A learning conversation approach for teacher appraisal and professional development : an investigation of the ways in which specific forms of appraisal of teaching performance evoke different levels of learning conversations, and how far this affects teachers' perceptions of their own performance
Within the parameters of the development, since the 1970s, of the National Teacher Appraisal Scheme, and the current changes in Education, a research programme of observation, video-recording and analysis of teaching performance is described and evaluated. The aim was to ascertain, by means of specific techniques, the value and benefits to teachers in developing their personal and professional levels of experience on the path to becoming self-organised learners. The potential of two specific methods of appraising teachers' classroom performance to generate developmental Learning Conversations is examined and compared. Using video-recordings of their lessons, two groups of ten teachers in one secondary school, individually reflected, discussed and evaluated their own performance with the researcher, by using either conversational repertory grid or conversational rating scale techniques, as the basis for an extended focused Learning Conversation. A third group of ten teachers was intended as a control group. The immediate and longer term developmental effects on the individual teachers, and on the school, were examined as the research activities gradually evolved from an original positivist experimental research paradigm to a conversational action research paradigm. Parallel to the account of the changes and developments in the research project, the impact of the research journey on the personal and professional development of the researcher is also related.