In schools, Mid Year reviews are being completed and teachers are seeing how they are progressing against their targets, but are these objectives simply taking a snapshot of your performance against previously agreed school priorities or are they helping you to become a better teacher?
Academics agree that the most effective schools are learning organisations where teachers, as well as students, continue to be learners. In an effective school staff should continue to develop their knowledge, understanding and strategies involved in implementing the recognised theories of practice.
This highlights a massive problem. How many teachers, for instance, recognise that learning is a journey, where the teacher learns too? After all Knowledge of teaching is seen as far removed from the real world of practice, once you have achieved QTS the world of Blooms and Maslow appear to have little relevance to the busy nature of the teaching day, however whether in INSET or through other avenues we can harness the research and help develop our practice even further.
Performance management assesses overall teaching performance within the context of an individual’s own priorities and job description. What is less clear is how important raising actual teaching performance is to individual settings.
John Hattie (2003) identified some characteristics of an expert teacher, which can be translated into school policies. But can a teacher improve their performance in order to raise standards across all their classes, or “are the teacher's actions based on the desire for each pupil to attain a high level of achievement” (Hay McBer report 1.2).
A point raised by the McKinsey Report, states that “measuring performance does not automatically lead to insights as to what policy and practice can do to help students learn better” (2007, p9). A focus for performance management, therefore, remains suitably vague, targeted for individual teachers professional requirements.
Teachers are constantly striving to improve their performance in the classroom. However, without the opportunity to reflect on any specific weaknesses in their practice, an understanding of what good practice looks like or in addition to a motivation to improve both themselves and their organisation they cannot expect to improve,
Therefore it cannot be stated that performance management objectives are used to enhance ‘everyday’ teacher practice, however they can be used as a basis to ensure that individual and institutional progression is made, by “achieving universally high outcomes is only possible by putting in place mechanisms to ensure schools deliver high-quality instruction to every child” (McKinsey Report, 2007, p43).
It is the responsibility of the setting to ensure that teaching and learning are at the forefront of objective setting and as a consequence ensure, that these objectives are used to enhance everyday teaching practice.
To what extent this is achieved varies according to the priorities of the school or setting and its commitment to using performance management as a vehicle to raise attainment across the school. Can you influence this and show your true leadership qualities?
About our Community Expert
Career Development Lead
Richard is a history Teacher by Training and for the last few years been head of sixth form. His specialism is leadership and career development in the classroom.