Teaching Excellence: Whose responsibility is it?

In elementary and secondary school, there’s no question about it: teachers learned how to teach before they were hired and are expected to keep learning throughout their careers. By managing teaching performance, the school principal is responsible for ensuring that teachers do a good job. This task is also called ‘instructional supervision.’ Some say the principal should have a top-down approach as an inspector of teaching competence. Others promote a shared leadership model where the role of the principal is to support professional growth in teaching (Poole, 1995). This shared leadership model seems an appropriate model for post-secondary education as well.

However, in post-secondary education, good teaching is often seen as the responsibility of instructors alone (Viscovic & Robson, 2006).  In this blog, we posit that teaching excellence is a responsibility shared by instructors and the organization they work for; in other words, the organization should set the instructor up for success. Program chairs play a crucial role in the organization (Hoekstra & Crocker, 2015). In fact, program chairs can create the circumstances that allow the instructor continuous learning and improvement. However, program chairs should also hold instructors accountable for their teaching performance. Instructors, on their part, should do everything in their power to keep improving throughout their teaching career.

Learning requires willingness and opportunity to learn. Good instructional supervisors:

  1. Remove barriers to learning
  2. Create opportunities for learning
  3. Ignite and cultivate a willingness to learn
  4. Support change

Future blog posts will focus on strategies to make this happen.

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