How can we make observations less stressful and more a part of ongoing professional development #ELTchat Summary 23/03/2011
This summary was contributed by Priscilla Santos – @teacher_prix on Twitter! What a great job! Thank you!!!!!!
To be or not to be… Observed!
I have been observed a number of times since I started teaching. Those observations have happened for a number of reasons, ranging from DOS checking if I was following the school’s method accordingly to my asking a colleague’s help with a very unusual teenage group.
I believe in lesson observations if they have a clear purpose, and allow for some reflection – I don’t mind being observed at all. In fact, I really enjoy and respect feedback sessions.
However, being on the other side, playing the observer’s role is something yet to be figured out in my head. How much more should I know in order to be the person in charge of observing other teachers? How much reading should I have done? How should I tackle feedback? What puts me in a position of ‘criticizing’ someone else’s work? How picky, straight to the point or sensitive should I be? Will I ever be ready? How many more questions…?
Writing this #ELTchat summary has widened my views on the matter. Moreover, it has helped organize my ideas and – yes – it has given me not THE answers to all the questioning above, but the directions so I can find myself around.
Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:
Reasons for observations:
- Professional development;
- Encouragement and support;
Factors that interfere with observations in general:
- School budget;
- All teachers teach same time slots;
- Admin support.
Factors that affect the observation process:
- The reason;
- The observer;
- The observee;
- The students;
- Pre meeting;
Types of observation:
- Live streamed;
- Scheduled; (announced)
- Unscheduled. (unannounced)
The chat closed with teachers brainstorming ideas to answer the main question:
@waykatewit: So, to make observation less stress @DaveDodgson – tell teachers we love them! #ELTchat
@JoeMcVeigh: RT @DaveDodgson: So, to make observation less stress & more for PD we need to…. #ELTchat make it feel safe for teachers.
@cerirhiannon: RT @DaveDodgson: So, to make observation less stress & more for PD we need to…. #ELTchat observe not evaluate, b open about hows n whys
@Marisa_C: RT @DaveDodgson: So, to make observation less stress & more for PD we need to…. #ELTchat? Take them for granted as part of our PD
@bcnpaul1: RT @cioccas: @DaveDodgson: To make observation less stress & more for PD we need to make it part of the culture & a shared thing btwn Ts #ELTchat
@DinaDobrou: @DaveDodgson…to create a non-threatening environment in our schools where observations are sought after. Am I a dreamer here? #ELTchat
As ever, there were some great links shared:
Observations Page: http://tinyurl.com/4j7824o
Walk throughs: http://tinyurl.com/4phs2pf
Light approach: http://bit.ly/g3XJVw
An experiment in lesson observations http://bit.ly/g3XJVw
Does relevance matter? http://bit.ly/fSmlGW
The IRIS camera: http://tinyurl.com/45bn9zm
Student privacy rules http://tinyurl.com/y8stkbw
Instruments for classroom observation: http://bit.ly/gvDkuz
Teachers observation page with links: http://bit.ly/eG4gzp
Different ways of recording info during an observation http://bit.ly/hRslzg
Lighthearted feedback http://bit.ly/gc7vgg
Peer Observation: http://www.ten.edu.uy/IMG/pdf/Research_on_Peer_Observation.pdf
New to ELTchat?
If you have never participated in an #ELTchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Wednesday on Twitter at 12pm GMT and 9pm GMT. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out this video, Using Tweetdeck for Hashtag Discussions!
by Priscilla Santos
@teacher_prix on Twitter!
What do you think? Leave a comment!
I am going to be observed for the first time since I completed my TESL program 3 years ago. I’m very nervous. I feel somehow that my lesson (intermediate pronunciation course at community college) might come off as seeming contrived or artificial. I’m still developing confidence as a teacher and worry a lot. Great discussion, though – interesting to see it from the other side.
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