What can you actually do if your tutors are not embedding literacy and numeracy as well as they should be?


watching-you

Well that’s a curly question…

The other day I reposted part of a transcript between a prosecuting lawyer and the CEO of large tertiary organisation. It was one of the scariest things that I’ve read in this field all year.

Spoiler Alert: In case you didn’t realise, it was fiction.

But I didn’t realise that when I read through it the first time. I had to ask writer and education blogger Damon Whitten who it was. You can read the whole thing here on Damon’s blog (minus the shock value).

Afterwards, (once I had recovered from the near heart attack) I realised that Damon had made me really start thinking hard about what managers and others could actually do to fix their organisations if things weren’t the way the should be.

Professional development is obviously key, but here aren’t any easy answers. Luckily though, Damon had already been working on this as well. Like I said, you should read his whole post here, but one of the things that he advocates is having a really robust system of observing tutors.

I’d really recommend you click through and read the whole thing, but if you’re just too lazy or busy here’s my reductionist bullet point summary.

How to set up a robust system of observing tutors that is safe and effective

  1. Select an experienced, trusted, and respected staff member. Or distribute the tasks to all staff members.
  2. Ensure that tutors know it’s not about checking up on people, but that it is about developing skills, improving performance, and providing positive feedback.
  3. Address concerns.
  4. Give rewarding and encouraging feedback to participants and ask them what they could have done to improve.
  5. Ensure findings are confidential and anonymous.
  6. Summarise findings for management into themes that cannot be traced back to particular tutors.
  7. Circulate the broad findings with tutors first and ask for feedback.
  8. Finalise the report and present to management.
  9. Repeat at key milestones through the year.
  10. Design professional development based on themes that emerge over the long term

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