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Sunday, July 22, 2012

The importance of Evaluation

I'm a systems kind of gal and it struck me while reading through the Beare, Caldwell and Millikan (1989) [1] readings for Uni is that many schools that I have worked in have completely overlooked the importance of evaluation.

The perception is that once a program is delivered, that it is successful by default. The students turned up, the teachers taught, ergo it was successful. The ability to set key criteria and then evaluate them is completely overlooked by management. What if every teacher had to distribute an evaluation sheet at the end of each of their classes? What impact would that make?

At the end of last Semester, I got my Year 7 class to write me a report. Overall I was pleased with their feedback. More chocolate, less brainstorming(or thinking skills) activities. Feedback from the kids ranged from a blank page, and a few scribbled things through to full blown reports explaining my strengths and weaknesses. The kids were surprised when I asked them, but even more surprised when I chatted to them about the areas for improvement the first day back.

How does this relate to TL's? What if a TL could do a quick survey (the technology exists) of a year level after a research project was submitted, but before the marks came back? As Beare, Caldwell and Millikan state "Evaluation is the gathering of information for the purpose of making a judgement". It shouldn't be a discrete activity, or carried out in isolation. They make the statement that every aspect of the organisation should be evaluated at one state. I would propose that an individual classroom teacher should at least to one evaluation each subject cycle, ie. Semester. At the senior levels, evaluation at the end of each outcome or major assessment task would be useful.

I have worked in schools that had an appraisal system in place and the presentation of such evaluations would hold you in good stead with the Principal each year. It would show that you were open to the opportunity of continual improvement.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


While reading through Donham’s Chapter on Leadership [1], the part that spoke about luck and serendipity reminded me of a phrase that a former colleague told me a few years back, “there is no such thing as a lack of resources, only a lack of resourcefulness” .. luckily Pinterest has given us this (

The topic up for discussion with this reading is:

"The Donham article refers to journalling and how useful it can be. The idea of journalling can be translated as blogging in our web 2.0 world. "

I would argue that the comment on journaling as a method of reflection, doesn’t necessarily translate into “blogging” per say. I would hesitate to reflect to the depth suggested by Donham in my blog, it is far too “open” and accessible to others within my school community. Blogging with such detail would be in breech of my school’s social networking policy. However, I would choose to reflect at that level using more closed systems such as Livejournal, where I could closely manage who is reading my thoughts.

The use of a blog for reflection in a professional sense has to be closely managed. Blog entries should be singular in focus, link to articles, sites or people that enrich what you are doing. The use of web sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and Flickr can be used to reflect, challenge or inspire in an open blogging environment without compromising professional integrity.

1. Donham, J. (2005). Leadership. In Enhancing teaching and learning : a leadership guide for school library media specialists (2nd ed.) (pp. 295-305). New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers.