Teacher appraisal - its relationship to motivation, collegial relationships, and pedagogical change in an early childhood context in Aotearoa New Zealand
Shorter, T. (2013). Teacher appraisal - its relationship to motivation, collegial relationships, and pedagogical change in an early childhood context in Aotearoa New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7933
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7933
A continuing challenge for organisations, management and teachers in early childhood centres in Aotearoa New Zealand is the development, implementation, and sustainability of teacher appraisal systems as mechanisms for supporting learning opportunities for all participants. The Ministry of Education (1998) states that “an effective appraisal system is a positive means of improving the performance of a service’s management and educators and, ultimately, the quality of the service itself” (p. 76). This raises an important question for early childhood leaders to contemplate: What characteristics of appraisal systems support learning opportunities for both teachers and children within an early childhood context in Aotearoa New Zealand? The research project presented in this thesis examines two different systems of teacher appraisal and their relationship to teacher motivation, collegial relationships, and pedagogical change in an early childhood context in Aotearoa New Zealand. This qualitative inquiry was conducted within a socio constructionist framework, and used an interview approach to explore teachers’ experiences of two differing teacher appraisal systems. Data included interviews from four head teachers and five teachers, and their appraisal data over several years. The literature reviewed highlighted that bureaucratic systems of teacher appraisal are likely to have been contrived from a political era where government reform significantly shaped an era of distrust. Approaches to appraisal systems tend to be defined as either ‘professional’ or ‘bureaucratic’ depending on their philosophical differences, and the way in which summative and formative evaluation are used within them. A range of signposts were identified which suggest, that when combined, they contribute to effective appraisal systems. The findings indicate that appraisal systems can have a significant impact on the personal and professional lives of teachers. The ways in which teachers are positioned and valued in relation to their capacity to make professional judgements and evaluate their own teaching can generate negative or positive attitudes to teacher appraisal systems, creating high or low levels of motivation. A system of appraisal using predominantly summative assessment to measure teachers’ competency contributed to the deterioration of collegial relationships, feelings of mistrust, fear, nervousness, and tension around ‘periods’ of appraisal. A system with an emphasis on teacher development, rather than judgement, supported a culture of teacher collaboration, professional dialogue, interpersonal security, and trust. Analysis identified a series of themes and factors within a responsive system of appraisal which contributed to teacher motivation, collegial relationships, and pedagogical change. This study offers stimulus for reflection and dialogue amongst early childhood leaders who aim to improve the performance of teachers, and the service itself. This study does, however, indicate that further investigation into teacher appraisal systems within a range of early childhood organisations and centres is required in order to provide a more extensive examination of ways in which teacher appraisal can be utilized as a means of inspiring teacher professional growth.
University of Waikato
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