Making lesson observations work (Part 1): Problems with traditional approaches to lesson observation.
A central concern for any school is how to support and enhance the performance and development of its classroom teachers. It is for this reason that observations of classroom practice have become such a prominent feature of the landscape in education settings, with observations now taking place many times during the academic year for each individual teaching practitioner. Observation processes are linked to and inform, among other things, performance management appraisals, school inspections, and continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers. Being observed at work can be, in my view, a good thing, in that it can bring strengths to one’s attention, inform consideration about areas for development, and raise awareness about blind spots one might have about one’s practice. It stimulates learning and reflection, guards against complacency, and is a helpful vehicle for challenge. Observation is thus a key tool for supporting practitioner learning and development, which in turn supports the ongoing process of school improvement. It is also a potentially valuable component of coaching engagements in schools if the aim is to support the development of classroom practice. However, there are a number of factors associated with observation procedures that, in my view and experience, can either confound the process or interfere with the aim of supporting practitioner learning and development. This blog post outlines some of these factors.
Psychology for Positive Change is a blog about constructive applications of psychology to everyday living.
Mark Adams is a Chartered Psychologist who is passionate about how psychology can be applied to make a positive difference to lives and society. He is the author of Coaching Psychology in Schools, published by Routledge in November 2015.
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