The Psychology of Improving Teaching Quality

By Ediger, Marlow | Education, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

The Psychology of Improving Teaching Quality


Ediger, Marlow, Education


Improving the quality of teaching in the classroom is a major goal of inservice education. The classroom teacher is the most important item or person involved to improve the curriculum. Each pupil must have the best education possible. This means that school administrators, supervisors of instruction, as well as classroom teachers need to be be aware of needed improvements which should be made in teaching and learning situations. There are a plethora of ways available to improve the quality of instruction in the classroom. Each plan deserves adequate attention and indepth study to know in what direction the curriculum is to go. A vision of what should be is highly important for all involved in curriculum improvement. Tyler (1949) raised four questions which teachers and administrators should ask about he curriculum:

1. Which objectives should pupils achieve?

2. Which learning activities will assist pupils to achieve these objectives?

3. How should the curriculum be organized?

4. How should pupil achievement be evaluated?

These questions provide a frame work for inservice education of teachers. To improve the quality of teaching and learning situations, different types of inservice education need to be in the offing.

Styles of Leadership

It takes quality leadership to guide and direct a group of professionals to move forward in goal attainment. There are, basically, three leadership styles which may be used by leaders to help others in achieving, growing, and developing in a selected direction. The hierarchical leader tends to be rather directive in his/her leadership role. He/she generally has and uses a one way street of communication. The hierarchical leader knows what is wanted and communicates these ideas to teachers in a meeting, in bulletins, in memos, in conversation, as well as in other ways to force compliance to his/her line of thinking on an issue or trend. Instead of being an issue, there are no pros and cons, but a correct way exists in doing things. The right way is predetermined, prior to any faculty meeting, workshop, or inservice education program. The details have been worked out ahead of time by the school supervisor or principal. These are to be communicated as absolutes to others. There is little or no room for discussion of ideas. The ideal for the hierarchical leader is to have teachers accept his/her commentary as factual content. This rules out debate, elaboration, or extending of presented ideas. Critical and creative thinking, as well as problem solving, are not emphasized in the curriculum.

A second leadership style is titled democratic and it provides participants a plethora of opportunities to discuss ideas presented by others. Ideas for curriculum improvement may come from anyone who will be affected by these decisions. Participants in any meeting know ahead of time what will be discussed and it appears in agenda form, several days before their consideration. The democratic leader invites input from faculty and parents. No one is to be left out who will be affected by decisions made. For each item on an agenda, there needs to be clarification of ideas presented at a meeting. Ideas are analyzed for purposes of viewing pros and cons. Critical thinking is involved. New ideas are also sought within the framework of critical thinking. Thus, creative thinking can be involved. Novel and new ideas can then be forth coming when improving the curriculum! As creative ideas are presented, problem solving needs to occur in order to harmonize, if possible, the many ideas which are generated. The ultimate goal here to is to provide the best curriculum possible for pupils.

A third type if leadership is laissez faire. Laissez faire leadership is just the opposite of hierarchical styles. It stresses each individual making his/her own decisions pertaining to curriculum improvement. There is interaction among teachers if the individual so desires, but coordination and cooperation are lacking.

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