Identifying the Strengths and Weaknesses of Teachers

To identify the strengths and weaknesses of teachers, you need to evaluate the individual teachers to make a judgment about their work and performance using objective criteria. These are some of the teacher evaluation strategies utilizing multiple sources to identify the strengths and weaknesses of teachers along several dimensions, such as the 4 Ps – Personality, Presence, Preparation, and Passion:

• Classroom observations by faculty peers or administrators
• Teacher portfolios
• Student evaluation of the teacher
• Student learning outcomes
• Teacher self-evaluation
• Teacher tests (e.g. of subject knowledge)
• Professional conversations and consultations
• Peer evaluation
• Parent feedback

Thus, a variety of methods exist to identify quality teaching and learning. It is not enough to place emphasis on attendance, completion rates or student learning outcomes. One should also ensure that schools and the wider education system consider the quality of teaching taking place in the classroom. If we cannot be sure that teaching is of a high standard, we cannot expect maximum levels of learning.

Teacher evaluation, then, is the process through which judgments about the quality of teachers are made. Assessing teachers’ performance in the classroom and its impact on students are core elements in this process. However, in evaluating teachers it is also important to consider broader elements of teacher quality such as planning, reflection, professional development and contributions to school effectiveness more generally.

So, top education systems invest heavily in the evaluation of teacher performance. Various tools and initiatives have been developed at the national level to support this in India, including Advancement of Educational Performance through Teacher Support (ADEPTS); PINDICS performance indicators; and the National Programme on School Standards and Evaluation (NPSSE) known as the Shaala Siddhi framework.

Personality

The personality of the teacher can impact positively or negatively the learning outcomes. Some traits of teachers that have a positive effect on learning outcomes are:

• Treats all students in a courteous and equitable manner
• Displays friendliness, self-confidence, and positive emotions
• Open to novelty, curious and creative
• Receptive to unconventional ideas and beliefs
• Accepting of different cultural backgrounds and the various feelings and behaviors of their students
• Cooperative, willing to compromise, mild-mannered and benevolent with faith in mankind
• A reasonable level of conscientiousness so that characteristics such as competence, order, sense of duty, planning, self-discipline, impulse control, and dedication can emerge in his/her work

Presence

The presence that a teacher displays and commands in a classroom can be evaluated with the following criteria:

• Students are well managed, ensuring a high standard of discipline
• Holds the students’ attention throughout the period
• Listens carefully to student comments, questions, and answers and responds constructively
• Communicates high expectations of students and a belief that they can meet those expectations, interacts extensively with them inside and outside class, conveys a strong desire for them to learn and motivates them to do so.
Preparation

The teacher should have a minimum level of knowledge and understanding in order to be able to effectively teach a subject at any stage of the curriculum. The teacher should not focus on rote learning, teaching to the test, and superficial knowledge.

Some criteria to evaluate a teacher under this can be the following:

• Begins and ends class on time
• The course has clearly stated measurable learning objectives
• Presents goals or objectives for the period
• Reviews prior material
• Presents material in a logical sequence
• Gives applications and examples
• Tells stories where appropriate
• Highlights important points
• Demonstrates a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the subject matter
• Answers questions clearly and accurately
• Periodically relates the new material to previous learning and experience
• Explains assignments clearly and thoroughly
• Summarizes main points at the end of the period
• Seeks to provide an education in the broadest sense of the word, not just knowledge of technical content
• Continually attempts to improve the course by updating the content and/or making use of new instructional materials and methods (including applications of instructional technology)

Passion

Teacher’s love and enjoyment of teaching can be seen. Among others, it is reflected in the following, demonstrating true love for teaching, and naturally transferring the enthusiasm to the students:

• The teacher arrives on time and stays at least till school closing/leaving time, and utilizes school hours fully.
• The teacher and student maintain a high level of attendance in school.
• The prevailing class atmosphere – the emotional health of the students – are they happy and engaged?
• Students’ participation and response
• The ‘face-reading’ or facial expressions of the students and the teacher, portraying joy and enthusiasm.
• The teacher is committed to attaining excellence in professional work and visibly strives towards it.
• The teacher identifies with the institution and with the profession, e.g. by taking lead in all activities, striving for the improved attainment of students (taking pride in ‘our school, our students’)

In Conclusion

Here are the main enablers related to the successful implementation of existing (and potentially any future) teacher evaluation processes, and to help further embed teacher evaluation into the Indian education system. It is important to reiterate these salient aspects of the wider system as they can have a significant impact on the success of any evaluation initiative. The principal enablers in the current context in India are as follows:

• Increased transparency of evaluation criteria and the process and skills required to implement these, beginning in pre-service teacher education „
• Establishment of clear feedback loops between processes of evaluation and resources (a shift in mindsets about the purpose of teacher evaluation needs to be prioritized, at all levels of the system, with a clear emphasis on utilizing data and evidence for improvement and individual development as opposed to merely satisfying a requirement to do evaluation) „
• Development of skills to undertake self-assessment and triangulation with other evidence „
• Prioritizing classroom teaching responsibilities and school-based professional development opportunities over non-academic work (e.g. election or census duty) „
• Improved perceptions of the status of teaching as a profession and incentives for a commitment to professional development
• Improved accountability mechanisms within the system.

There is a need for all stakeholders (teachers, school leaders, district officials and administrators, and state- or national-level officials and administrators) to play a part in enabling better implementation and utilization of existing or future evaluation processes, tools and resulting information. There is a need for changes in beliefs and thinking, and some development of skills or knowledge – or learning – would be required, along with changes in behavior – or action.

Teacher evaluation is clearly an important factor within the education eco-system, but it appears that some uncertainty exists around its purpose and application. Ultimately, the purpose of teacher evaluation must be to make a judgment on the quality of teaching – and therefore the potential for learning – that is taking place in the classroom. To be effective, this must be done using objective, valid and reliable criteria, and implemented by trained evaluators.

It is essential that those responsible for evaluating teachers should have received sufficient training that enables them to evaluate teachers effectively. Furthermore, a mechanism needs to be in place that intermittently monitors evaluators to ensure that they are continuing to evaluate to the prescribed standards. These requirements also apply to teachers themselves, where there are expectations that they will self- or peer-assess as part of the process.

However, it is fair to say that as of now, the value of evaluation to enable the improvement and development of teaching skills and the consequent quality of instruction experienced by learners is perhaps not yet fully recognized by the teaching community or others working on the ground in India.

Call to Action
Butterfly Fields has been delivering highly innovative teaching and learning experiences to schools throughout India. So, we can guide you in your evaluation of teachers and also help the teachers:
• Transition from chalk & talk to student-centric mode
• Support slow learners in the class better
• Bond closely with the students
• Carry out CCE (Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation)

Bibliography
Bambawale, M., Hughes, J. & Lightfoot, A., 2018. Exploring teacher evaluation processes and practices in India: A case study, New Delhi: British Council.

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