Quality Assurance

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Quality Assurance Powered By Docstoc
					by: Brenda Townsend Hall

I was talking to a DOS [Director of Studies] recently who told me how she hated having to do
lesson observations. It wasn't that she had any objections to the idea of a quality check but she
found that teachers were very defensive and clearly didn't welcome her presence.

It's a difficult issue, isn't it, because the school needs to ensure that students are getting top-
quality teaching but teachers, understandably, feel reluctant to open themselves to possible
criticism.

I think the system works better if quality assurance isn't seen as a top down approach. If
everybody is a partner in working for excellence, teachers need not feel threatened. To begin
with teachers can be asked to be self-reflective. They can be asked to note down what they felt
went well about a lesson and what could be improved. They could then discuss this with the
DOS so that the initiative for improvement comes from them. Peer lesson observation is another
useful tool so that teachers can be mutually supportive. A debriefing session with students can
also help, with teachers conducting regular discussions with their students about what the class
perceives as good.

Feedback from all these activities can be gathered at staff meetings and teachers can make their
own action plans for improvement. Of course, this will only work if the necessary support is
there in the form of additional training, budgets for equipment and materials, and a general
atmosphere of mutual respect.

The main snag about such schemes is that many schools are located in cultures that are strongly
hierarchical with managers seeing workers not as equal partners but as subordinates to be
controlled. It could be difficult in these situations to persuade the school directors that "people"
oriented activities function better by co-operation than by orders from above.

This article was posted on August 30, 2006

				
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