5 Evidence-gathering, feedback and teacher development as ongoing practice

Having worked through this unit, you will know that setting up the evidence-gathering, feedback and additional support for one teacher when poor performance has been noted is a very time-intensive and emotionally draining exercise.

Evidence-gathering, feedback and teacher development works best when it is part of ongoing practice. This reduces the chance of underperformance going unnoticed and can drive up the level of performance overall. It does not have to be the school leader who does all the evidence-gathering and feedback; it can be shared among the teachers as part of their development too.

Activity 9: Regular reviews of teaching

Draw up a plan for a regular review of one aspect of teaching within your own school. This might be about the start of lessons, setting homework or student–teacher relations.

There are many issues you could choose to focus on – you could use the key resources developed by TESS-India to help you to identify aspects of teaching that you want to review. You could use Resource 2, ‘Planning lessons’, as a handout for teachers or it may help you to decide what to look out for.

Make notes in your Learning Diary about why you chose that aspect of the teaching and perhaps also make a note of other aspects you might like to look at in the future and why.

Now read the case study that follows.

Case Study 5: SJ tracks her teachers’ progress

Sunita Jawahar (or SJ, as she is popularly known) meticulously maintained her school leader’s diary. She found it invaluable to look back over the year, mulling over the monthly targets she had set herself.

This month she had determined to look at the endings of classes. Her goals were to ensure that:

  • teachers finish the lesson by summarising the content and outcomes
  • the homework set at the end of the lesson is accessible and achievable by all students
  • classes end on time.

These goals had been circulated to the teachers on an internal memo and it was made clear that this action was to improve the learning of all students. After all of the teachers’ signatures had been collected, it had been photocopied and pinned on the noticeboard in the staff room.

SJ had created a tracker to fill in during the week: a table that had five columns and seven rows. The first column’s heading was ‘Subject’ and under that were listed ‘Science’, ‘Social sciences’, ‘Mathematics’ and then each of the languages taught in the school. The remaining column headings referred to classes: ‘IXa’, ‘IXb’, ‘Xa’ and ‘Xb’.

The table had begun to fill up. She had walked into the Class IXb science lesson in the last ten minutes and completed her observation form, focusing only on her goals for the month. She had done the same for Classes Xa in English, IXb in Hindi and IXb in social sciences. This week, she planned to complete the observation of the remaining 20 classes and then put up the data in the staff room, in advance of the teachers’ meeting. She had planned the data so that it would be presented as a pie chart, without any names. However, she did have a plan on meeting the teachers who were unable to meet the goals, to ask them how she could support them to achieve the targets.

One of them had already come in to discuss the lesson plan with her – and they had worked together to improve the way the lesson could be conducted. The IXb Hindi lesson by Mrs Nagaraju had been planned really well and the lesson summary had been clear, with students identifying their learning. Mrs Nagaraju had been delighted with the feedback, but it had taken a bit of encouragement before she had agreed to be a role model for other colleagues. SJ gave herself a little star on the corner of the day’s page – her plan was working. She was determined that by the end of the month, all three goals would be met.

It was then that she realised she hadn’t thought of how she would celebrate the achievement with her staff! Her plan was incomplete. She made the final diary entry for the day: ‘My homework: think about how to get feedback from the students on the usefulness of the lesson summary, and how the feedback can be collated and reported to the teachers.’

Activity 10: Reviewing your plan

Having read Case Study 5, have another look at your own plan and consider how you might want to change it. Discuss your idea with two of your teachers and see if you wish to change it further before implementing it.

Make notes in your Learning Diary about their response to the suggested activity and as a result think about how you might introduce it to your whole staff.