12 Replies Latest reply: Feb 14, 2012 11:04 PM by cgreen RSS

Should we have a teacher peer-review process?

Jane Brown Master
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In this video, Bill Gates Discusses Domestic Education Efforts, the Former Microsoft CEO speaks with ABC News’ Bill Weir about the teacher peer-review process.

 

Do you agree or disagree that this might be a good way to share best practices and strategies to help teachers perform at a much higher capacity, as shown in the pilot program launched by Gates in Tampa, FL?

  • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
    msmedonis New User
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    I believe in the power of working with my group at my school site.  They are generous to a fault with resources, time, and support.

     

    I therefore believe that a peer-review process could have a positive outcome, if the word "peer" is closely defined, as is "process." 

     

    If the "process" is well thought out, through to its consequences, then I agree that it would be a good way to share strategies, and help me to work smarter, instead of harder. 

    • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
      mabell New User
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      I'm with you. I taught in Wisconsin during a time when we had adopted the enhanced teaching model of Madeline Hunter. Because funding was limited, a cadre of teachers went to the initial training, studied, and developed a training to use in our district. The next year they implemented the model in their classrooms and trained another cohort, who in turn became involved in implementation and training.

       

      It was absolutely a peer support process, where colleagues observed, shared ideas, and gave informal feedback. It did not impact salaries and was in no way punitive, but certainly was a wonderful way to spread interest and enthusiasm and enlist many to this new model. To me, this was a form of peer-review and subsequent support that had a very positive outcome.

  • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
    jsouders New User
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         I think a peer review process is a great idea.  In fact in my district beginning teachers have mentor teachers who review their performance and give them postive, constructive feedback.  The problem is that after two years the review process ends.  All professionals at any different stage of their career can benefit form constructive peer review.  the key word here is constructive.  Constructive on the part of the reviewer-it shouldn't be a "gotcha" situation where the teachers feel policed.  However, teachers of all experience levels need to be open to change and willing to improve.

         One other component I think is overlooked is the need to have teachers observe other master teachers.  We learn best from modeling.  Don't just have master teachers tell us what to do, they should show us.

    • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
      msmedonis New User
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      Jack-

       

      I couldn't agree with you more regarding modeling.  I recently had an evaluation and was given a criticism which I didn't understand.  I feel that if there was a video, or specific lesson in another teacher's room that I could have watched as an example, I would have understood and been able to modify my instruction. As it is, I have tried to modify and change, and improve (spent all last weekend lesson planning) but I'm still confused.  Have I achieved what I am supposed to? 

       

      I supposed it all comes down to time.  I want to go observe other, more veteran teachers, and have asked, and been given their wholehearted welcome.  I just am always so swamped. 

  • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
    klnester New User
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    I believe that the peer review process has the ability to be a good idea.  If teachers are forced into the process of observing, I do not believe it would be successful.  The process should be done on a volunteer basis by teachers.

    I agree with Meg, we are always so swamped.  Adding another activity into the week can be overwhelming.  Those that are willing and able will make the observation a positive experience.

    Jack is correct in saying teachers of all experience levels need to be open to change and willing to improve.  This brings up another point in the process.  Are we all willing to be open to new ideas and opinions by our peers?

    • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
      msmedonis New User
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      I am in my second year of teaching, and know and understand that I have so very much to learn.  I just wish I had an extra prep period, even if it was for a few months, to select one aspect of my teaching to improve.  I want to learn, I just need the time to do it. 

    • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
      Jane Brown Master
      Currently Being Moderated

      Perhaps it should be volunteer on the parts of both the observer and the person being observed, especially if one isn't open to new ideas and opinions from certain of their peers.

       

      Another idea, in Ohio, my sister just retired and was asked to come back for 10 days to perform observations and offer suggestions for teachers, new and old.  She has the experience and the rapport with the teachers and administration to do this.

       

      One more idea for whatever model is used for reviews.  We all like to know what we do right, so offering two glows and a grow is a good way to let a teacher know what she is doing right and what she might want to work on.

  • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
    carom New User
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    I think that a teacher-peer review does offer an opportunity for teachers to benefit from the experience and input of a successful peer.  However, there are several cautions to keep in mind.

     

    Bill Gates acknowledges that in establishing such a system there is likely to be an adjustment period while it gets fully implemented, and he does mention a need for a portion of a school district's budget to be allocated to the oeer-review system.  It is unreasonable to expect an excellent classroom tecaher to perform the additional duties of being a perr reviewer without proper compensation.

     

    Excellence in teaching doesn't look the same in every classroom - in fact that is one of the reasons why teaching is an art as well as a science.  Every year the class I teach is different, and while my teaching personality has some constants, different elements come into play depending upon the needs of the class.  There do have to be some basic components in place that can be observed and measured during an instructional period, but I also think there must be time for follow up discussion during the peer review.  If I am being evaluated, we need to discuss my rationale for making certain decisions during a lesson - even if the reviewer fees that a different approcah might have been more effective.

     

    Lastly, we need to move away from the notion that an excellent teacher can fix all.  Students and families have some responsibility for the state of our education system today.  I've worked in both impoverished neighborhoods and wealthy neighborhood schools - it's a lot easier to be excellent in a wealthy neighborhood school.

  • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
    cgardikas New User
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    Yes, we should have a teacher peer-review process. At times we can't see the forest for the trees.  We are so busy with our students, teaching, planning, organizing, that we need to step back and look at how we relate to the students and to the content of the material being taught.  When I was a math coach, it was one of my duties to observe other teachers.  Many teachers were responsivle to my suggestions.   They did not realize that they were not as effective as they could have been with a lesson.  Helping one another goes both ways.  As a coach/mentor, I also learned a lot from the teachers I was observing

  • Re: Should we have a teacher peer-review process?
    cgreen New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    Yes I thing a teacher peer review process would be helpful to both of the participants. Another professional in the classroom can point out things that one may be saying/doing that are not as effective as they could be. I agree with a previous poster that this should probably be voluntary for both parties.

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