Professional Learning Groups: is it possible to reimagine appraisal culture?
This article draws on a case study of how one school changed its annual appraisal process through the use of Teaching as Inquiry (TAI). Appraisal lies at the nexus of accountability and support for teachers, amidst a backdrop of global neo-liberal reforms and education policy initiatives that has ultimately eroded trust in teachers. This case study will employ the use of Michel Foucault’s “governmentality” (2000a, p. 201) to look at the annual examination of teacher work through appraisal. The contestability of this space, as teachers become sites of both resistance and drivers for change, is highlighted and the successes and challenges of recent innovations will be discussed. While TAI provides opportunity to do ‘ethical work’ to transform teaching pedagogy, it raises the key question of how to reimagine appraisal to adequately provide accountability and promote excellence. A collaborative approach using PLGs (Professional Learning Groups) and critical friends is proposed as one innovative method of transforming teaching pedagogy in this space.
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