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Teacher Development and Supervision – The Role of Principals in Icelandic Compulsory Schools. Börkur Hansen and Steinunn Helga Lárusdóttir School of Education, University of Iceland ENIRDELM September 16-18, 2010 University of Szeged, Hungary

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Teacher development and supervision the role of principals in icelandic compulsory schools l.jpg

Teacher Development and Supervision – The Role of Principals in Icelandic Compulsory Schools

Börkur Hansen and Steinunn Helga Lárusdóttir

School of Education, University of Iceland

ENIRDELM September 16-18, 2010

University of Szeged, Hungary

Hungarian-Netherlands School of Educational Management

Doees Leadership Matter? Implications for Leadership Development and the Schoolas a Learning Organization


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Context in Iceland

  • Limited research

  • The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) in compulsory schools (age 6-16):

  • TALIS – some findings

    • Principals:

      • 37% of principals never conduct appraisal

      • 56% of them claim that teachers are never appraised by other staff


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Context in Iceland

  • Talis – some findings:

    • Teachers:

      • 30% teachers at the lower secondary level never receive any appraisal or feedback from their principals

      • 23% of teachers at the lower secondary level never receive any appraisal or feedback from their peers.

      • 17.5% of teachers at the lower seconday level and 19,5 at the elementary level say that principals or other managers inspect their teaching


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Questions

  • This raises questions concerning instructional leadership in compulsory schools in Iceland:

    • How is supervision of teaching and learning implemented?

    • What is the role of principals in that context?


Supervision l.jpg
Supervision

  • Traditional meaning

    • Direct, watch over, oversee, superintend, appraise

    • To control the behaviour of teachers by giving feedback on their work


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A shift in emphasis

  • Congenial (conventional) supervisory model

    • Direct, watch over, oversee, superintend, appraise

  • Collegial supervisory model involves the following:

    • A collegial rather than a hierarchical relationship between teachers and formaly designated teachers

    • Supervision is the province of teachers as well as designated supervisors

    • Emphasis on growth rather than compliance

    • Teamwork concerning instructional improvement efforts

    • Involvement of staff in ongoing inquiery

      • Glickman et al. (2010). Supervision and instructional leadership. A developmental approach (8. edition). Boston: Pearson.


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Major technical tasks

  • Direct assistance

  • Group development

  • Professional development

  • Curriculum development

  • Evaluation of practice

    Glickman et al. (2010). Supervision and instructional leadership. A developmental approach (8. edition). Boston: Pearson

Collegial

supervision


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The study on teaching and learning in Icelandic schools

  • Overview

    • Comprehensive study – six pillars:

      • Internal structures, learning environment, attitudes towards student learning, teaching strategies and practices, student activities and reseponsibilities, parental involvement

    • Research team concerning each pillar

    • 20 schools participate in the study

    • Overall research team consists of about 50 people

    • Data collection: Interviews, questionnaries, classroom observations, focus groups, documents, pictures,

    • Data collection is almost completed in 10 schools


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Study on teaching and learning

  • How is supervision of teaching and learning conducted?

  • Two major types of practice surfacing from the data; two schools selected as cases in point

    • Type A

    • Type B


  • Type a l.jpg

    Activities

    Staff meetings

    Administrative team meetings

    Administrative team meetings with block leaders

    Block leader meetings with teachers

    Various developmental projects in operation (group leaders)

    Interviews with staff by administrative team the basis for professional development

    Evaluation is conducted annually (administrative team)

    External evaluations conducted by central office – examine direct teaching in classrooms

    Type A

    • Structure

      • Principal

      • Middle manager

      • Special eduaction teacher

      • Block leader - Grades 1-6

      • Block leader - Grades 7-10

      • Team teaching in the lower grades


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    Principal

    • Direct assistance (appraisal):

      • “No, we do not have a formal appraisal system, not at all. I have always wanted to establish such a system. Before I came to this school, I appraised my teachers. This is the stage I am at in this school.”


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    Assistant principal

    • Collaboration:

      • “Yes, we are doing extremely well, .., we somehow connect well with one another in this school and these connections are based on trust. The principal is really doing well in creating this team spirit, she really is, you know.”


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    Study on teaching and learning

    • Type A

      • No direct assistance to teachers based on classroom observations

      • Teachers group development is to a large extent limited to the teachers in the two blocks – teachers who teach in Grades 1-6; and the teachers who teach in Grades 7-10 – and the teams that are responsible for various developmental projects

      • Professional development is planned in accordance with school needs and teachers interests based on interview and collaboration with teachers

      • Curriculum development is to a large extent conducted by the teachers who teach at each level

      • Evaluation of practice is usualy carried out by aswering questionnaries and participating in internal review panels


    Type b l.jpg

    Activities

    Staff meetings

    Administrative team meetings

    Meetings with teams – observation of teaching a part of daily management – coaching of teams

    Various developmental projcets in operation

    Evaluation is carried out by several means all year around

    Strategic interviews with staff tvice a year

    Interviews with staff the basis for professional development

    External evaluations conducted by central office examine direct teaching in classrroms

    Type B

    • Structure

      • Principal

      • Assistant principal

      • Student adviser

      • All teaching conducted by team teaching

        • Grades 1-2

        • Grades 3-4

        • Grades 5-7

        • Grades 8-10

      • Teaching methods and student grouping is variable


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    Principal

    • Team work:

      • “We work in teams – there is never one teacher or member of staff in this school with a group of students.”

      • “There are collaborative meetings every week and the teams are in constant development concerning their instruction.”

    • Supervison:

      • “I have myself experimented with many aspects of team teaching, so I can provide considerable guidance. I go around the school every day and visit the teams in order to make observations and provide feedback, usually in a meeting a little later”


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    Principal

    • Staff interviews and direct assistance:

      • “I have a fixed system – fall interviews in October and winter interviews in February.”

      • “I prepare the day before by noting down everything I have observed, things they do well and things they need to improve. ... This works extremely well.”

      • “They like this form, I use it to praise them, outline their style, and talk about areas that need improvement.”


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    Assistant Principal

    • Collaboration:

      • “I think we have managed quite well to become a collaborative group in this school – all ideas are appreciated and welcomed – they are discussed and devloped in one way or another. We try to involve all and give them opportunities to develop their ideas. Some may turn into develeopmental projects ... We, the principals, are of course the leaders, but I think we have managed to involve all the staff in what we are doing.”


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    Study on teaching and learning

    • Type B

      • Considerable direct assistance to teachers – based on team observations and strategic interviews with staff

      • Teachers group development is an integral part of the team teaching approach, coached by the principal

      • Professional development is planned according to observations of teaching by principals and strategic interviews and collaboration with staff

      • Curriculum development is conducted by teams of teachers in collaboration with principals

      • Evaluation of practice is an integral part of daily activities


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    In conclusion

    • The role of principals in the exemplary schools!

      • Direct supervison by principals is limited in type A, but strategic in type B

      • There is considerable group development, professional development, curriculum development and evaluation of practice that take place in both the schools, i.e. type A and B

    • Supervisory practices in Icelandic schools are larger in scope than outlined in TALIS


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