Teacher Ownership/Democratic Governance Category 7

Here is a collection of articles written on the EdVisions model and network schools.

Teacher Ownership/Democratic Governance articles

*All articles are available upon request by emailing info@edvisions.org

Category 7: Evaluations inform individual Professional Development Plans; focus on self and school improvement.

Awkard, T. (2017). The power of reflective action to build teacher efficacyPhi Delta Kappan98(6), 53-57.

Teachers can regain their sense of efficacy if school leaders engage them in a systematic process, the Reflective Action Protocol, of reflecting on their classroom expectations and practices, making adjustments, and taking careful note of improvements in student learning. This process asks instructionally focused questions that push teachers to recognize their own personal biases, give an honest appraisal of their own effect on students, and consider new ways of teaching. By grounding the discussion in close observations of classroom practices and their effects on learning, school leaders can build teacher efficacy and can move teachers to pursue specific priorities that meet the needs of all students. But school leaders must make a serious commitment to a cyclical process of observing teachers, providing immediate, specific feedback, and focusing on the connection among teacher planning, instruction, and their effect on student learning.

Donaldson, M. L., & Donaldson Jr., G. A. (2012). Strengthening teacher evaluation: What district leaders can do. Educational Leadership69(8), 78-82.

This article offers suggestions for educational leaders in the U.S. to improve teacher evaluation methods by establishing a system of adult learning. The author reports that teachers should be encouraged to provide input and feedback on the design of performance evaluation systems. District leaders can work with principals on teacher observation and consultation skills-allowing administrators to provide effective and helpful feedback to teachers. The article also discusses the importance of prioritizing instructional improvement in school districts.

Eckert, J., & Byrd, P. A. (2012). A different kind of education gap. Phi Delta Kappan94(4), 49-52.

This article discusses the authors' experiences leaving their roles as teachers in public schools and then returning to teaching some time later, focusing on how these experiences expose a gap in understanding between U.S. policymakers who work on educational law and the teachers to whom educational laws apply. Topics include the teacher certification process to become a National Board-Certified Teacher (NBCT), the role of teacher-student relationships, as well as the use of video recording and peer review observation to improve teaching skills among student teachers.

Meyer, B. (2015). The highly engaged school. Independent School74(2), 104-109.

This article focuses on the creation of a professional development program that fosters an engaged and inspired faculty. Benefits of an engaged faculty are noted; which include greater job satisfaction, stronger faculty retention, and improvement of individual and team performance. The model of professional development at the Fay School in Texas engages and inspires its faculty is explored, along with the significant gains of the school across all matrices.

Morel, N. J. (2014). Setting the stage for collaboration: An essential skill for professional growth. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin81(1), 36-39.

Collaboration is identified as an essential twenty-first-century skill, and research supports that professional learning is enhanced by collaboration among teachers. Nevertheless, many American schools have little time built into the day for collaborative professional interactions such as coaching, peer observation, modeling, or professional-learning-community work. Administrators and teacher leaders can take a few essential steps to promote and enhance their own collaboration among colleagues and promote the collaborative practices of professionals in their schools.

Watson, C. (2014). Effective professional learning communities? The possibilities for teachers as agents of change in schools. British Educational Research Journal40(1), 18-29.

The concept of the professional learning community (PLC) has been embraced widely in schools as a means for teachers to engage in professional development leading to enhanced pupil learning. However, the term has become so ubiquitous it is in danger of losing all meaning, or worse, of reifying 'teacher learning' within a narrowly defined ambit which loses sight of the essentially contestable concepts which underpin it. The primary aim of this paper is therefore to (re-)examine the assumptions underpinning the PLC as a vehicle for teacher led change in schools in order to confront and unsettle a complacent and potentially damaging empirical consensus around teacher learning. This paper examines the characteristics and attributes of the 'effective' professional learning community as identified in the literature, drawing out the tensions and contradictions embodied in the terms professional, learning and community. The paper considers the implications of this analysis for practice, and concludes by offering some insights into the nature of 'school improvement', and the role of PLCs in realizing this.