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Collaborative Professional Development Process
by Rick Abrams, English Teacher, Professional Development Committee Chair, Miss Porter's School - Farmington, Connecticut
Last year's Education Innovation Summit, and in particular Daniel Pink, inspired Miss Porter's School to develop a method to replace our outmoded teacher evaluation. We call it The Collaborative Professional Development Process. Our new process puts evaluation in the service of growth and collaboration where it can best serve our faculty. Its goal is not to find out how well a teacher is doing, though it will do this better than the old process, but to maximize how well collaboratively s/he can grow.
Whereas, we've found, a traditional evaluation only minimally assesses skills or contributes to growth:
|Assumes teaching is performance-based.||Teachers perpetually seek mastery - teaching is also learning-based.|
|Assumes teachers grow through compliance, seeking "carrots," avoiding "sticks."||Professional growth is also intrinsically motivated - teachers love to improve at what they love doing.|
|Assumes teaching is largely a left-brain activity.||Teaching also demands creativity.|
|Assumes teachers teach independently.||Teachers also rely on community and teach to be part of a larger purpose.|
Our new process accurately assesses teacher performance, and, accurately, assumes s/he wants to improve, for its own sake, but also for the sake of a greater purpose.
- Engagement (or "Flow") Test
- Review Meeting
- Collaborative Fieldwork
- Sharing: with full faculty, mid- and end-of-year
Meanwhile, a team-elected facilitator reports in writing to the Associate Head on the Fieldwork team's group and individual progress. The Fieldwork Team pursues group and individual projects but serves primarily as a support group for its members. In effect each member has as support a group consisting of the other members. One member in particular monitors the overall progress of one colleague, and vice versa, and in May writes a summary of growth as part of the facilitator's overall final Team report.
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