Teacher evaluation as perceived by KwaZulu secondary school teachers (with reference to Mehlwesizwe Circuit)
Teacher evaluation is a management tool for all educational organisations 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, identifying potential for promotion and staff development. Over the years teachers have raised serious reservations about teacher evaluation procedures in the United States of America, England and Wales and the Republic of South Africa . As a result, the United States and England and Wales have moved towards teacher evaluation intended for staff development. In this study the researcher investigated the perception of KwaZulu secondary school teachers towards teacher evaluation along the lines of the US and English system of evaluation, i.e. staff development. This study consists of three objectives. The first objective was to ascertain the perception of KwaZulu secondary school teachers with regard to teacher evaluation. The second objective was to find out whether these perceptions are influenced by personal variables of the respondents. The third objective was to determine whether teachers exhibit significant differences with regard to: purpose of evaluation, degree of independence, willingness to be evaluated, attitude toward evaluators, their involvement, and conditions under which evaluation was conducted. The researcher administered a questionnaire to KwaZulu secondary school teachers from Mehlwesizwe Inspection Circuit in urban and rural schools. Unfortunately the research sample was small but it yielded significant results. Over 71% of the respondents were positively disposed toward the evaluation of teachers for professional development, 27% were uncertain about teacher evaluation and 2% were negative. The results also indicated that perception of teacher evaluation was less likely to be influenced by personal variables such as gender, qualification, experience, area of specialization and area of operation. The majority of the respondents in the research sample have shown that the following purposes of teacher evaluation were very important: improvement of staff performance, identification of in-service training needs and the encouragement of self evaluation among teachers. Secondly, the respondents indicated that they were willing to be evaluated if they have control over decisions related to their teaching activities . Thirdly, the respondents revealed that they were willing to be involved in developing an evaluation system but lacked the necessary skills and knowledge about evaluation procedures . Fourthly, they indicated that they trust and they have confidence in their evaluators. Finally, they indicated that the decisions related to the type and use of evaluation data should be shared among all those involved in the evaluation process. The researcher made the following recommendations : ? the KwaZulu Department of Education and Culture should adopt a goal or target setting approach towards the development of the evaluation system. ? classroom observation and the evaluation interview should form part of the overall process of teacher evaluation. pre-service and in-service training of teachers and training of prospective evaluators should be undertaken in a form of seminars, workshops , conferences and a negotiated curricula be included at Universities and Colleges of Education. most importantly, evaluation should concentrate on the improvement of teaching practice.