Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Lesson Observations

This morning I read the latest blog post by The Primary Head (find it here : http://theprimaryhead.com/2014/03/04/judge-me/comment-page-1/#comment-789 )

It was a very interesting piece following on from the recent discussions on twitter regarding lesson observations and to grade or not to grade. 
( Find it here:  http://educationechochamber.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/beyond-lesson-observation-grades-teacher-development-trust/ )

So I thought I would add my thoughts to the mix .

I don't mind being observed, in fact, if I am going to get some helpful feedback to improve my teaching then it's a good thing. Do I need to be given a grade? Not really. What I need is feedback and reflection. 

 An excellent post on this can be found here: 
http://chrismoyse.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/professional-development-at-my-academy-no-lessson-grades-ever/  
 where the school do carry out regular observations (often in pairs) and the feedback is well structured and focuses on development.

I would love to know how schools are able to fund this; I work in a small (6 class) primary and have few opportunities to watch my colleagues teach and to be watched other than the performance management/maths/english monitoring cycles. I'd be more than happy to have a lesson videoed and used as a discussion point (especially if I could have my hair/nails/face done as part of the deal!!- OK, that's probably not going to be part of the process!)

That way would save release time for other staff and the video could be used in a staff meeting to focus on questioning/more able/TA support...the list goes on. 

I would love to hear from schools (particularly primary) who have successfully implemented this. I know that some of my colleagues would balk at the thought of being videoed but it's not going to be put on youtube (!) 

Lesson observations are an integral part of a teachers development. Grading an individual lesson (or worse still just a part of it) does not, in my opinion, do much good for anyone. What teacher does not want to do the best they can to provide the children in their care a stimulating and productive learning environment? Strategies to improve teaching and learning are always welcomed. The day that I wouldn't want that would be the day I leave teaching. I am an experienced teacher and have many opportunities to observe NQTs, trainees and to support staff in my role as an AST. What I would love the opportunity to do more of is to watch examples of excellent teaching from experienced teachers and have time to reflect on the lesson with others. Budget always seems to get in the way of this, but I will continue to strive for this to happen.  

Should I be in the position to make such decisions in the future I would strive to have a model of collaborative observations to allow all staff to observe/be observed and discuss openly where the teaching is most successful and WHY that is. As teachers we constantly model to the children; something we too need for our development.

** I have just read this excellent post http://prawnseyeblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/three-steps-to-heaven-or-at-least-making-observations-more-meaningful/  This is exactly the sort of model I would love to be a part of. ** 



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