Training administrators to observe and evaluate teachers: Implementation of a teacher observation and evaluation program

Lauren Allan, Fordham University


Most preservice training for school administrators stresses the understanding of leadership theories and the development of leadership styles; it does not adequately address all the complex issues involved in doing teacher observations that result in improved teacher practice. Principals need to understand what good teaching looks like and how to analyze it if they are going to help teachers improve instruction. How do administrators build skills in this area so that the observation process improves teachers' practice? A great deal has been written about effective systems for supervising teachers. Very little research, however, exists on how to train administrators to supervise teachers effectively. The purpose of this study was to explore whether focused training of administrators on the components of effective instruction and on doing observations, results in an observation process which gives teachers feedback that improves their practice. This case study took place in a small suburban district in Westchester County, New York, and included four building administrators and the teachers they supervise. A qualitative case study was conducted to explore this issue. The research design included analysis of a training program implemented by an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, analysis and comparison of observation reports done prior to and following training, observations of administrators conducting preobservation and postobservation conferences, analysis of changes made to the observation process, and interviews with administrators and teachers they supervise. The findings suggest that training, along with an ongoing focus on effective instruction, can change an administrator's ability to engage in an observation process with teachers that results in improved instruction. The training needs to be differentiated based on the knowledge base and learning styles of the administrators being trained. It would be an exaggeration to say this district has solved all the problems associated with observation. It has, however, promoted professional dialogue and enhanced professional learning for its administrators. They have improved their coaching skills, are now more able to provide supportive feedback to teachers, and have come to value the observation process as a way to help teachers grow and develop.

Subject Area

School administration|Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Allan, Lauren, "Training administrators to observe and evaluate teachers: Implementation of a teacher observation and evaluation program" (2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3262842.