This assignment correlated with Educational Leadership Core Curriculum (ELCC) Standards. The standard that most directly linked to this project was standard one, which states…
Candidates who complete the program are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by promoting a positive school culture, providing an effective instructional, applying best practice to student learning, and designing comprehensive professional growth plans for staff.
The Clinical Supervision and Critical Friends Projects directly related to the above standard. A a future leader, I was given the opportunity to assess teacher performance on a regular basis in order to promote the success of ALL students. The clinical supervision model was employed to evaluate teacher performance and was used as source to collect information on teacher and student performance and consequently used to make informed instructional decisions about school. Moreover, these assignments contributed to my belief that student learning is the fundamental purpose of schooling. As Carol Ann Tomlinson has quoted, " The central job of schools is to maximize the capacity of each student." As a result, this belief was my motivational driving force while working on the assignments.
I was afforded the opportunity during the course of the program to use the clinical supervision model as a framework for conducting a pre-observation, observation, and post-observation conference with a fourth grade eight year seasoned teacher at the elementary school where I am currently employed.
During the pre-observation and post-observation conference, I was most satisfied with my skills as being an effective and clear communicator. The pre-observation went very well, I organized a suitable time when the teacher could meet with myself. I came prepared to the meeting with a formal observation template that indicated the criteria I would be looking for during the conference. I was organized and set clear expectations with the teacher. When the teacher asked me questions, I provided immediate and supportive feedback. I even provided the teacher with specific examples on how she could improve her management skills. This proved that I was able to communicate effectively. During the post observation conference, I continued to show that I was a clear and effective communicator. I explained in detail what the positive features of the teachers lesson was and was detailed when explaining the expectations for improvement. I cited and referred to many parts of the lesson using my observation notes and annotations.
Though my expectations were clear, I feel my tone was not aggressive. I listened to the teacher’s concerns and made sure that she felt comfortable with the pre-observation. I tried to make the teacher feel as comfortable as possible. Therefore, I asked her to begin discussing the strengths of her lesson.
After that we discussed the aspects of teaching that was identified for further development. During this time, I made sure that my non-verbal communication was nonthreatening. I made sure that I reflected comfort and interest in what the teacher was saying and doing.
During the conferences I chose specific and appropriate words and phrases to help the teacher improve. For example, I consistently referred back to the state standards and the criteria explained during the pre-observation conference. In addition, I gave the teacher real-word and feasible examples on how she could improve her instruction next time. The teacher thanked me during the post-observation conference for giving her simple and realistic ways to improve her teaching instruction.
I truly feel that the only way I can improve my skills as an evaluator is by conducting more observations and conferences. In my school district, inter-visitation is frowned upon; therefore, in my teaching experience this was the only time I was able to observe and evaluate another teacher’s performance, strengths, and weaknesses. I was nervous conducting the port-observation since I have never been in an evaluative situation where I had to give a teacher feedback before.
The clinical supervision assignment lay the gropundwork for the critical friends assignment. We used this assignment to evaluate a teacher's performance. The clinical supervision model was utilized again and in addition, during this course assignment, future leaders prepared a safe and supportive learning environment for staff and students alike. In addition, I learned that effective leaders must use multiple sources of information regarding performance for staff and students. In tghis case, we took a deeper look at how walk-throug, formal, and end of the year evaluations play a role in leadership and how administrators must collect varied sources of information in order to evaluate teachers efftectively.
The most beneficial part of this assignment was creating the teacher support plan. It was during this section that lifelong learning was was encouraged and modeled for the teacher rated with an unsatisfactory performance evaluation. We, as future leaders, modeled for the teacher how to differentiate and improve her lesson plans to meet the needs of her students and we also provided the teacher with a series of profesional developmenmt workshops to help improve her craft and skill. Effective leaders are committed to believing in professional development as an integral part of school and teacher improvement.