Education Services Australia.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2011b). National Professional Standard for Principals. Carlton South, Australia: Education Services Australia.

Burnett, N. (2009). Parents as Partners. ThaAustralian Educational Leader, 31(3), 26- 27.

Carter, G., and Delahaye, B. (2005). Performance appraisal: Stressful for some. Australia: QUT ePrints.

Danielson, C. (2011). Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching (2nd Ed.). Princeton, NJ: Outcomes Associates, Inc.

Danielson, C. (2011). Teacher Evaluation. Educational Leadership, 35-39.

Dorval, B., Isaksen, S., and Noller, R. (2001). Leadership for Learning: Tips fro Effective Mentoring and Caching. In K. McCluskey (ed.), Mentoring for Talent Development (pp. 1-12). South Dakota: Reclaiming Youth.

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Goldstein, H. (2001). Using pupil performance data for judging schools and teachers: scope and limitations. London: Institute of Education.

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Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers Make a Difference: What is the research evidence? Australian Council for Educational Research Annual Conference on Building Teacher Quality, Australian.

Jerald, C. (2006). School Culture: “The Hidden Curriculum”. Washington, DC: The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement.

Lonsdale, M. (2009). School-community Partnership: A Capital Idea for School Improvement. Teacher ACER, 54-57.

Louis, K. S. (n.d). Changing the Culture of Schools: Professional Community, Organizational Learning and Trust. Journal of School Leadership, 1-20.

Moreland, J. (2009). Investigating Secondary School Leaders’ Perceptions of Performance Management. Educational Management Administration Leadership, 37, 735-766.

NSW Institute of Teachers. (n.d). Professional Teaching Standards.

Renchler, R. (1992). Student Motivation, School Culture, and Academic Achievement: What School Leaders Can Do. Oregon: ERIC Clearinghouse.

Robinson, V., and Timperley, H. (2007). The leadership of the improvement of teaching and learning: Lessons from initiatives with positive outcomes for students. Australian Journal of Education, 51(3), 247-262.

Rowley, J. (1999). The Good Mentor. Educational Leadership, 56(8), 20-22.

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West-Burnham, J. (2002). Leading and managing for high performance. Web.

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