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Guiding the Christian School Faculty to Excellence

The following bullet points are from Dr. Gordon Brown's book Guiding Faculty to Excellence, Chapter 8 - "Motivating Teachers to Excellence." It is not hard to see why many Christian school teachers abandon the "calling" they once were emphatic about pursuing. It is not likely the school they have chosen to work for, the students they encounter, or the parents who beckon their call. More often than not, attrition in the Christian school teaching ranks comes down to leadership supervision and properly motivated encouragement toward continued growth.

“Guiding Faculty to Excellence” by Gordon Brown, Ed.D - Chapter 8: Motivating Teachers to Excellence

No One Formula Works for All

  • A successful supervisor is one who focuses on motivating teachers to improve

  • Christian school teachers are more likely to gain satisfaction from the work itself, than counting on salary status and benefits to provide job satisfaction. CS teachers understand the financial ground rules when they sig a contract. That said, CS Administration should seek to meet these “lower level needs” of pay and benefits

  • Research shows that external motivators used to improve teacher performance (pay & benefits, for example, or other rewards) can actually result in lackluster performance if the motivators are later withdrawn or overlooked.

  • CS Administrations should appeal to a teachers’ intrinsic motivation, their personal desire to please God and perform to His work with excellence.

Positive Contributors to Teacher Motivation

  • The Holy Spirit’s Indwelling

  • A calling from God to teach and a certainty this is a gift they have been granted

  • An assumption that improvement is always possible

  • A love for students (a teacher with a true love for the students will find new or different teaching techniques that are in the student’s best interest)

  • ​Perception they are a professional (professional teachers do not permit themselves to stagnate when better ways of teaching are available)

Negative Influences on Motivation

  • Basic human nature

  • Difficulty of changing established habits

  • Perception that changing is an overwhelming task (teachers’ motivation to improve is enhanced when they see improvement is a manageable task)

  • Fatigue

Strategies That Motivate

  • Praying for teachers (let them know)

  • Creating a trusting, supportive environment

  • Making change manageable

  • Using influence levels appropriate for each teacher (match tactics to teacher motivation level, cultural age differences)

Additional Strategies

  • Exposing teachers to good teaching ideas (let them know what you hear or learn)

  • Planning for interaction on good ideas (in-service, mentor teacher time, etc)

  • Make supervision a collaborative effort (don’t isolate yourself into being the only evaluator)

  • Suggest specific changes to specific teachers (active-fair motivation, giving individual attention to a specific change)

  • Require specific change (coercive-low motivation – insist on certain pedagogical changes)

  • Motivate teachers by age groups (different strategies for different ages of teachers)

Excerpt from chapter 8 Brown, Gordon B (2001). Guiding Faculty to Excellence: Instructional Supervision in the Christian School. Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Designs.


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