Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

The education system in Pakistan has been struggling in distinguishing a good from a bad teacher. Good teachers bring name and fame to the schools while bad teachers cause parents’ dissatisfaction and children’s dropouts. In the government system tools such as the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) or also known as PER (Personal Evaluation Report) are used to gauge their teachers’ progress. The discussion of the effectiveness of these tools is out of the scope of this article. In the smaller private sector schools, there are no robust systems available to manage teachers. One of the important tools to manage employees’ performance within the organization is to conduct an ongoing performance appraisal protocol followed by constructive feedback for the attainment of goals at the individual and organizational level (School Human Resource Management, 2010). Performance appraisal is a cyclical process in which goals and expectations are communicated; employees are held responsible and accountable; constructive feedback is shared and high and low-performing employees are differentiated fairly (Penn State Human Resource, 2017). The process also requires proper planning of in-classroom observation and constructive feedback mechanism based on performance evaluation indicators that should be part of the observation checklist (Congcong & Congcoy, 2020).

Studies reveal that Teachers Performance Appraisal (TPA) is a tool in the hand of management to use it for accountability purposes i.e. to promote or demote them based on their high and poor performance respectively. TPA is also used for teachers’ professional development purposes through which their strengths and weaknesses in pedagogy and subject matter are not only surfaced but also overcome by sharing feedback with them (Panhoon &Wongwinich, 2014). Both the purposes of TPA such as accountability and professional development of teachers are being practiced in the private school system where high-performing teachers and headteachers are awarded with cash awards. Nevertheless, it is a sensitive protocol as awarding a prize to a few individuals in front of a huge gathering triggers discontentment and resentment among other teachers and staff and they frequently blame the management for being unfair. In the past, many teachers were fired due to showing poor performance consistently and they challenged their termination cases in courts.

 Studies also noted that TPA cannot be fair and effective if carried out with biases and lack of understanding of its essence as in such condition teachers’ performance and job satisfaction gets declined. Headteachers are mostly associated with performance management in schools but most of them are lacking leadership and management skills in managing teachers’ performance appraisal. According to Congcong and Congcoy (2020) “It is crystal clear that school heads lacked a common understanding of what feedback mechanism is all about”(P 238). It is also believed that a common issue emerges and that is negative feedback shared by the headteacher which discourages the employees; hurts their self-esteem and affects their performance (School Human Resource Management, 2010). On the other hand, positive performance appraisal feedback develops confidence and self-esteem; raises enthusiasm; increases appropriate risk-taking; creativity, and makes employees feel acknowledged that finally inspires them to perform their assigned tasks effectively (Penn State Human Resource, 2017). As mentioned earlier that TPA is a sensitive area and those who use it as a tool for accountability purposes should be scrupulous in handling the entire process in terms of understanding and neutrality.

The way forward is to go for the alternatives as there is multiple feedback mechanism in place such as one-on-one feedback meeting; conversational feedback; general feedback and reflective feedback. One-on-one feedback is important when individual weaknesses get surfaced and this mechanism is helpful to overcome the deficiencies without hurting the self-esteem in public. Whereas, in conversational feedback, the evaluator discusses the issue or error in detail and the general feedback mechanism is also prevalent in schools for corrective measures in teaching and learning processes.

Last but not least, in reflective practice, the staff members are guided on self-evaluation protocol through which individuals not only reflect on their strengths and weaknesses but also think differently to overcome the loopholes. Self-reflection protocol is recommended by educationists and researchers to use it as a successful tool for their professional growth by engaging themselves in the critical reflection process upon their classroom practices. The dynamic of the teaching profession requires teachers to be reflective practitioners by questioning their practices for their professional development to improve their job performance. (Mathew, Mathew, Prince &Pichattu, 2017). In this regard, maintaining reflective journals on daily basis is vital to highlight strengths and weaknesses and plan a viable strategy to overcome the learning gaps in the next class. Reflective journals require certain disciplines to write the main classroom teaching experiences both effective and ineffective and they can describe their reaction and feelings for correction purposes (Mathew, et al, 2017). Moreover, novice teachers can also get help from experienced teachers to improve their pedagogical content knowledge. But it is not easy as such attitude needs a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing among each other for their professional growth that would help attain organizational goals.

Succinctly, it can be concluded from the above discussions that TPA is an important protocol to improve teachers’ pedagogy and subject matter knowledge. However, if TPA is carried out without understanding its dynamics then it can affect teachers’ self-esteem negatively. TPA is mostly conducted by headteachers in schools and they need to be cognizant of its sensitivity. Though there are different performance appraisal mechanisms self-reflection is mostly suggested by researchers to apply in schools as it is said to be more constructive and growth-oriented than other forms of the appraisal.  

References

Congcong, D. J.G & Congcoy, E. M. (2020) Feedback mechanism of headteacher on teachers performance. European Journal of Educational Studies 7(3) 236-253

Mathew, P; Mathew, P; Mathew, P; Prince & Peechattu J, (2017). Reflective Practices: A Means to Teacher Development. Asia Pacific Journal of Contemporary Education and Communication Technology (APJCECT) 3(1) 126-131.

Panhoon, S &Wongwinich, S. (2014). An analysis of teachers’ feedback for improving teaching quality in primary schools. Social and Behavioral Science 116(2014) 4124-4130.   

Penn State Human Resource (2017). Performance Management Cycle: Giving and receiving feedback. Seminar for supervisors. The Pennsylvania State University.

School Human Resource Management, (2010). Performance Management and Appraisal. Retrieved from https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/456748.pdf

          

By Karim Khan

The author is an educationist and serving as an Instructor/Vice Principal at Government College of Education Jutial Gilgit

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