Saturday, 18 February 2012

Teaching Measures

Well, you may have seen that Michael Gove & the new Ofsted chief inspector have changed the grading system for teachers.

It used to be:
  1. Outstanding
  2. Good
  3. Satisfactory
  4. Unsatisfactory (think it said unsatisfactory, although not necessarily important for my point)
Now Satisfactory is Needs Improvement, or something along those lines.

That's all well and good, but it isn't going to do much to make teachers improve. Yeah making them learn or teach the latest IT skills and not the old ways of just microsoft office, ok.

But if they actually wanted to measure the quality/ability of a teachers output would you really just perform 1, yes 1, observation a year (scrap that, 1 in 10 months)? and warn them of the week it will happen.

Maybe its different to the organisations I've worked at, but really, 'I'm coming at some point that week, be ready...'

If you wanted a reflection of the teaching that is taking place, surely you get a few, generate some averages, see how they're tracking, monitoring, developing the confidence of students individually, how they're differentiating.

No, just one, roll out your bells and whistles lesson guys, sure you do that every week. Ok i'm being cynical there, but I doubt that there aren't people who don't do that.

Get some informal walk through's, unannounced, say they will be taking place throughout the year.

Also, I'm a great believer at least from an art and design background/perspective, keeping abreast of the current trends, styles, techniques, artists, disciplines direction, its level of public visibility, the top organisations, the cheapest... is a must. Lets measure how recent/often a teacher actually visits a gallery, museum, workshop, presentation, symposium. Its an absolute necessity, is this recorded? hmm.... nope. Just an option on the feedback sheet for the observer to say... 'good or adequate... application of subject knowledge being shown'. More to the point, so should the observers satisfy credentials of:

Current Cultural Experiences

The most important, again from an art and design perspective, teachers should have to account, prove, measure the level of:

engagement and social/cultural industry recognised/exposure of their current practice (more to the point praxis)/work/theories/research

How can you teach if you don't actually practice your trade, be it pottery, illustration, painting, photography, software programmer... ? Yet, I've seen some teachers don't practice what they teach. They aren't active in the making of new pottery styles, innovative software, eye catching/unique illustration techniques/styles.

One colleague who I discussed this with went as far to say, 'they see their teaching, as their practice'.

Now I appreciate full time teaching positions leave very little time to perform, carry out your own practice (practice in industry, not practice of teaching). But you have holidays, summer, your own time at home, weekends, maybe there should be:

allocated, mandatory time to perform exploring own practice in industry, and showing publicly

Likewise for the observers.

Why aren't we (all teachers/observers) required to attend, exchange in good practice at Art & Design teaching symposium, or whatever subject area? Then bring it home (their own institutions) and show/employ innovative teaching practice/industry practices identified from the symposium in our lessons own practice?

Teaching is so obsessed with retention of students 'bums in seats' I see it as, teachers lessons are overcrowded and it is harder, far more 'tick box' tracking systems (most of which are useful) paper work to fill out, not all to actually help the student learn.

It has turned some teachers to just filling in boxes with generic feedback, they take their innovative passionate spark and realise it outside their teaching job. hmm....

Well, ideas, doubt they'll ever come but at least there is a record of when we suggested it if they do... dont worry, we'll keep trying and no doubt be seen as silly nuisances until we find an organisation, or we start a successful one, that actual work with us and not 'fob' (is this a word... yes, its a verb) us off.

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