Charlotte Danielson, an educator who is well known for her work on teacher quality and evaluation, will share her wisdom in a two-hour workshop at NAESP’s 2012 Annual Conference: Best Practices for Better SchoolsTM in Seattle on Friday, March 23, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. She recently engaged in a conversation with Principal magazine editors that provides a sneak peak of her session. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:

You write that the Danielson Framework for Teaching promotes professional learning. Please explain how an evaluation system can support learning.

I believe that the principal value of the Danielson Framework for Teaching is in promoting professional learning by teachers and other educators. It provides a tool for them to arrive at consensus first of all, at what constitutes good teaching. Then, in using this tool for a variety of purposes—teacher preparation, mentoring and coaching, professional development, and teacher evaluation—educators, led by the principal, can adopt procedures that emphasize the learning rather than the inspection aspects of those activities.

What is the most important advice you give to principals as evaluators of teaching? Whatever procedures are used—formal and informal classroom observation, pre-conferences and post-conferences, samples of student work and other artifacts, or annual evaluations—must represent a serious effort to engage teachers in the activities known to promote professional learning such as self-assessment, reflection on practice, and professional conversation, all conducted in an environment of trust. Through this culture of inquiry, the twin goals of teacher support—quality assurance and professional learning—can be achieved.

What can attendees look forward to hearing and learning during your workshop at NAESP’s conference?

I will offer an overview of teacher evaluation, and what a system that’s used for high-stakes decisions about teachers must include, such as clear standards of practice, instruments and procedures to capture evidence of those standards of practice, and trained (and certified) evaluators who can make accurate and consistent judgments based on evidence. In addition, I’ll offer suggestions for how a teacher evaluation system can promote teacher learning as well as ensuring instruction of high quality.

Register today to ensure that you enhance your professional development with Danielson and other top-notch speakers, including Diane Ravitch, Rafe Esquith, Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Douglas Reeves, Eric Brown, Michael Chirichello, and many other others.

Source for Questions 1 and 2: The Handbook for Enhancing Professional Practice: Using the Framework for Teaching in Your School, by Charlotte Danielson, Alexandria, VA: ASCD. © 2008 by ASCD. Reprinted with permission. Learn more about ASCD at

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