Using Electronic Self-Assessment to Develop Effective Conferencing Skills
Conferencing is the commonly used vehicle for improving instruction by providing feedback to teachers. However, it is the nature of the feedback given to the teacher and how it is delivered, using effective conferencing strategies and techniques, that will actually involve the teacher in understanding, accepting, agreeing and initiating changes, or make him angry and hostile. This article focuses on defining effective conferencing strategies, and the process that was used to help program participants preparing for leadership certification to practice these strategies in a clinical setting. The leadership program at Hunter College prepares educators for certification as school building and district leaders. Supervision of instruction for student achievement is considered the heart of the work of the school and district leader. Therefore a major focus for program participants seeking leadership certification is on content and practice for conferencing effectiveness. Participants learn and practice these skills in simulations, and then implement them by trying out their abilities in the field in real observation and conferencing experiences with a practicing classroom teacher. Participants video-tape themselves conducing conferences with their practicing classroom teacher clients following an observation. They then view the video of their conference performance and self-assess their conferencing skills by electronically recording the behaviors they observe using a set of criteria and design a growth plan for the further development of their conferencing skills.
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