Performance over professional learning and the complexity puzzle: lesson observation in England’s further education sector

O'Leary, M. and Wood, P. (2016) Performance over professional learning and the complexity puzzle: lesson observation in England’s further education sector. Professional Development in Education, 43 (4). pp. 573-591. ISSN 1941-5265

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Abstract

Attempts to measure the quality of teaching and learning have resulted in an overreliance on quantitative performance data and the normalisation of a set of reductionist practices in England’s further education sector in recent years. Focusing on lesson observation as an illustrative example and drawing on data from a national study, this article examines the application of observation and its impact on further education teachers’ practice. In viewing lesson observation through a complexity theory lens and contextualising it against the wider neoliberal backdrop of the marketisation of education, we seek to critique the inadequacies of current reductionist approaches to teacher evaluation, whilst simultaneously opening up a debate regarding the consequences of seeing classrooms as complex adaptive systems. In focusing on performative models of lesson observation in particular, the article exposes what we perceive as some of the epistemological and methodological shortcomings of neoliberalism in practice, but also offers an alternative way forward in dealing with the contested practice of evaluating the quality of teaching and learning.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This item is available from the research repository at the University of Leicester
Depositing User: Stephen Macdonald
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2019 15:18
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2020 14:32
URI: http://bgro.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/611

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