Made to measure
Perhaps I am a cynic, but I am already genuinely surprised to see so many positive outcomes resulting from the performance management cycle. In the schools where I work, I have been pleased to observe the new mechanism of performance management having a speedy impact.
Teachers are getting improved access to career, personal and professional advice and development. For a very long time the profession has needed suitable channels where every teacher can feel valued as a professional. Teachers need easy access to quality professional development that enhances individual strengths and offers support where possible weakness may evolve. The system mustn't let teachers down now. I continue my Made to measure series with ideas and support materials to assist every classroom teacher in the performance management cycle. Since ICT is now a fundamental skill permeating every part of teaching and learning, it makes sense that all teachers should use it as a tool for their own career tracking and evaluation. At www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit you'll find many links and free resources to use by all teachers in the performance management cycle.
* Using ICT for you?
Since every teacher is entitled to consistent and relevant professional development throughout their professional lives they should take personal responsibility for this from the moment their teaching career begins. A "teaching career audit" (TCA) which contains a synopsis of every event including courses attended, copies of performance management reviews and all career-related information must be kept. Your TCA must be ongoing and kept up to date. When a CV is needed, key facts may be extracted from your TCA. As it builds up it will become a comprehensive bibliography of your career.
Good teachers have always taken a retrospective look at lessons they have taught and evaluated their successes and failures. We have all had disastrous lessons, learned from mistakes and changed our future lesson plans for that subject. But have you ever evaluated your whole teaching style over a period of time to identify common threads in the way you teach? At www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit there is a checklist template to help you do this. If you were to do this before your performance management objective setting review, you will have a focused start for discussions with your team leader.
* Pupil Progress
The Magic markbook series last year in TES Online contained advice for simple effective methods to track pupil progress using ICT. Our aim with this series was t guide teachers through the process of setting pupil monitoring and tracking systems that clearly inform and enhance teachers' professional judgements to promote better teaching and learning. You will need to develop your own style of assessment data manipulation that best suits your school and classes. A visit to the Magic markbook site at www.tes.co.ukonlineassessit is a must for all teachers to guide them through the pupil progress section.
* Your team leader
The content of the dialogue between a team leader and the reviewee will be unique but the format will be common. Your team leader will be following a structured procedure that ensures complete objectivity. In last month's Made to measure column I offered suggestions on how the team leader's task is best carried out using ICT as the principal tool. If teachers are to build an electronic TCA team, leaders must also communicate through an ICT medium. If your team leader is not yet ready for this, you can scan all documentation.
* Support from education agencies
Things have really moved on since we started writing the Made to measure series. As with most new initiatives in education, performance management has had to be implemented in the dark. However, now it's in place, the DFEE is offering good advice on how this should happen! The DFEE and associated websites are now excellent and every teacher should be familiar with what is on offer. Perhaps one objective for every teacher in the first year should be to surf the education Webs and share their findings with other staff. Try www.gtce.org.uk, www.teachernet.gov.uk, www.dfee.gov.ukteacherscpd, or www.standards.dfee.gov.uk for starters. You'll find all links on the DFEE site at www.dfee.gov.uk
* A whole school approach
How much is ICT used for teacher administration in your school? If you say no to any of the questions below you have identified key objectives for performance management.
* Do you receive most communications from other staff in electronic form?
* Are your pupil assessment records stored centrally in electronic format?
* Do you have easy access to relevant records of the pupils you teach?
* Do you write reports on a PC?
* Are your schemes of work and lesson plan templates stored electronically?
At www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit you'll find a comprehensive list of questions such as these. They'll get you thinking if nothing else.
Lynne Taylor runs Cogent Computer Solutions, based in Kenilworth. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous assessment materials can be accessed on the TES Online website www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit