Dr. DeAnn Currin

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Title Making sense of teaching: Novice and expert supervisors
Author Currin, De Ann Nuernberger
School The University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Degree PhD
Date 1992
Adviser Bryant, Miles
Pages 167
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Abstract This qualitative study investigated and compared what novice and expert elementary school teacher evaluators pay attention to when they observe a teaching performance and what cognitive schemas they use to make sense of the information. The setting was a school district in a midwest community of 191,972 people. There are 43 building administrators and 1,141 certified teachers at the elementary level. The pool of experts came from reputational sampling. Three male and three female novice and three male and three female expert participants were selected by random draw for a total of 12 participants. Analysis of the qualitative data obtained through interviews, examination of documents written during teaching observations, and a reflective journal found commonalities in the categories novice and expert supervisors paid attention to during teaching observations. Their responses related to instruction, interpersonal skills, climate, and classroom management. Novice and expert supervisors entered the room with a different objective and their collection of data and analysis reflected that difference. Experts entered with a focus of collecting data to explore with the teacher. Novices focused on the classroom experience for teacher appraisal. Experts recorded what the teacher said and the unexpected student responses. This recorded data helped in analysis to recreate the lesson in their mind. Experts withheld judgment and continued to collect data from the teachers throughout the entire appraisal process. The experts' schema of good teaching included 'many right ways to teach.' They did not want to compare teaching to one external standard. Their goal was to provide a process for working with teachers to better understand the classroom experience. Most novice supervisors recorded pieces of what they saw and heard in the classroom as well as judgments about their observations. Novices saw themselves as helpers who needed to provide reinforcement and suggestions to teachers.
 
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