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  • Matthew Woods

"A Post-Observation Conference"(Conversational Analysis Perspective)


Introduction

Post-observation conferences between administrators and teachers are widely used in K-12 to promote teachers’ reflection on their instruction, and in turn, improvement in instructional effectiveness. Scholars have examined how these conversations derive from pedagogical references, professional development structures, and supervision philosophies (Leonard, 2002; Sparks, 2002; Zepeda, 2007). Yet, little research has been conducted to examine what actually goes on in post-observation conferences between teachers and administrators (Wragg, 2013). This data analysis write-up addresses this gap in the literature by investigating the instructional dialogue that takes place during this interaction. By examining this post-observation conversation using conversation analysis, this paper will contribute empirical data to the ways teachers and administrators talk about instructional strategies during post-observation conferences. Findings will inform work that seeks to validate the merit in conducting post-observation conferences to improve instructional practices in K-12 classrooms.


Conceptual Literature


Teacher Perceptions

Bangs and Frost (2012) surveyed teachers in multiple countries (and grade levels) to gauge their opinions on the influence they have on professional development in their schools. The data showed that majority of teachers think it is normal for teachers to lead these discussions (within their sphere of influence), however many of these same teachers do not feel teachers should lead changes beyond their influence. Ironically, when asked about the perceived influence they have over “policy and practice both in their schools and beyond in their districts and even nationally,” three quarters of teachers “indicated that they are able to exert some influence” (2012, p. 19). Bangs and Frost (like myself) found this contradiction peculiar, and noted it in their findings:


What is abundantly clear is that, if the responses to the question about actuality indicates doubt about the extent of influence, the responses to the question about the importance of having such influence is unambiguous… The discussion in these ‘survey workshops’ reinforced this, but the statements did not, as some policy makers might suppose, indicate that teachers simply look to improving their own material working conditions or reducing the intensity of their work, considerable as this may be; rather they seek to be more effective teachers… (2012, p. 19).


The ways in which Bangs and Frost (2012) highlight this discrepancy sheds light on the exponential number of declarations that can arise during institutional dialogue. These assertions are constantly fluid based on the contextualization and levels of understanding by the participants (Liddicoat, 2007).


The perceptions participants (in this case, educators) bring towards institutional policies and procedures orientates the dialogue (Silverman, 1998; ten Have, 2004). These perceptions can impact how educators listen and respond to feedback during instructional post-observation conversations. As we hear ideas that conflict with our biases, norms and convictions, we become defensive in our responses. Nichols and Stevens (1999) use an example of a conversation between a firm accountant and general manager to prove how this can occur. As the firm accountant began to tell the general manager that they had just heard from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the general manager stated, “Can’t they leave me alone? Every year the government milks my profits to a point where…” Although the firm accountant never told the general manager what they said, he automatically concluded it was a negative connotation because it came from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (p. 12). As Silverman (1998, p. 51) noted, a social organization can be “observed within the structures” of a conversation. Within the realms of an organization, participants perceptions are shaped by their previous and current interactions in that space.


When measuring teacher’s perceptions of pre- and post-observation conferences, Range, Young, and Hvidston (2013) discovered that teachers valued the post-observation conferences higher. Although participants “identified all elements of the post-observation conference as important, respondents identified constructive feedback delivered by the principal/ supervisor as the most important element” (p. 72). However, this feedback needs to be tailored in a fashion that is applicable to the specific teacher, and navigates the emotional underlyings at play. Khachatryan (2015) study examined the nature of feedback give from observations, and teachers perceptions of that feedback. Her findings uncovered that the administrator’s specific feedback regarding their instructional practices prompted the teachers’ reflection. Additionally, Khachatryan (2015) noted that every teacher in her “study respected Jason (the administrator) immensely and valued him as an educator, not just a leader” (p. 184). The implementation of professional development in K-12 settings hinges on the perceptions all participants bring during these instructional collaborations.


Evaluation of Teachers

Feedback plays an essential role in education. Drago-Severson and Blum-DeStefano (2014) argued that “feedback for growth involves intentionally differentiating feedback” so teachers can make meaning of it to improve instruction (p. 1). Teacher evaluations are one of the times when administrators analyze instructional performance, and provide feedback to the teacher on what they have seen to promote growth. Evaluation of teacher’s instruction should not be instituted to criticize teachers, because this will “situate teachers in a deficit” manner (Zepeda, 2007, p. 49). Drago-Severson, Blum-DeStefano, and Asghar (2013) argued that there is a “long-standing knowledge gap” to how “school leaders support adult learning and growth” in their schools (p. 15). Concurrently, this impacts the means and methods in which administrators give feedback to teachers. Current evaluation methods have structured instructional supervision to align with “substantial and competent evidence” that follows “due process” and avoids subjective claims (Hazi and Rucinski, 2016, p. 188). However, these formalized mandates do not provide guidance on promoting these suggestions to teachers. True instructional supervision builds off the components discussed in the previous section to build coherence between all facets of instruction. Coherence not only links evaluation, supervision, and professional development, but it unifies their impact (Zepeda, 2007). 


Hazi and Rucinski (2016) discuss three approaches to judging teachers’ instruction: fault-finding approach, instrument approach, and inquiry approach. Fault-finding looks for errors in someone’s actions. Instrument approach requires the supervisor to look for accurate evidence that fits into the instrument. Inquiry approach allows the supervisor to “think deeply and thoughtfully” about what they see (Hazi and Rucinski, 2016, p. 192). While all three approaches have various levels of complexities, they all provide different perspectives in delivering feedback. Unfortunately, many administrators have become trapped under the first two categories, and rejected inquiry feedback. According to Hazi and Rucinski (2016):

leading reflective inquiry about student learning with teachers is a challenge for many supervisors, often because they have not studied teaching and teacher learning. Using such inquiry to further the professionalism of teachers as adult learners is even more challenging (p. 195).


Additionally, they further highlight that teacher choice/autonomy and professional development built-in traditional work days are precluded due to the innate challenging of “building and district leaders on these principles” (p. 196). Although these items are precluded to mandate district, state, and federal policies, administrators can still institute inquiry feedback in thoughtful fashions to promote instructional activities in their schools.  

The purpose of this paper is to addresses the gap in the literature by investigating the instructional dialogue that takes place during post-observation conferences between administrators and teachers. By examining the attached post-observation conversation using conversation analysis, this paper will contribute empirical data to the ways teachers and administrators talk about instructional strategies during post-observation conferences. 


Theoritical Literature


Conversation Analysis


Conversation Analysis (commonly referred to as CA) is a qualitative approach used by researchers “to study the organization and orderliness of social interaction” (Liddicoat, 2007, p. 6). CA grew out of the research produced by Harold Garfinkel called Ethnomethodology (Garfinkel, 1967, 1996; Liddicoat, 2007). Conversation analysis, seeks to “describe the competencies and procedures involved in the production of any type of social interaction” (Arminen, 1999, p. 251). The main feature stems from the belief that language is fluid, and not stationary (Drew, 2005). As Prasad (2005) noted, “researchers in this tradition are less interested in texts as standalone artifacts and more interested in the ways in which language is employed in everyday situations—in meetings, casual conversations, interviews, expert consultations, and so on” (p. 68). This mindset allows researchers to study how language develops and maintains social order; and the connections between language and direct context for participants (Hepburn & Bolden, 2013).


Key Components


According to ten Have (2004), “CA writings may be read in two alternative ways: as searching for ‘rules’ of a general kind, or as investigating how such ‘rules’ are used in particular cases” (p. 25). Regardless of the approach, three notions govern the structure of these conventions: “Order is produced orderliness… Order is produced, situated and occasioned… Order is repeatable and recurrent… (Liddicoat, 2007, p. 5). The assumption by CA scholars is that conversations are grounded in order; as evidenced by the participants communicating and understanding one another. If there is no structured order, then social organizations could not exist due to people not understanding each other’s actions (Drew, 2005, p. 71-102). To help identify the structures that form meanings between individuals, conventions are used to transcribe and code the discourse:


The transcription of the interaction represents, then, an effort to provide in a written, linear format enough of the details of the interaction to permit subsequent analyses of particular kinds… the choice of particular transcription notation symbols becomes an important matter [emphasis added], as they may systematically provide the details [emphasis added] that are made ‘visible’ by the transcript… (Psathas and Anderson, 1990, p. 77).

These symbols act as markers for recognizing the words and sounds associated with the interaction (ten Have, 2004, p. 49-51).


Institutional Talk & Workplace Interaction


To properly appreciate this approach, we must first discern the three main features of institutional interaction:


1. Institutional interaction involves participants operating towards goals that are aligned with the institutional objectives.

2. Institutional dialogue is governed by boundaries and procedures that are specific to the institution’s setting.

3. Institutional interaction involves limitations on allowable dialogue in these spaces (Drew and Heritage, 1992, pp. 3-65; Heritage, 2004, pp. 222-245).


In combination with the aforementioned conventions identifying order (see p. 7 of this paper), institutional talk is aligned with these assumptions. However, the order of dialogue is constituted around the institution; with participants making meaning of each other in respect to performance tasks and actions carried out in these spaces. An institution is constructed based on user’s adaption and modification of turn-taking to one another (Silverman, 1998). Nevertheless, CA has been criticized by scholars for not delving into the organization of institutions (Sargani and Roberts, 1999; Arminen, 2017).


Institutional interactions not only govern the institution and its users, but also the social order as it manifests in these organizations (Heritage, 2004; Arminen, 2017). These discourses construct rituals that are adhered to by users, and legitimize practices that occur in these institutions (Sargani and Roberts, 1999). This concept aligns with CA scholar’s conceptualization of interactions taking and developing order during conversations between participants. These traits are notably referred to in Kim and Silver’s (2016) work using conversation analysis to identify how sequential organization can promote or hinder teacher reflection. They discovered that post-observation conferences can be “can be fertile settings for reflective thinking” (Kim and Silver, 2106, p. 216). However, the interactions that take place are not candid due to the sequential organization of how they are constituted. In a similar vein that Vasquez and Reppen (2010) argued for shifting the traditional emphasis of post-observation conferences as evaluative events, Waring’s (2017) identification of generalized feedback supports the concept of objective feedback. Within this paradigm, feedback is relevant enough to engage teacher reflection, yet depersonalized to minimize the likelihood of defensive rebuttals.


Data Source & Analysis


Data Source


This study is an analysis of a previous post-observation conference I had transcribed between an administrator and teacher in Florida. The research questions that guided the data collection and analysis are: How are instructional strategies communicated between administrators and teachers in post-observations? What formal/informal signals generate instructional collaboration? The administrator and teacher had agreed to record the post-observation conference on their smartphone, and send it to me (via email) to transcribe and analyze for my qualitative courses in my doctoral program. After transcribing the audio recording verbatim, I used conversation analysis conventions to analyze the participants dialogue. The transcription conventions were devised using suggestions from ten Have (2004) and Liddicoat (2007).


Data Analysis

The analysis of data centered on the workplace interaction and institutional talk that took place between the participants in the post observation conference. While analyzing the data, the following themes became evident that categorized the participants’ interactions with one another:


- Suggest… to mandate

- Document your work


Each theme (in conjuction with explicit dialogue by the participants) will be elaborated on below. After both themes are discussed, I will summarize how those themes correlate to the research questions I posed.


Theme #1: Suggest… to Mandate

The first theme, Suggest… to Mandate, encompasses the dialogue between the administrator and teacher that results in two suggestions becoming mandates (open-ended questions and evidenced shown in lesson plans). During the dialogue, the administrator repackages the teacher’s own assertions of what she felt she needed to improve. Through the explanation of this theme, attention will be given to the turn-taking procedures used by both users. The two excerpts below emphasize how the order in which this portion happens leads to the administrator obtaining buy-in from the teacher. Arminen’s (1999) words reinforce the importance of examining both participants’ comments together:

Moreover, the separation of talk from its context is against all the basic tenets of CA (Conversation Analysis), according to which the context-renewing properties of talk amount to the endogenous construction of context, as parties orient to the context through the management of talk-in-interaction as an observable part of performing social actions within context (p. 253).


The structure and orderliness of conversations can only be obtained when all the pieces are together. The examination of disconnected portions would alter the findings and not generate data in fidelity.


Excerpt #1: (lines 1-27): “…areas of focus you would like to focus on…”

1. A is there anything (2.0) now you mentioned certain things that you

2. would do different = but do you think there are any areas of focus that

3.  YOU would like to focus on (2.0) in the future, as a teacher? (.) based

4. in the future, as a teacher? (.) based on this lesson?

5. T as always, there are some things that can be tweaked or improved upon (.)

6. I think, um (.) the next time that we do this lesson (.) i will definitely have

7. more examples (.) um (2.0) ((teacher sucked her teeth)) already designed

8.  for the students at different levels of complexity (.) and um (.) I THINK I

9.  WILL (.) ACTUALLY ADD IN A WRITING PIECE (.) where students

10. show me their own understanding by writing in their own words to explain

11. the difference between linear and (.) versus literal equations = i think that

12. will (.) um (.) give me a true assessment of how much they really do

13. understand the difference w-with ((participant stuttered and tone started to

14. substantially decrease)) *them being able to compare and contrast it in

15. their own words* (.)

16. A ((sniff)) Oh, that's good = that's a great idea cause that hits on

17.  domain 3C which is engaging students in the learning process and

18.  possibly even domain 3E which is demonstrating flexibility and

19. responsiveness = one of the areas that i would like to talk to you and hear

20.  your feedback on is domain 3B (.) which is using questioning and

21.  discussion techniques (.) uh (.) throughout your lesson it seems like the

22. students were led through a single path of inquiry = you asked questions

23. like (.) linear equations and linear (2.0) linear equations and literal

24. equations share one word = what is it? or what am i subtracting?= so it led

25. for a very specific answer and it was not as open-ended=((takes breath))

26. do you see at all any way that you could have asked OPEN-ENDED

27. QUESTIONS to provoke a little bit DEEPER THOUGHT?=


As the administrator begins to speak, he asks the teacher to reflect on her practices as a teacher (based on this lesson that was observed) (lines 1-4). Notably, he asks her what she believes she needs to focus on; using the current lesson as a boundary marker to orient the conversation. Institutions can reduce the range in which members interact with one another based on specific reductions that are characterized by institutional activities (Silverman, 1998). In this post-observation conference, the administrator has used the observed lesson as the first boundary to initiate the teacher. In conjunction with turn constructional components (TCU’s) used by the administrator (but, this, you), these words are directly funneling the teacher’s responses (Liddicoat, 2007). 


 The teacher begins to reflect on her instructional practices and alluded to incorporating writing assessment into the lesson. The teacher makes a proclamation that she will have more examples moving forward in her instruction. Nevertheless, this claim is not specific because the teacher does not elaborate on what these examples will be, nor what they will look like in her teaching. The teacher can be heard sucking her teeth before raising her voice when mentioning the inclusion of a writing piece in this lesson. Although the teacher proposed this activity (and began to provide more explicit information in performing the task), the change in tone and stuttering signified her uneasiness fleshing out the details of this assignment (lines 5-15). The noticeable change can be attributed to the teacher engaging in the “special constraint” placed on her by the administrator (Heritage, 2004, p. 106). Although she might have wanted to discuss another instructional strategy she would like to use, the interaction was oriented off the aforementioned lesson. This is noted by CA scholars for being an effective technique for selecting and addressing the next speaker in turn-taking conversations (Sacks, Schegloff, and Jefferson, 1978). 


The administrator signifies that he likes that response (as evidenced by his tone and fluidness during his response). The administrator ties together her response with domain 3C and 3E from the evaluation rubric. Additionally, he uses the same evaluation rubric to reference domain 3B and diagnose an area that he would like her to improve on (open-ended questions being incorporated in her lesson). The administrator’s voice notably raises when he refers to “open-ended questions” and “deeper thought” (lines 16-27).  

The rebuttals generated by both participants specify the turn-taking system. Although turn-taking does not constrain what takes place in any turn, it can structure responses by the previous turns provoked by users (Sacks, Schegloff, and Jefferson, 1978). Ironically, the teacher’s initial rebuttal is what drives the proceeding utterances relating to the evaluation rubric from the administrator. The administrator then uses it to identify an instructional strategy he felt was missing in the lesson. The evaluation rubric (in conjunction with the observed lesson) becomes another boundary used by the administrator to target responses from the teacher. These two boundaries and TCUs are constantly weaved throughout the rest of the post-observation conference.


Excerpt #2: (lines 39-59): “When do you think you would be able to start implementing that into your lessons?”


39. A so one of the things that would be helpful in the writing piece that

40. you mentioned is if you were to pre-write more open ended questions

41. and embed them throughout your lesson (.) so as your lesson planning if

42. you think of these questions ahead of time = the higher order questions

43. the open ended questions = if you think of them ahead of time then you

44. can write them into your lesson plan = and you can use them throughout

45. the lesson (.) what do you think about that?

46. T I think that's an excellent suggestion = honestly (.) um (.) ((haha)) I HAD

47. NEVER REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT THAT (.) uh, but it really is a good

48. suggestion (.)usually in lesson planning (.) = i usually just highlight (.) um

49. (.) or make points of things that i need to make sure i say to students to

50. make sure that they understand the concept (.) or quick and easy ways to

51. help them understand the concept (.) pre-writing that's a great

52. suggestion and i will definitely (.) uh (.) do that (.)

53. A ((sniff and breath/inhaling can be heard before speaking)) (2.0) i'm

54.  glad (.) you agree (.) all right so (.) when do you think you would be

55.  able to start implementing that into your lessons?

56. T ((suck teeth)) IMMEDITAELY i mean it is something that definitely needs

57. to be done (.) the higher order of questioning and i know it is something

58. that um (.) I normally struggle with = not the fact of that I can't write them

59. but usually implementing them in lessons (.)=

The administrator makes specific reference to an instructional strategy/activity the teacher mentioned: students writing. The administrator suggests to the teacher that she should pre-write open ended questions into her lesson plans; that way, the she can remember to use them in her instruction. The administrator asks her how she feels about incorporating that strategy (lines 39-45). The teacher acknowledges that she thinks that is a good idea. The teacher’s tone slightly raises, and she laughs during her response. The teacher talks about the current way she has students identify concepts in the instruction: highlighting (lines 46-52).  


The administrator and teacher’s responses indicate the use of multi-turn TCUs that have been reinforced over the course of the conversation. The administrator constantly uses the term you and your to reposition the ownership of the improvements on the teacher. By constantly adding these increments to the dialogue before the teacher’s turn, the administrator is generating the development of the preceding TCUs over multiple turns (Liddicoat, 2007). The teacher then is left with only two responses: either a positive one, or a negative one. The way in which the teacher acknowledges the administrator’s claim generates a turn-design that minimizes confrontation. As Heritage (2005, p. 128) noted, “sheer repetition generates a kind of know-how about dealing with…conflict or confrontation.” Up to this point in the conversation, the teacher has responded positively to every declaration made by the administrator. These responses have led the administrator to pattern his questions off her agreements.


The administrator takes a deep breath and momentary pause before speaking. He questions the teacher on when she will start utilizing this strategy in her lesson plans (p. 53-55). The teacher sucks her teeth and responds that she will implement this strategy immediately. The teacher emphasizes that it is not the aspect of writing this strategy into her lessons, but actually performing it in her daily instruction (lines 56-59). Using the evaluation rubric and observed lesson as a boundary marker, the administrator weaves the wording into his responses to generate buy-in from the teacher. Additionally, this interaction “draws attention to the fact that individuals are embedded in social practices, which are multi-layered and evolving” (Foreman-Peck, 2015, p. 349). It is important to acknowledge these regularities by the participants, because they shed light into the hypothesized sanctions which do and do not exist (Heritage, 2004). The teacher’s delayed response mentioned earlier (sucking her teeth) at the administrator’s proposal of implementing student writing reinforces the moral obligation of adhering to the administrator’s suggestion for instructional improvement.


Theme #2: Document your work

The second theme, Document your work, feeds off of the first one by examining the corresponding dialogue relating to showing written documentation of the open-ended questions in the teacher’s lesson plan and established time frame for conducting the Higher Order Training. Previously, the teacher (lines 56-59) had mentioned that she feels that her struggles are in relation to conducting the strategy in class, not writing out the open-ended questions. However, the administrator is adamant that she needs to document this strategy (while also performing it).


Excerpt: (lines 60-69): “I think I can write them on my own.”

60. A ((sucks teeth)) now there is a training called hots (.) higher order

61. thinking (.) and they teach teachers how to actually write higher order

62. questions or open ended questions (.) um (.) DO ((prolonged his emphasis

63. of do)) YOU think that that is a training that you should possibly attend =

64. or do you think that you can write these on your own? (.)

65. T  ((sucks teeth)) I THINK I CAN WRITE THEM ON MY OWN (.) but

66. um (.) at the same time i think i will check out the training (.) i mean you

67. can always learn SOMETHING NEW (.) um (.) and definitely check it out

68. and see exactly what it is that they're talking about (.) you can always

69. improve so [ that'll be a great professional development to look into (.)

The administrator mentions a professional development/training that focuses on higher order training (called HOTS). After giving the teacher a summary of what the training entails, he asks her if she would like to attend, or does she feel confident that she can implement this strategy without additional help (lines 60-64). The teacher responds that she can write the questions on her own, but does not respond to her initial acknowledgement of having difficulty in executing this strategy during instruction. However, the teacher does assert that she always likes to learn something new and wants to participate in the training (lines 65-69).

The initial positive politeness strategy used by the administrator (Do you think..), in relation to the training, places the notion of professional responsibility back on the teacher in improving her craft (Brown and Levinson, 1987). The framing of the question invites a closed response that acknowledges this is something she should do. The question itself can be traced back to the institution’s goal of post-observation conferences: improving instruction in the classroom (Zepeda, 2007; Glanz and Zepeda, 2016). Additionally, the question can be viewed as an introductory into the new sequence of TCU: showing written evidence in the lesson plans. The teacher’s subsequent reply (I think I can…) adheres to the strand of TCU while also approving the politeness strategy. However, the teacher attempts to undo the administrator’s claim by responding to the acknowledging the question in a respectful manner, yet affirming that she is already capable of performing the task.  


Excerpt: (lines 70-82): “I would like for us to actually follow up via email on this about 24 hours.”

70. A [((inhales and turns pages, then exhales and begins speaking))

71. so] in the pds system you can actually go and sign up for the

72. training = um (.) THERE ARE NO ONLINE TRAININGS = they are all face to

73. face = but they're typically only three hour trainings and once again

74. they'll just teach you how to write higher order thinking questions and

75. they are geared for all subject levels or subject areas = so you won't go

76. and they'll just be teaching about reading ((takes a breath)) they will hit

77.  every subject area (.) um (.) I WOULD LIKE FOR US to actually follow up

78.  VIA EMAIL on this (.) about 24 hours = if you're (.) gonna do it

79. immediately = if you're gonna implement it immediately = if you could

80. email me and just let me know how you think it went because we want to

81. make sure that it has a direct impact on our students and how they're

82. achieving *in your class* (.) what do you [think?

The administrator breathes slowly before speaking (line 70). The administrator indicates where to sign up for the training, and that it is not available online; he also gives an additional overview of the training again, and asks for an email within twenty-four hours to follow-up about more detail (lines 71-82). Upon his turn, the administrator once again reinforces documentation by his word selection (for us to follow up…). That phrase represents a renewed focus on the teacher’s accountability of conduct in this turn-selection (Drew, 2005). The construction manifests the alignment of the administrator’s words with the institution’s objectives of instruction correlating to student success in the classroom. Ironically, the teacher recommended her own time frame (see previous lines 56-59) which the administrator used to establish the documented time for follow-up. The excerpts above both highlight two ways the administrator is requesting documentation of the open-ended questions/instructional strategy being conducted: lesson plan and email confirmation.  


Summary

The CA transcription showed how the administrator and teacher oriented their instructional interactions based on the subsequent boundaries in their post-observation conference. Not only are post-observation conferences oriented by K12 mandates (evaluation rubrics, instructional terminology, etc.), the transcription showed evidence of boundaries being enacted based on turn-taking and structural organization (Heritage, 2005; ten Have, 2004). Similar to the assertions of Liddicoat (2007) and Drew (2005), this analysis shows how the administrator and teacher created order in the post-observation conference (using the discussed materials at hand to do so). Additionally, these same boundaries serve as pillars for creating efficiency in dialogue amongst employees of an organization (Drew and Heritage, 1992; Heritage, 2004). Lastly, the data shows that instructional strategies communicated between administrators and teachers in post-observations are predicated on their turns within the context of oriented boundaries. The signals generated by participants warrant a context and institutional understanding between both parties which must exist for orientation to the aforementioned boundaries.


Reflections

This analysis allowed me to examine the conversational resources used by both participants to perform an action (in this case, a post observation conference; more specifically; an administrator enlisting a teacher’s buy-in for making a plan for improvement of practice; a plan that she endorses).  The repetitiveness of recycling through the same strand over and over caused me to point out different tones and elaborations made by the participants.  Using CA to analyze the data line by line, I was able to devise two themes, Suggest… to mandate and Document your work, that allow me to explain my qualitative findings more effectively.  The themes granted me the ability to group strands of conversations together to analyze in different formats.  Additionally, these expansions allowed me to better identify the attention both participants made to each other’s comments during the post-observation conference.


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Transcription Conventions Used

Teacher (participant: math teacher)

Administrator (participant: assistant principal)

(( )) Transcriber’s description

? Intermission

(.) Untimed pause

(2.0) Timed pause

= No break/s between dialogue

[ ] Brackets mark the start and end of

overlapping speech

WOW High tone used by participant

haha Laughter used during/in-between dialogue

*wow* Low tone during dialogue

wow Word stressed or emphasized more than surrounding words

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