- Problems associated with traditional lesson observation procedures (September 2016).
- How principles from evidence-based psychological approaches can be applied to transform the practice of lesson observations (November 2016).
This post represents the third part of this series of articles, outlining a seven-step psychology-informed framework (Adams, 2015) that can be applied in the context of lesson observations to support practitioner learning and development.
THE SEVEN-STEP FRAMEWORK
1. Clarify the focus and goals of the observation
2. Observe the practitioner at work
Teacher: “Well done X, thank-you Y. Student Z, I can see you’re ready to learn as you’ve got your books on the table” [two other students immediately get their books out].
Notes can be further elaborated with e.g. times, headings, and line breaks to delineate the distinct parts of the lesson.
A key shift in emphasis here is that the observer is not making notes to purely inform their own feedback, but is instead making notes that will support the observee’s learning and reflection. To this end, judgemental, evaluative feedback holds less informational value for the practitioner than specific detail about the nature of the practice observed and its impact, and it is the latter that is typically the more powerful driver of development (see also Assessment for Learning, e.g. William & Black, 2006).
3. Allow the observee to read the transcript
4. Enhance self-efficacy
5. Develop discrepancy
- Open questions: What are your thoughts about aspects you might wish to develop?
- Steered questions: How would you describe the students’ engagement during the class discussion?
- Wondering aloud: I was wondering here what might have contributed to the amount of calling out during the class discussion…
- Giving feedback: I noticed here that you started talking before the group were quiet, which seemed to lead to you needing to stop to regain attention. What do you think?
The aim here is to raise the observee’s awareness of aspects of their practice which might be adjusted in order to support further development in the desired direction. This aspect of the process will be discussed further in my Term 5 blog post.
6. Collaboratively generate ways forward
7. Formalize an action plan
The observee’s perspective
“This was the most positive experience of my teaching career so far. I felt that the coaching was focused completely on what I already did well and how this can be developed or used more so that I improve further…. As the goals came from a very collaborative discussion and so were specific to me, I felt they were not only something that I wanted to achieve, but something that I could achieve."
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84 (2): 191-215.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: Freeman.
Berg, I. K. & De Jong, P. (2002). Interviewing for Solutions. Brooks/Cole, CA.
de Shazer, S. (1985). Keys to Solution in Brief Therapy. New York: W. W. Norton.
de Shazer, S. (1988). Clues: Investigating Solutions in Brief Therapy. New York: W. W. Norton.
Miller, W. & Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People for Change (Second Edition). New York: The Guilford Press.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55: 68–78.
William, D. & Black, P. (2006). Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment. London: NFER Nelson.