Sunday, June 16, 2013

Danielson: What We Lost – The Lesson Plan

While the ink is drying on John King’s decision and our Union touts how great Danielson is as an evaluative tool it is becoming clearer just how much our current contract was changed without a single vote from one of our members. Of course there is much that will be decided and practice may be implemented in different ways in different schools but there are some changes which could cause major problems to future employment.

Under 8E of our contract a lesson plan is for the use of the teacher. Who knows what we gave up to get this provision in our contract but it was important enough to stop principals from routinely collecting lesson plans or forcing teachers to spend punishment time creating documents. An extraordinary example of the abuse was when a bilingual Chinese teacher who wrote her lesson plans in Chinese was given a letter to her file because the principal could not read the plan and would not allow her to translate it.

Similarly a more experienced teacher who has good command of her pedagogy need not write down every aspect of a lesson to demonstrate good planning where a newer teacher might need some prompts. It’s like going to a good friend’s house who has just moved upstate. The first visit you put his address in MapQuest and follow the detailed turns. By the fifth visit you’ve figured out shortcuts and don’t need a map.

Lesson planning is essential to effective teaching. Danielson recognizes this in Domain 1. But evidence of good lesson planning is how the lesson is preformed, not in a piece of paper a supervisor must rate you on.

Under Danielson 2 out of our 22 rated components specifically deal with the lesson plan, component 1e and 1f. Under component 1e, the lesson plan is mentioned as part of a teacher’s design for coherent instruction. Here a highly effective teacher will have a lesson plan that “clearly indicates the concepts taught in the last few lessons” and that “the teacher plans for his students to link the current lesson outcomes to those they previously learned." An effective teacher “reviews lesson plans with her principal; they are well structured, with pacing times and activities clearly indicated.” An ineffective “teacher’s lesson plans are written on sticky notes in his grade book.” Source:  Danielson 2013 Rubric-Adapted to New York Department of Education Framework for Teaching Components.

Similarly, component 1f, designing student assessments, appears to evaluate a lesson plan based on how well it “indicates correspondence between assessments and instructional outcomes.”

To be clear, both before King and Danielson and after King and Danielson you need a plan. It’s just now the plan is not for the teacher and it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve driven to your friend’s house; you better have a copy of the turn by turn directions or you may be rated ineffective.


NYC Educator said...

I get your point, and agree completely. I'm told there is a union-initiated grievance against this nonsense, for whatever it's worth.

paul hogan said...

Re. Union-initiated grievance: one doubts that it's worth anything. I sent anecdotals , in total between 6 ,000 and 8,000 words, of Danielson-related abuses and absurdities to UFT Veep Fortino in 2011-2012.

Nothing. UFT high command *loves* Danielson. For some mysterious reason. It's exceedingly strange.

Re. lesson plan: it's *worse* than that, actually. We had to write-out the NYS Standards being addressed PLUS the Common Core Standards being addressed. On every plan, every lesson, every period.

One teacher got rated ineffective on planning because ... even though he/she did all of the above, he/she failed to also write-out the various IEP goals being addressed for each student by the lesson. (D75 Special ed class; they ALL have ieps.)

Danielson.... as implemented by the DOE ... is a completely portable, fully self-contained , idiot-proof ( in the sense that any idiot can check the boxes and cut and paste comments into them) Hostile Work Environment. In fact, that's the attraction of this particular teacher observation "system".
I blogged about it here: