Sitting listening to the opening speech from the Teaching Council at the NASDAP conference today, I reflected on the changes ahead for us in schools around appraisal. Currently, we know very little about what is to come. There has been discussion around the Accord signed by PPTA and NZEI recently, and much talk on the tracks about getting rid of appraisal completely. I personally believe that we shouldn’t confuse the process of appraisal with the concept itself.
Appraisal — effective appraisal — is a process that can support people in their careers, to guide growth. My view is that appraisal should be a core part of the way we, as professionals, talk with each other about our work. We need opportunities to reflect, share with others, note how our daily practice reflects the teaching standards and, yes, be counseled if we need to refine what we do to be better.
Does it have to be annual? No.
Referenced against teaching standards and/or the code? Can be useful.
Formally reviewed against the standards to make sure you are as effective in February as you were last November? Hmmm…. perhaps there is a better way.
I thought I would share an example from our place to add to the conversation. We ran a session across our staff last week that begins to move towards the kind of practice that might make practice conversations for review useful and enjoyable.
The Teachers Council makes it clear that, at the moment, inquiry is not compulsory, but having an inquiring approach to professional learning is useful in school and can be an engine for innovation and improvement. It certainly has been in ours. We ran a staff session that created opportunities to:
- share practice around our key PD themes, such as the use of te reo Māori in class.
- celebrate and affirm progress around how we are testing new approaches (but trying not to nag people’s heads with INQUIRY all the time. How about we tell stories of change instead? That’s what we did.)
- identify collectively how our stories of practice map to the various teaching standards, naturally and visually.
I’m sharing the activity below in case it is useful for other schools
>>> This is the full session: Shared staff kōrero about our mahi