Session 20: Lesson Observations: How do we get the best from them?

Session Title

Lesson Observations: How do we get the best from them?

Summary of Session

The discussion this week was fast and furious; everyone has something to say about lesson observations!

Inevitably, Ofsted observations were discussed, but more time was spent discussing the observation as a CPD tool. We discussed the process of observations and the need for proper, timetabled (where possible) feedback. There was consensus that the focus of the observation should be clear before the lesson. Contributors had mixed feelings on being observed: some enjoying the process as a chance to “show off” or to experiment with new ideas, whilst others disliking the more nerve-wracking scrutiny aspect of an observation.

There were some excellent tips for observers: giving constructive but fair feedback, recognising the fact that nerves do play a part and suggestions that peer observations and team-teaching are better ways of supportive development.

The topic of pupil observers was raised. There were several contributors who said that this was used in their school. This is certainly something which I found thought-provoking and will be giving consideration to as a result of this week’s discussion.

A spot of light-hearted humour was injected by the recounting of people’s worst lesson observations, and wow, have there been some corkers! There was the squirrel that flew in the window, various wasps and other insects, the vomiting child, the nut allergy and the false teeth falling out. Who said lesson observations were dull and boring?

We ended with reasons to embrace the lesson objective process and, for me, @Ariellah’s reminder that lesson obs are simply a process of lifelong learning for us teacher-types summed things up nicely!

Another great discussion with contributions from professionals and educators with a broad range of experience: that’s the genius of #ukedchat!

Eye-Catching Tweets

@leeandrewdunn: should observations be bi directional? NQT observing an experienced teacher and vice versa? Maybe a buddy process almost?

@creativeedu: I think that comprehensive and helpful feedback is essential to making lesson obs feel worthwhile no matter who’s doing them

@dawnhallybone: when observing lessons – note down no of times children smile and teacher smiles – a diff way of looking at it

@daviderogers: When observing, make a map of teacher movements or note down
how much they talk and give as a % in feedback

@Catriona_O: purpose of observations need to be defined in advance. Is it for observee improvement or observer improvement?

@mbht1:  school council observe with me and feedback – pupil voice and they
are so accurate…..they know a good lesson when they see one!

@didactylos: observation must be about ‘doing it even better next time’ – the word ‘even’ is crucial

@trees2066: Important for staff to observe each other in an informal supportive
way – our teachers say this is the best CPD they have.

@creativeedu:  I think even the most excruciating obs experience can be made
positive if you learn something from it: FEEDBACK and FOLLOW UP

@dawnhallybone: not forgetting that we are observed daily by the ones that really
matter – impt to get their feedback too

@smichael920: peer observations take away that nervousness people can feel and make it a supportive process

@janeyk419: for us the key point in lesson obs is Student Progress. Have they made any? How do we/they know? A bit Ofsted but important…

@mallrat_uk: I have a ‘suggestion box’ on my desk, all pupils can put signed or anon comments about my lesson in

@creativeedu: Ofsted look for WHAT students are learning, HOW they are learning
it & the RATE at which they are learning

@Catriona_O: observations R totally KEY 2 collegiality! why wld U want 2 keep genius 2 yourself? why wld u not want 2 C genius in action?

@GaryAveryICT: Does anyone get to observe in other schools? Sometimes you get locked into the ethos of your school.

@BAFDiploma: Embrace them as it is one of those rare moments that you have time to reflect on own practice

@colport:  If you have a good, positive example of a lesson observation sheet, please share it within the #ukedchat over the next few days.

Tweets of the Week

Being a recently appointed 2nd in Department and first-time PGCE mentor, I think the ‘tweets of the week’ for me were these two:

@dawnhallybone: when observing lessons – note down no of times children smile and teacher smiles – a diff way of looking at it

@daviderogers: When observing, make a map of teacher movements or note down how much they talk and give as a % in feedback

Why? Because they gave me an alternative way of looking at the observation process and some great ideas for useful feedback beyond the usual, expected stuff!

Useful Weblinks Identified During Session

@mooshtang: This book has some interesting ideas for when being observed

@Ariellah: Obs should empower teachers- Check this model of “#Self-Study”
that includes teachers’ Observation


About your host

@dailydenouement: I’m a Lead Practitioner in English at a comprehensive school in South Liverpool. I teach KS3-5 English Language and Literature. I’ve been using Twitter for about six months and find it an invaluable source of inspiration and free CPD to boot!

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About UKEdChat Editorial 3188 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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