INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCHOLARLY ACADEMIC INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITYVOLUME 10, NUMBER 1, 20081Conceptualization and Perceptions of Teaching as anArtistic Form: National and InternationalImplications for Evaluation and AssessmentDr. Monday T. JoshuaFaculty of EducationUniversity of Calabar, Calabar – NigeriaAkon M. Joshua (Mrs.)Faculty of EducationCross River University of Technology,Akamkpa Campus, C.R.S., NigeriaFlorence Banku ObiInstitute of EducationUniversity of Calabar, Calabar - NigeriaImo E. UmoinyangInstitute of EducationUniversity of Calabar, Calabar – NigeriaEno P. Ntukidem (Mrs)Institute of EducationUniversity of Calabar, Calabar – NigeriaWilliam Allan Kritsonis, PhDProfessor and Faculty MentorPhD Program in Educational LeadershipThe Whitlowe R. Green College of EducationPrairie View A&M UniversityMember of the Texas A&M University SystemVisiting Lecturer (2005)Oxford Round TableUniversity of Oxford, Oxford, EnglandDistinguished Alumnus (2004)College of Education and Professional StudiesCentral Washington UniversityTyrone Tanner, EdDAssociate ProfessorPhD Program in Educational LeadershipPrairie View A&M UniversityDonald F. DeMoulinArgosy University - Atlanta_____________________________________________________________________ABSTRACTVarious definitions of teaching and the different conceptions of teaching (as alabour, a craft, and an art, the production of a product, a client service, anenterprise and as a profession) have been highlighted in this paper. Theconceptualization of teaching as an art, and therefore, the teacher as an artist,has been analyzed in this paper, leading to the position that teaching techniquesand their application are not standardized for all situation and cases; but theteacher’s personal goal skill and perceptions interplay to produce effectiveteaching. The implications of evaluating teaching as an art have been discussed;and self-evaluation has been projected as the major tool of artists (teachers) to
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCHOLARLY ACADEMIC INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY2__________________________________________________________________________________achieve improvement in their trade. It is concluded that with self-evaluation asa tool, teachers can groom themselves professionally and maximize learning intheir students. It is recommended that within the context of organizational goals,every teacher should set his/her own personal goals/ objectives for specifiedperiods of time and periodically evaluate himself/herself based on thosegoals/objectives._____________________________________________________________________IntroductionTeaching is a very important concept not only in the classroom, but also in theentire educational system and beyond. Teaching is an activity or a process that goeson everyday, every time and everywhere. People do teach one thing or the other toother people most of time of their conscious living. Parents/guardians, for example,do teach their children/wards, spouses teach each other, friends teach themselves,church/religious leaders do teach their members/followers, village heads teach theirsubjects, and many other examples. Thus, teaching is very central to everyday living,and it plays a significant role in the education or bringing-up or socialization of theyoung and old in the society.In school, teaching is one of the two main activities that go on in theclassroom. The other is learning. The teachers are employed and positioned to“teach”, while the students/pupils are admitted and positioned to “learn”. Theunderlying assumption is that teachers are to bring about learning in his/her pupils; orsimply put, ‘teaching results in learning’. The effectiveness of teaching, based on thisassumption, is judged by the quantity and/or quality of expected learning that hastaken place in the learners. However, it is generally accepted that very many factors(variables) interplay in the classroom or in any teaching-learning situation within andaround the learner, which are completely outside the teacher’s control ormanipulation. And so, to base the success or effectiveness of a teaching activity on thequantity or quality of learning it produces may be anything but fairness to the teacher.So, teaching still begs for another or more acceptable definition.There are many definitions in the literature, each depending on thephilosophical or theoretical orientation of the author. The traditional view of teachingas a process of making impression on passive pupils, filling their empty minds andbrains with what they should know, has gradually given way to relatively never viewof teaching. This view still recognizes two parties in the teaching activity, namely theteacher and the learner, but also specifies that each of these two has distinct roles toplay. In this direction, Bidwell (1973) defines teaching as a series of interactionsbetween someone in the role of a teacher and someone in the role of a learner, withthe explicit goal of changing one or more of the learner’s cognitive states (what heknows or believes; or his skill in performing cognitive tasks or effective states, hisattitudes, values or motives). This definition implies that teaching is more of aninteraction between people performing specific roles – the teacher and the learner(s).According to Onwuka (1990), a more modern view of teaching is that it is anattempt to help someone to acquire or change an attitude, knowledge, idea, skill orappreciation. It is the provision for experiences and guidance of activities designed to
MONDAY T. JOSHUA, AKON M. JOSHUA, FlLORENCE BANKU OBI, IMO E. UMOINYANG,ENO P. NTUKIDEM, WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONIS, TYRONE TANNER,DONALD F. DEMOULIN____________________________________________________________________3promote learning on the part of those engaging in the activities. It is a complexprocess of co-operation and intercommunication between teacher and learners, not aone-way traffic in information from teacher to learner. All these expressions on, ordefinitions of teaching generally imply that teaching in the classroom is more or lessan interaction between two key role-players, the teacher and the learner(s). Thelearner can be seen and analyzed as the individual that is to benefit from the teachingactivity/exercise; or as a group of knowledge seekers seated in class with one majoraim in mind, which is to learn. Essentially, teaching consists of setting the stage sothat someone can learn. The teacher and the learners are both involved in setting thestage for learning to occur. This implies that the teacher too continues to learn. Thus,teaching involves creating or providing opportunities and experiences that will enablethe major role players to acquire the knowledge, skill, attitude and appreciation thatwill serve as tools leading to change of behaviour (which is learning).Conceptualization of Teaching as an ArtTeaching has been conceptualized in different ways. Each conceptualizationhas implications for teaching, learning and evaluation of teaching. From theintegrative reviews of literature by Darling-Hammond, Wise and Pease (1983), Starkand Lowther (1984) and Joshua (2001), six major conceptualization of teaching workhave been identified. These conceptualizations are:i) Teaching as a Labour and teacher as a Labourer whose role is to implementinstructional program exactly as it has been prescribed by superiors(administrators)ii) Teaching as a Craft and teacher as a Craftsman or Technician whose role is tomanipulate the materials and tools around him/her to produce results(learning) with little input from learners.iii) Teaching as an Art, and teacher as an Artist whose role is to keep on trying todevelop more flexible, creative and adaptive ways of making people learn.iv) Teaching as the production of a product, and teacher as a Producer (andlearners are the finished products) whose role is to ensure that thefinished/expected products are in the right quantities, qualities and at righttime with minimum excuses.v) Teaching as a client-service and teacher as a specialized Service Providerwhose role is to satisfy his/her ‘client’s (who are learners and parents/society)in providing services that are safe, beneficial and acceptable while being paidfor these services in a rather contractual manner.vi) Teaching as a profession, and teacher as a Professional who has been preparedto solve peculiar problems as they come, and whose role is to exercise soundprofessional judgement as to when, where and on whom to apply onetechnique/strategy or the other to solve problems and maximize learning in theteaching-learning situation.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCHOLARLY ACADEMIC INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY4__________________________________________________________________________________In addition, to these six, Akinpelu (1981) adds that teaching can also beconceptualized as an enterprise. Of particular interest in this paper is theconceptualization of teaching as an art, and the teacher as an artist. An art is themaking of painting, drawing, and sculpture which are beautiful or which express thecreative ideas of the producer (in this case, the artist). Art also refers to the creation orperformance of drama, music, poetry or painting. Thus, in arts, the key concept iscreativeness of the principal actor (the artist), with the skills that are required for suchcreativeness. The artist is always himself/herself. He/she is constantly imagining anddevising creative ways of producing a product that first of all meets his/her owndesire/expectation, and then that is beautiful and attractive to another person, certainlythe interested party. He/she is constantly working on his/her arts, and is constantlyseeking improvement to meet his/her changing values, impressions and orientations,and the changing times and environment.Because, the artist is out to first of all impress himself/herself (that is, heworks to realize his/her own dreams/imaginations/goals), he/she is the first critic ofhis/her work of art. Whenever he/she completes a work/product, he/she will firstscrutinize it (or evaluate it) to see how it has conformed to what he/she had desired toachieve. While others may be applauding him/her for a work well done, he/she maybe reminiscing about his/her dream/imagination/goal that might not have fullyactualized. In addition to being a major critic of his/her work, the artist readilywelcomes the critique of fellow artists and other significant others, receives them asinput and utilizes them to further improve his/her work of arts.In conceptualizing teaching as an “art”, the implication/assumption is thatteaching techniques and their application are not standardized for all situations andcases, but may be novel, unconventional or unpredictable. This is not to say thattechnique or standards of practice are ignored; but that their forms and uses arepersonalized and situation oriented. Under this context of teaching as an art, teachingis seen as a more personalized and creative activity, and the teacher is seen as an“artist” who keeps on trying to develop multiple perspectives about teaching andlearning to become more flexible, creative and adaptive. A teaching art would involvechoice of presentation and evaluation procedures and implementation of theseprocedures would depend not only on policymakers’ (educationaladministrators’/practitioners’/researchers’) implicit theories on the “right ways ofdoing them”, but also on the realities of the organizational context (Darling-Hammond, Wise & Pease, 1983; Gage, 1978; Joshua, & Joshua (2001).Implications for Evaluation of Teaching – The Case for Self-EvaluationEvaluation as a concept or term has been variously defined. Generally,evaluation is a process or activity directed at ascertaining whether or not some setgoals/objectives have been realized. It is a continuous and constant activity that mosthuman beings engage in whether knowingly or unknowingly, and whethersystematically or haphazardly. Bloom and others, quoted in Ndubisi (1990), viewevaluation as the systematic collection of evidence to determine whether in factcertain changes are taking place in the learners, as well as to determine the amount ordegree of change in individual students. Gronlund (1985) gives his own definition of
MONDAY T. JOSHUA, AKON M. JOSHUA, FlLORENCE BANKU OBI, IMO E. UMOINYANG,ENO P. NTUKIDEM, WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONIS, TYRONE TANNER,DONALD F. DEMOULIN____________________________________________________________________5evaluation from an instructional standpoint (which is the major focus in this paper) asa systematic process of determining the extent to which instructional objectives areachieved by pupils. These definitions and many others not cited here point to the factthat evaluation in education should be seen as a continuous process that usually looksfor diagnosis of strengths and weaknesses in any educational activity or product.There arises the need to view evaluation in a broad sense. Such broad-sense approachto evaluation was illustrated by Bloom and others, and Ndubisi (1990) presents theillustration as follows. The broad-sense approach views:i) Evaluation as a method of acquiring and processing the evidence needed toimprove the students’ learning and teaching;ii) Evaluation as including a great variety of evidence beyond the usual finalpaper-and-pencil examination;iii) Evaluation as an aid to clarifying the significant goals and objectives ofeducation, and as a process for determining the extent to which students aredeveloping in these desired ways;iv) Evaluation as a system of quality control in which it may be determined ateach step in the teaching-learning process, whether the process is effective ornot, what changes must be made to ensure its effectiveness before it is too late;v) Evaluation as a tool in educational practice for ascertaining whetheralternative procedures are equally effective or not in achieving a set ofeducational ends.All these views on evaluation point to the fact that evaluation of teachinginvolves gathering data to ascertain whether the instructional objectives for theparticular teaching exercise have been achieved or not. And since it was earlier statedthat the teaching exercise (in schools) involves two persons, teacher and learners(s),each playing his/her role, and since instructional objectives are usually expected to bestated as behaviours of the learners, evaluation of teaching implies the judgement asto whether the teachers’ expected outcomes in the learners have been realized or not.In the conceptualization of teaching as an art; the teacher was identified as anartist, and it was noted that artists are their own best critics. The evaluation approachthat is most suited for, and that is usually identified with, teaching as an art (andteacher as an artist) is teachers’ self-assessment or self-evaluation. Other possible oravailable approaches of teacher evaluation are principal/administrator evaluation ofthe teacher, peer evaluation of the teacher, student evaluation of the teacher, use ofstudent test scores as basis for teacher evaluation, classroom observation and teacherinterviews (Darling-Hammond, Wise & Pease, (1983; Joshua, 1998, 1999). The toolsand processes used to assess teachers (whether their competence, job performance oreffectiveness) are based on assumptions about how these qualities are linked to oneanother, how they may be measured, and how the measurements may be used to makedecisions. How a teacher (being an artist) may use self-evaluation to improve hisprofessional role is further examined.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCHOLARLY ACADEMIC INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY6__________________________________________________________________________________Self-EvaluationThis is an evaluation approach in which the teacher makes a critical personal(or self) assessment of his/her strengths and weaknesses against both personalstandard/expectations, and organizational (school) standards/requirements. Accordingto Darling-Hammond, Wise and Pease (1983), self-evaluation has recently joinedother sources (approaches) of assessment as a technique in teacher evaluation. It isless formal than other approaches, and is obviously not suitable for accountability orsummative decisions. It may not be regarded as a formal/proper evaluationapproach/process in itself, but as an important source of information and motivationin a broader evaluation programme. The combination of self-evaluation andindividual goal-setting may promote self-reflection and motivation toward change andgrowth. A teacher may/can use information, quantitative or qualitative or both,derived from any evaluation techniques (e.g. HOD’s rating, student or peer rating,analysis of students’ achievement scores, etc) to make judgments about this or herown teaching, as to whether he/she is succeeding or not. Redfern (1980) and Lewis(1982) consider self-evaluation as an essential component of what they callcooperative evaluation models.Self-evaluation of the teacher implies that the teacher is his/her own critic, andmakes an in-house assessment and clean-up, if necessary. Before other significantothers call his/her attention to certain flaws, the teacher on self-evaluation has alreadydiscovered/identified some of them, if not all. Self-evaluation requires closemonitoring of one’s actions and inactions to identify the effects they are producing onthe teacher’s clientele, and how desirable or otherwise these effects are. In self-evaluation, the teacher seeks to verify whether his/her goals and objectives for theteaching exercise in a given period of time have been realistic and/or realized. Theteacher seeks to convince or reassure him/herself whether he/she is making positiveand expected impact in the learners to enable them progress in the expected directionIn self-evaluation, the teacher is holding him/herself accountable for somesalient aspects, if not all the outcomes of teaching-learning process. In spite of theorganizational (school) or outside goals and the prevailing teaching-learningenvironment, the teacher who believes in self-evaluation is very willing, notnecessarily under pressure or fear of sanction, to accept some blames for some of thethings that may go wrong during the teaching-learning process. He/she seeshim/herself as having an interaction with a group of learners for whosepurposes/needs he/she was employed in the first instance. If the interaction does notproduce tangible and worthwhile results, he/she first of all is interested in and actuallyfinds out the outcome of the interaction, and, as an artist, quickly identifies whathe/she did not do well, and goes back to rework such aspect(s) of his/her professionalskills. A believer in and doer of self-evaluation does not pass the buck, the completeback, when certain things do not go well in the teaching-learning situation, unlesshe/she is thoroughly convinced that he/she has no part in the entire buck. Rather,he/she investigates and collects information to discover what he/she did not do well,and what improvement(s) he/she could make. Such believer is constantly gatheringinformation to enable him/her improve his/her professional career on a steady basis.A teacher’s use of self-evaluation approach does not mean that he/sheexcludes or undermines other approaches of teacher evaluation like the ratings of theHOD/Administrator, students, peers and other significant others. As an artist, the
MONDAY T. JOSHUA, AKON M. JOSHUA, FlLORENCE BANKU OBI, IMO E. UMOINYANG,ENO P. NTUKIDEM, WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONIS, TYRONE TANNER,DONALD F. DEMOULIN____________________________________________________________________7teacher still believes in, and uses, feedback from others in the instructional arena asinputs in the onerous task of giving the best to his/her clients, and seeking to be thebest that he/she can possibly be. In making the critical self-assessment and thesubsequent judgement on self, the teacher relies on information from his/her students,colleagues, head of department/supervisor, analysis of student scores and other“mirrors” in the instructional arena. Thus, self-evaluation, as an approach of teacherevaluation, works best when it is used in combination with other approaches to servethe purpose of formative evaluation, which includes fostering the professional growthof the teacher.Most teacher evaluation processes are aimed at changing the ‘bad’ practice ofteachers, and reinforcing the ‘good’ practices. It is necessary therefore, to come togrips with the subjectively reasonable beliefs of teachers, and to give full weight toteachers’ beliefs and intentions in assessing what they do and in guiding them in theformation of alternative beliefs about useful courses of action. It should be acceptedthat teachers are rational professionals who make judgements and carry out decisionsin uncertain and complex environments and that teachers’ behaviours are guided bytheir thoughts, judgments and decisions. Thus, teachers need to be themselves, settheir own goals, and like artists, be the first to assess and critique their own products,take some responsibilities for the success or failure of their own actions/inactions, andchart new/remedial courses of action aimed at realizing the initial goals/objectives ofinstruction (Darling-Hammond, Pease & Wise; 1983; Shavelson & Stern, 1981).Summary, Conclusions, and RecommendationsThe various definitions of teaching have been highlighted in this paper.Generally, teaching has been viewed as an interaction between two parties who havespecific roles to play in the interaction process. Different conceptions of teachinghave also been presented and teaching has been conceptualized as a labour, a craft, anart, the production of a product, a client-service, a profession, and as an enterprise.The conceptualization of teaching as an art, and therefore, the teacher as an artist hasbeen elaborated on and analyzed in this paper. The implication of evaluating teachingas an art has been discussed; and self-evaluation which is the major tool of artists toachieve improvement in the trade has been presented and discussed. The merits andconcerns of self-evaluation have also been highlighted.It is concluded that teachers can actually walk themselves in the path of notonly their enhancing professional growth, but also maximizing learning inpupils/students that are placed in their charge if they employ the tool of self-evaluation. This tool will enable them gather as much information as possible topersonally assess themselves on the job, identify any flaws, take some responsibilities,and draw-up and follow certain corrective plans to realize predetermined personal andorganizational goals, all without external pressure or fear of sanction. Based on thisconclusion, it is hereby recommended that:i) Teachers be encouraged to set their own personal goals for specified periodof time – weekly, monthly, termly and sessional
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCHOLARLY ACADEMIC INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY8__________________________________________________________________________________ii) Teachers be encouraged to verify on their own the realization of their personalgoaliii) Teachers are required to write self-reports and submit these to their immediatebosses.iv) Ministries of Education and other supervising bodies should commissionstudies aimed at producing teacher evaluation instruments (including one forself-evaluation), and let these instruments be placed at the disposal of teachers.ReferencesAkinpelu, J. A. (19981). An introduction to philosophy of education. London:Macmillan.Bidwell, C. E. (1973). The social psychology of teaching. In E. M. Travers (Ed.),Second handbook of research on teaching. Chicago: Rand McNally.Darling-Hammond, L., Wise, A. E., & Pease, S. R. (1983). Teacher evaluation in theorganizational context: A review of literature. Review of EducationalResearch, 53(3), 285-328.Gage, N. L. (1978). The scientific basis of the art of teaching. New York: TeachersCollege Press.Gronlund, N. E. (1985). Measurement and evaluation in teaching (5thed.). New York:Macmillan.Joshua, M. T. (1998). Teacher evaluation: Different approaches and competingrationales. Nigerian Journal of Educational Foundations, 2(2), 92-106.Joshua, M. T. (1999). Faculty evaluation as a panacea for enhancing quality teachingin Nigeria’s tertiary education. Nigerian Education Journal, 3(2), 97-111.Joshua, M. T. (2001). Different conceptions of teaching: Implications for learning andevaluation of teaching in universal basic education (UBE). InternationalJournal of Research in Basic and Lifelong Education, 1 (1&2), 366-373.Lewis, A. (1982). Evaluating educational personnel. Arlington, VA: AmericanAssociation of School Administrators.Ndubisi, A. F. (1990). Curriculum evaluation. In U. Onwuka (Ed.), Curriculumdevelopment for Africa (5thed.). Onitsha, Nigeria: Africana Publishers.Onwuka, U. (Ed.). (1990). Curriculum development for Africa. Onitsha, Nigeria:Africana Publishers.Redfern, G. B. (1980). Evaluating teachers and administrators: A performanceobjectives approach. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.Shavelson, R., & Stern, P. (1981). Research on teachers’ pedagogical thoughts,judgments, decisions and behaviour. Review of Educational Research, 51(4),455-498.Stark, J. S., & Lowther, M. A. (1984). Predictors of teachers’ preferences concerningtheir evaluation. Educational Administration Quarterly, 20(4), 76-106.Formatted by Dr. Mary Alice Kritsonis, National Research and ManuscriptPreparation Editor, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS, Houston, TXwww.nationalforum.com