Thursday, January 22, 2009

ADEPT Police????

Several students have used the term "ADEPT Police" either in class or in replies to this Blog - and it brings to light something I believe in: by changing our attitudes, we can change how things affect us. Looking at ADEPT [the assessment system for teachers in South Carolina] as something enforced by "police" it makes the program into an enemy, which casts the assessment into a role it was truly not intended to have. ADEPT replaced the APT [assessment of professional teaching, I think] which was much more formulaic in approach - I remember using the APT assessment instrument where you had to have humor in your lesson. Now, that's not a bad thing, but it can be misused. Imagine that a teacher is conducting a lesson on the Civil Rights movement - does the teacher tell a joke about THAT?? Clearly not. When I used the APT instrument, I gave credit if the teacher smiled! But I know that others interpreted that item differently. I also remember sitting through lessons that scored very high on the APT scale, but that were really really boring. 

At least with ADEPT three lessons are observed and de-briefed - in the old APT days it was just the observation, a number score and out the door. With the de-briefing, teachers can provide a rationale for any changes made in the lessons, or reflect on something that didn't quite work the way it might have worked earlier in the day or perhaps reflect on something that worked much better than expected. There is a conversation about the lesson -- and the standards for ADEPT are nothing more than just good teaching. The crux of the problem is how ADEPT is used, and how observers use the guidelines. As usual, the devil is in the details.

On another note, I'm planning class for next Tuesday evening and hoping that I can provide an experience in which students grow as professionals and leave class refreshed and inspired rather than more tired than they arrived. We'll see . . .


Julie Lance said...

ADEPT Police? I have never heard it described that way. It is true that the devil is in the details, but I believe that, in this case, teachers need the accountability and guidance that ADEPT provides in their first years of teaching. ADEPT provides teachers with a built-in support group of colleagues as well, which is very important no matter how long you have been teaching. I hope that I will consider my ADEPT experience in a positive light, and will understand that it is much more than a "necessary evil".

a. Little said...

Oh Gillis,

Please tell them to give me a hollar when they get into their ADEPT year. Sometimes the smoothness of ADEPT can depend on the observation team.

Watch out...there is an ADEPT observer known as the "ADEPT Nazi" at our school! I find this much less inviting than ADEPT police...LOL

I am so excited I found your blog again! You dont know how many times I typed in coffee nut...whatever with little junkie! I found my old blog too last semester. It was fun to read and gave me hope as I was revisiting Palmer's "Courage to Teach" I now have a signed copy via Momma Nancy Dunlap. I dont write in that one though. :)

java junkie said...

to have a former student come back to see what's going on "in my head" is amazing - but then, so are you.

Chuck Hall said...

I agree with you perspective idea. I think that it is sometimes the teachers and sometimes the observers that give it such a "nazi police" reputation. Some observers have far outlived their usefulness as coaches and need to move on to something else before they go on power trips by making a new teacher's life miserable. On the other hand, there are a lot of teachers that teach for the wrong reasons and should be weeded out. Sometimes someone else realizes this before the teacher has their "wait I shouldn't be here" epiphany. Adept needs to be there. It is sad that like everything else we touch, it is far too imperfect to dodge criticism.