Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Education and Evaluation – Part II – How INSTROTEACH Worked – How Objectives Were Written and How Teaching Activities Were Devised

I don’t know what is taught today about teaching activities and how students learn. Maybe what I am sharing is old hat or out of date, but many basic concepts seem to be missing from discussion of school problems and teacher evaluation in the media. Furthermore, I doubt if anyone in the churches takes teaching as seriously as it was by the educators I am describing from past decades. Most church school teachers reject any curriculum that requires planning. Thus many non-denominational (and often fundamentalist) curricula are sold which have teaching activities pre-prepared. I remember that many of the teachers who listened to us in Duluth genuinely thought of what they were doing as ministry (i.e., important) and they wanted to do it as well as possible.

I wrote yesterday how n the late ‘60's, church educators took IOTA, a secular Instrument for the Observation of Teacher Activities, and adapted it to become INSTROTEACH, the INSTRument for the Observation of TEaching Activites in the Church. In addition to R. Merwin Deever and Locke Bowman, Jr., Howard J. Demeke, Raymond E. Wochner were writers of materials. Earl Cunningham, William Hastings, Elizabeth Helz, Irving Hitt, Oscar J. Hussel, Harold Minor, Mary Stepan, and Ralph A. Strong were in the editorial group. Some of these were seminary profs in education. (I think that this field hardly exists today.)

The seven areas of teacher competence for university teachers and six for public school teachers became five for church teachers:
1. Director of Learning
2. Guide and Counselor
3. Mediator and Interpreter of the Christian Faith
4. Link with the Community
5. Participant in the Church’s Teaching Ministry.
These five areas encompass 120 statements of what a good teacher does. These are the activities that are evaluated.

There were 14 observation scales:
1. Use of Materials in Teaching
2. Opportunity for Student Participation
3. Attitude toward Opinion
4. Classroom Control
5. Developing the Physical Environment
6. Student-Teacher Planning
7. Teacher Preparation for Classroom Session
8. Variety in Learning Activities
9. Relation of Church Subject Matter to Life Situations
10. Student Inquiry into Subject Matter
11. Recognition of Learning Difficulties
12. Social Climate
13. Classroom Activities to Encourage Christian Action
14. Developing Student Skill in Interpretation of the Bible

For each scale there is a statement of greatest effectiveness. For “Use of Materials in Teaching” this statement was: “Makes effective use of a wide variety of well-selected materials provided by the church and by his own initiative.” Four other statements had less and less to say so that the worst teaching “Makes ineffective or no used of materials provided by the church.” The observer could choose the statement describing what she observes without having to think much about it.

The 13 interview scales bring out the following information:
15. Evaluation of Individual Student Progress
16. Awareness of Peer Relationships
17. Personal Relationships with Individual Students
18. Development of Student Self-Concept
19. Cooperation with Professional Church Staff in Counseling Problems
20. Participation in Life of the Church
21. Parent Orientation to Church Education
22. Use of Community Resources
23. Community Involvement
24. Program of Personal Study
25. Relation of Classroom Program to Overall Aims of Parish Education
26. Participation in Staff Planning
27. Responsibility for Improvement of Teaching Skill

The Teaching Skills Institute workshop went beyond the INSTROTEACH evaluation instrument. We learned how to identify concepts for a lesson, and to cluster and classify them so that we could write key statements about the subject. We learned how to write goals and objectives. Goals were understood as global and tell where you are going. Objectives are not what the teacher will do but what the student will be able to do as a result of the teaching activities. Verbs would include name, list, identify, write, explain, compare, contrast. The objective will be observable student behavior and may include the conditions under which the behaviors are performed and the expected quality of student performance such as accuracy. Tests were easy to create once we knew what we were trying to elicit from the students.

We learned to choose deductive or inductive teaching strategies and how to combine them. We chose "media" for activities, wrote lesson plans, and then learned a simpler system to self-analyze teacher-student interaction in the classroom, which I will detail tomorrow.

Let’s note thus far that these systems assume that teachers evaluate students on the basis of what they can do, and that teachers can be evaluated on the basis of what they do. This was helpful to me when my senior pastor wanted to evaluate me, not on what I did, but on whether or not I met his goals. His objective was to create a youth group of 50 members. My objectives were the things I would do to attain that. I could not guarantee the result he wanted. Job evaluation should be done on the basis of whether one accomplishes objectives that he or she has had a role in writing. Then you can talk about whether you have done your work and how well you have done it. We can go further – There have been efforts in the church to evaluate the total organization and its “mission,” but it’s easier to spread rumors and unhappiness with the pastor, based on personality conflicts. INSTROTEACH led to a simple way to evaluate pastors which I will explain in a few days.

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