How to embrace Lesson Observations in your classroom
Did you know Lesson Observations are now a mandatory part of each States’ teacher accreditation process?
In NSW public schools, for instance, there must be a minimum of two documented observations per year (NSW Department of Education and Communities).
Lesson Observations make good sense because, as we tell our students, learning is a lifelong process.
Over the past 10 years, itc publications’ consultants have run hundreds of workshops in this field with schools across Australia.
We consistently hear that teachers are initially apprehensive about Lesson Observations.
Is this ‘Big Brother’ watching?
Is this an attempt to be ‘caught out’?
Am I being subjected to inspection-style interrogations?
These questions are natural but far from the truth. READ MORE (link to full article)
BENEFITS TO EMBRACE
Rather, Lesson Observations are a powerful opportunity for positive and proactive in-house professional development. Over time, you’ll see the benefits have a ripple effect.
- Firstly, teachers benefit from having an additional pair of eyes in the classroom and accessing useful data and rich feedback from a trusted colleague.
- In the next ripple, students benefit from having engaged and confident teachers who are supported to improve their practice daily.
- And finally schools as a whole benefit from a powerful professional development program that improves the quality of teaching and learning at every year level.
Here is a taste of the feedback we overwhelmingly hear from school leaders and teachers at our Lesson Observation workshops.
"Your workshop has charged us with the confidence to proceed immediately. We are into it next week…We had the bits and pieces ready to go but just needed the little push and confirmation we are heading in the right direction! Thanks for your help!”
Andrew Cummings, Principal, Cedar Creek State School, Qld
“Even though I have been teaching for the last 20 years, your lecture was an eye-opener for me. In future, I now have the tools to improve my lessons and make them interesting for my students.”
Secondary school teacher, Muswellbrook High School, NSW
OUR TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE LESSON OBSERVATIONS
In itc’s experience, initially there can be some apprehension regarding lesson observations. A poorly implemented lesson observation program can feel threatening or a waste of time, which has the potential to cause unnecessary anxiety and stress for teachers.
However, the AITSL approach, which has been adopted by all states and territories, is very clear: lesson observations are not about ‘catching teachers out’ but rather a focus on improving the quality of teaching in our profession.
With careful planning, Lesson Observations will become a powerful tool in your school’s professional development arsenal.
Here are our tips for smooth sailing when your school implements its Lesson Observations program.
- Protocols - establish an agreed set of protocols from the outset. The protocols must ensure that the process is non-threatening, non-evaluative and aimed at improving the teaching and learning process. A carefully agreed structure is imperative so that everyone feels comfortable with the process.
- Context – lesson observations require trust, humility and support. Even those of us who have been teaching for 20+ years can still improve our teaching. This is what makes our profession so rewarding.
- Collecting evidence - what do I observe? Link observations to the research, such as Victoria’s e5, the NSW’s Quality Teaching Model (QTM) or your own school-wide pedagogical framework.
- Giving and receiving feedback – it is great to give each other encouragement and praise. However, to improve, we also need to discuss openly what we could change. For example, in my teaching practice, what can I do more of? This could be to plan more dynamic lesson openings to engage the students. Similarly, what could I do less of? Would my lessons be better if I used less closed questions?
- Goal setting – lesson observations is not an end in itself. Rather, it should set some really clear goals on improving one’s teaching. These can be the focus and observed at the next set of lesson observations.
itc has developed highly practical and effective resources and workshops on Lesson Observations and Feedback. If you are interested in attending a three-hour public workshop or discussing a whole-school professional development at your school, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our consultants will immediately be in touch to discuss a tailored program for your classroom or school.