Title page for ETD etd-03302005-103907


Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Mokoena, Mamolahluwa Amelia
Email mokoenam@uniwest.ac.za
URN etd-03302005-103907
Document Title The effects of developmental appraisal policy on teacher learning
Degree PhD (Education Management and Policy Studies
Department Education Management and Policy Studies
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof J D Jansen
Keywords
  • policy implementation
  • teacher performance
  • resource context
  • classroom practices
  • teacher competence
  • policy intentions
  • Teacher Professional Development
  • appraisal
  • quality education
  • teacher learning
Date 2004-10-10
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The Case Study of the Developmental Appraisal System (DAS) is the main focus of this research inquiry. DAS is an instrument for teacher professional development aimed at enhancing the competency of teachers and accordingly, the quality of education. In the context of this exploratory study, informed by concerns about teacher learning, I sought to gain insight into how the implementation of government policy on teacher appraisal influences the way teachers strive to learn and change their practices.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to trace the implementation of government policy on teacher development in different contexts and to determine the extent to which DAS policy influenced teacher learning in these diverse contexts.

The research inquiry is guided by one main research question:

· What are the effects of developmental appraisal policy on teacher learning as seen through the eyes of teachers working in different resource contexts?

In tracing the effects of DAS Policy, I focused on policy breakdown by looking at the views of implementers, i.e., educators at the level of the school. The study also explains how teachers understand the policy, which helped to lay the empirical foundation for exploring teacher learning.

The investigation draws on recent work on what is called “teacher learning” for the conceptual focus. The framework provided a descriptive function that helped to assign content to the new concept on “teacher learning” in education research. It also presented an empirical function and exploratory purpose that assisted in exploring the effects of DAS Policy on the teacher learning.

In seeking responses to the main research question, I conducted qualitative cases of 12 teachers who have been involved in the various phases of DAS. Teachers were selected from different resource contexts and sampled on the basis of their different profiles. I used teacher testimonies composed qualitatively through multiple methods of data collection, viz. biographical data, free writing schedule, semi-structured interviews, critical incident reports and teacher diaries. From the data generated, the following are the main findings of the study:

· Teachers find the developmental promises of DAS to be unpersuasive because of its identification with the previous inspection system, and because of teachers’ identification with more powerful sources of learning.

· The failure of the policy to give recognition in practice to the diverse contexts within which teachers work had a negative effect on teacher learning.

· Teacher learning is an extremely complex process, and to pin down its critical features is very difficult in a developing country context.

· Teachers found it difficult to ascribe “learning” to their DAS experiences given the largely negative experiences of the policy implementation process.

· Context contributed to the disjuncture between understanding and practice in terms of teacher development and in particular to teacher learning.

Finally, given the importance of teacher professional development in the reform process there is need for further research on how to effectively promote teacher learning. In addition, in considering the implications that diverse work contexts have for teacher learning in developing countries, policymakers can aim at effective programmes that will strengthen teacher learning. Therefore, research needs to address the link between teacher learning and diverse work contexts in different ways.

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