According to the study done by Joseph Blase and Peggy Kirby, teachers generally do not welcome the visit of the inspectors in their classrooms. They also do not seem to like the ‘You should…’, ‘You should not…’ in the post-observation class. What they like to see in their inspectors, particularly, is the ‘behavior that motivates them to do a better job, to reflect on their practices and to become involved in their continuing professional development (CPD).
As I read the book ‘Bringing Out the Best in Teachers’, I felt concerned and I started thinking critically: “Am I doing my job properly?” “Am I supporting teachers in their professional practices?” “Am I praising them for their efforts?” “Am I meeting their expectations?” “Am I positive enough to make them feel comfortable?” “Am I …?”
The book ‘Bringing Out the Best in Teachers’ which is intended initially for principals has got numerous guidelines, but I limit myself to some and continue reflecting on the teachers’ viewpoints:
-“Effective inspectors provide teachers with several acceptable alternatives rather than force them to comply with the preferred method.”
-Effective inspectors assume that all teachers have room for professional growth. They share their own expertise with teachers and provide them with opportunities to learn from one another.
-Effective inspectors help teachers to reflect on their practices in order to evaluate the efficacy of changing their method.
-Effective inspectors acknowledge and encourage teachers’ efforts and provide assistance when needed.
Among other aspects of inspectors’ effectiveness described in the book is their personality: the focus, in the teachers’ point of view, is on honesty, optimism and consideration. These three personal traits and characteristics in addition to moral presence, attention to teachers’ needs, competence and being forward-looking are most admired in inspectors. Honest inspectors, for example, confront teachers’ weaknesses and acknowledge their strengths. Their optimism, on the other hand, increases teachers’ self-esteem, security and motivation. Optimism is seen as a significant factor to inspectors’ effectiveness. Considerate inspectors are particularly appreciated for their non-discrimination as they show concern for all teachers. Understanding, flexibility as well as respect are other characteristics that teachers appreciate in inspectors. Many teachers reveal that they become more considerate in their dealings with students because they have a caring and respectful inspector.
Finally, inspectors’ modeling is recognized to be of a great value by most teachers. Appropriate dress, way of speaking and giving feedback, punctuality, organization, effective training and planning, positive attitude, praising teachers and extra efforts influence teachers in their practices and bring out the best on them.
Hopefully, the book is a relief!
As a conclusion, I would like to summarize the book with this quote: “ My inspector is my role-model; s/he inspires me in and outside the classroom.”
Bringing Out the Best in Teachers by Joseph Blase and Peggy Kirby (1st edition 1992)
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