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The Haberman Research Stands the Test of Time

Mar 7, 2014 by

by Delia Stafford –

Recently, educator Jim Robins, completed his doctoral study which was based on the research of Dr.Martin Haberman’s life’s work. The Haberman Star Teacher /Principal Interviews are being used on a broad scale across the states ,both at the college level , and school districts. Once again, the research was proven to be a valuable resource for those in the study conducted by Dr. Robins.

The Haberman Educational Foundation is grateful for his time and consistent effort to ensure the work is reliable and consistent with Dr.Haberman’s work centered around an individuals core beliefs. It was a pleasure to hear the results of time well spent.

What motivated you to select the Haberman system as a subject for your study?

I have been involved in education as a teacher, principal and superintendent of schools for over 25 years.

I have always believed that the selection of teachers was crucial to academic success. In the past few years, I have been exposed to the Haberman system and wanted to find out for myself what its strengths and weaknesses were. More specifically, I wanted to know what the beliefs and attitudes were of principals who used this system.

How was your study structured?

Basically, I asked Kansas City area principals to rank order the Haberman system of teacher selection in each of the seven categories. They were asked to rank the categories in terms of teacher success, difficulty of measurement and the rating history of teachers they had interviewed during their career. I also did a personal interview with each subject in my study.

Can you describe who the participants in your study were?

I talked with twenty principals from the Kansas City area who volunteered to participate. They ranged in age and experience from people with as little as two years of administrative experience to over twenty five years of experience. Several Kansas City area districts were represented in the study and some of my subjects worked in public schools and some in private and charter schools.

What were the findings of your study?

Well, the biggest finding is that we have some very passionate and committed principals in our area! They love their schools and their mission and they strongly believe in the Haberman system as a means to select good teachers.

Were there common themes or messages in all of the interviews?

Yes, there was a consistent them of teacher persistence being the most important quality that teachers need to be successful. A close second was the belief in the need for effective teachers to understand and be able to work with at-risk students and families and communities that are struggling economically.

Actually, there was very little negativity connected to the whole project. There were areas of the Haberman that were suggested for clarification but the participants in the study believed strongly that the Haberman gave them the tool they needed to select good teachers.

What suggestions were made by the subjects of the study for future improvements for the process of teacher selection?

This group was very reflective and many of them wanted more training so that they could be more skillful in their interviewing process. The idea of a “refresher course” was brought up by many people interviewed in the study and I think that could be a positive for most school districts. I also think that people enjoyed the time they were allowed to “vent” i.e. to talk about the frustrations of their job and of how difficult it is to hire good people and to teach students in a challenging environment.

Did this study accomplish your goal? How do you feel about its impact on your attitudes and beliefs?

Yes, I was very pleased that the results were so clear. This was a qualitative study with a very small quantitative portion of data, but the results were very clear. Principals value teacher persistence and the ability to work with at-risk kids very highly. As I tabulated the results, there was so much rich data both of an anecdotal nature of a statistical nature. You can clearly see the common themes of teacher persistence and working with at-risk students and you can hear a constant theme of support and belief in the Haberman method.

Are there any concerns that you have regarding the study?

I was very concerned about protecting the confidentiality of both the Haberman instrument and of the identity of the participants in the study. We were able to use a professional transcriptionist and to set up a protocol which protected the privacy of our subjects and the integrity of the Haberman system. That was very important to me as I did not want to do anything that was unethical or unprofessional.

Where do you go from here with this research?

The dissertation will be made available within the next few weeks. I will graduate in May and hope to continue to do research on this topic. I would like to continue to talk to principals about how they use the Haberman and to look more deeply into the issue of teacher selection in American schools. I currently teach as an adjunct professor and would like to make this topic the basis of my future career in higher education.

Do you have any final thoughts or comments?

Obviously, I am relieved to finish the doctoral dissertation process. I have over 400 pages of transcripts and years of research on the topic of teacher selection. I would like to continue to study the topic and to work with schools and school leaders to use the Haberman and solid professional practice to improve the quality of teacher selection. I believe that this quest is very important and one that will be rewarding both to me personally and to the students and schools that I serve.

 Published by Jimmy Kilpatrick
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by Education News
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