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Improve your lesson observations

Shift your classroom observation culture towards a more developmental and formative model that supports improvements in teaching and learning effectively. Find out what's inside >

Practical-guide-to-Lesson-Observation---BOOK

"Some lessons are better learned through observation than experience" Anon

What is this guide about?

There is often confusion between lesson observation as part of the accountability framework and teacher observation for effective professional development. It’s essential to ensure there is a clear distinction between the two. Accountability is important, but it has to be intelligent
accountability. Without context and where there is a mismatch between the intended and perceived purpose, observation as part of the accountability framework has limited value for improving teaching and learning. This challenge strikes the heart of why lesson observations must move away from performance management towards development, a significant cultural shift for many schools.

Lesson observation is a core component of all of the higher impact professional learning activities and, when part of ongoing professional development with built-in focused feedback cycles, it’s a hugely powerful way of building confidence, motivating colleagues and cultivating a growth mindset in the teaching community of a school.

Evaluating teachers with classroom observations shouldn't be seen as a standalone activity. Think about the structures of professional development programmes that already exist in your school, for example Lesson Study, teaching triads or peer coaching. Lesson observations play a role in all of these. If it doesn't, then it's likely that including some form of classroom or peer observation will make them richer and more effective professional development activities, but only as long as those lesson observations are developmental.

This guide includes:

  • 11 useful ideas to help you better observe a lesson
  • Provides questions to help you better reflect on your current lesson observation process
  • Helps explain why your current peer observation practice might be failing your teachers
  • Contains practical ways to transform the way you approach classroom observations
  • Gives tips on how to observe a lesson to provide better lesson observation feedback
  • Suggests better alternatives to lesson observation checklists

 

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“Observation more than books and experience more than persons, are prime educators. ” 

Amos Bronson Alcott