Teacher Appraisal in Primary Schools: The Use of the 'Teaching As Inquiry' Process
McKenzie, Brett Steven
MetadataShow full metadata
This research set out to examine the use of ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ within the teacher appraisal process. Specifically, it set out to answer whether or not it was possible for ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ to be become integrated within the teacher appraisal system in an effort to make appraisal seen as a worthwhile process that involves teacher and student learning. Since it became mandatory in 1997 (Ministry of Education, 1997a) teacher appraisal has primarily been thought of as a matter of compliance and accountability, whereas it was actually intended to offer a balance between accountability and development. It was perceived of as a requirement legislated by the Ministry of Education, that was a matter of simply ticking boxes, with little enhancement for student learning and teacher development. A qualitative methodology was engaged for this research, which focused on four primary schools. Semi-structured interviews were carried out at the four schools with nine participants to obtain their thoughts and impressions of the integration of ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ within their teacher appraisal process. The data collected were used to identify the themes, which are discussed in the findings and discussions. The findings indicate that for ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ and teacher appraisal to be a viable proposition to be integrated, time is required for it to be established within the school’s culture. This could involve a number of years; it cannot be seen as a quick fix solution. There are a number of factors that must be in place for it to become effective and appreciated as worthwhile for teachers. As the literature and data indicate, knowledge and understanding of ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ and the teacher appraisal process are essential for the two to become integrated. Leadership is an essential ingredient that needs to be one of creating trusting relationships, collegiality, collaboration and of support in relation to making the process seen as high priority by all those involved. The allocation of sufficient time and resources for the appraisee and appraiser to work together is as important as any part of the process. There is also a need for a sense of ownership by teachers, and of the value for teachers’ learning and student learning. When ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ and teacher appraisal are embedded throughout all teaching areas, the purpose of appraisal is viewed differently. It is thought that if ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ is able to be merged to meet the Standards for the teaching profession (Education Council of New Zealand, 2017a) and then incorporated into the requirements of teacher appraisal, appraisal will be able to provide development for teachers as well as allowing student learning to be a focus.