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A case study of teacher education practices in a Waldorf school : seeking the value in evaluation Brunetta, Kathleen

Abstract

This study examines twelve teachers’ experiences of evaluation of their own practices and explores these teachers’ beliefs about the value of these evaluations in terms of their continuing professional growth. It investigates the purposes and procedures for evaluating teachers and analyzes the results of evaluations in the context of a Waldorf school. Within Waldorf schools, teachers are responsible for identifying standards of good teaching and for implementing evaluation tools for themselves. The accountability measures they designed in this school were intended for educational quality control, to provide direction for continuing professional development, and to determine their continuing employment. The underlying assumptions in conducting these evaluations were that teachers’ work could be fruitfully evaluated, that student achievement was effected by teachers’ skills, and that teachers could and should develop their skills through continuing professional development. Interviews, field notes, focus group conversation, and school documents provided my research data. My central questions addressed evaluation through the participants’ experiences and identified the results they distinguished as valuable or not valuable. I interviewed teachers who had been evaluated and the teachers responsible for overseeing evaluations. Some participants had a dual role and fit both categories. The parameters of this study were limited to single interviews with the twelve teachers who volunteered. The data analysis identified four dimensions of the teacher evaluation practices that participants recognized as worthwhile. These were self-evaluation, work with skilled evaluators, positive recognition by peers and others, and support provided for continuing professional development. Most participants found value in the evaluation experiences despite initial feelings of anxiety and fear. Outcomes for most included increased confidence and motivation resulting from positive encounters that effected participants’ senses of identity and self worth. This study investigates the value of each dimension of this four-part evaluation process for teachers’ professional growth and development.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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