Exploring teacher perceptions towards the developmental appraisal system.
Teacher evaluation is a management tool for all educational organizations as it is used to research information on teacher performance. Information on teacher performance is important in the decision making process regarding employment of teachers, confirmation of appointment, and identifying potential for promotion and staff development. Over the years teachers have raised serious reservations about teacher evaluation procedures in South Arica. In the apartheid days teacher evaluation was summative and contentious. It was marked by unannounced visits by inspectors to observe teachers' lessons. No feedback would be offered after they left. This system was not very well received by educators and teacher unions. Teacher lobby groups, belonging mainly to S.A.D.T.U rejected this system and demanded that it be removed. This case study is a qualitative study of the perceptions of educators in the ex Model C schools in the Queensburgh area, these schools were previously under The House of Assembly and only admitted white children. The study aims to capture to some extent the feelings, views, attitudes and perceptions of the educators towards DAS. The interviews with these educators have provided me with direct evidence of teachers' perceptions towards DAS. DAS was introduced in 1998 and it replaced an autocratic, judgmental and summative system. This system allowed the educator to identify his own developmental needs, through a democratic and formative process with the participation of education managers, peers and experts. This is a developmental approach and it is important at the planning stage to build in time for reflection and improvement in developing strategies. The overall impression gained from the study was that most educators were favorably disposed towards DAS. DAS was found to be a good system and that it would definitely have a positive impact on the professional development and growth of the teacher. However, some educators had reservations about this new system of evaluation. They felt that it was too time consuming and the system allowed for abuse. The policy gave educators the opportunity to review their work output, their strengths and weaknesses, but most of all DAS allowed for helpful and supportive advice and guidance This is a developmental approach and it is important at the planning stage to build in time for reflection and improvement in development strategies for educators to identify their own developmental needs, through a democratic and formative process, together with the participation of education managers, peers and experts. If implemented correctly DAS can make a positive impact on our present education system.