Teacher appraisal and its management : a study of the perspectives of teachers
This thesis is inspired by the theory that a system of teacher appraisal can achieve maximum effectiveness only when there is harmony between its managers and other participants. Exploration of the theory is pursued in a study of the anticipatory concerns and relevant experience of a sample of Northamptoshire teachers about to become participants and/or managers. The findings are evaluated in the light particularly of experience of teacher appraisal in Canada and USA, where developments are very much further ahead than here. Government policy is analysed with reference to key considerations which currently determine how schools are managed in this country. A traditional dichotomy separating curriculum management from the management of staff relationships and which has created a style of teacher isolation is found to present problems. The risks of teacher appraisal simply becoming a celebration of the status quo are recognized. The probability emerges that the teachers will soon control the system, not government, nor the appraising bodies. Therefore, in anticipation of that outcome, certain key skills and knowledge are identified and commended in this thesis as governing the effectiveness of teacher appraisal, if it is to progress teaching and learning. The main conclusion of the research is that teachers are capable of initiating and supervising a robust system of teacher appraisal which can bring radical change to school management in the interest of school improvement. Their perspectives contrast with those of government most remarkably because the teachers' primary concern is to ensure that whatever the time and effort which is put in, the impact on pupils provides the justification. This thesis seeks to illustrate the potential value of teacher appraisal when used as an instrument of action learning rather than as an instrument of general management.