It is sometimes hard to know how effectively we are teaching. We can often tell from our students’ responses and reflecting on our lessons/lessons plans is useful. But, a key activity for monitoring how well we are embedding new teaching strategies that we have learnt from Teach2030 courses is through lesson observations. These can be both formal and informal.
Teachers are normally observed by a member of leadership, who record and measure the quality of teaching according to the teaching standards in place at the school. Teachers need warning for this to take place (about a week) and the expectations should be clear. For example, perhaps you are asked to show a lesson plan to whoever is observing. Formal observations help students to receive the best learning outcomes because teachers are expected to implement the feedback given.
Teachers are invited to pop into another classroom for a short period of time – perhaps 10 minutes. Perhaps a teacher is trialling a strategy and needs help to see whether they are completing it effectively. They will ask another teacher to go in to see how well they are doing this and to provide advice on how to do it better. There will be no judgement. It is a supportive measure between two teachers who are equal in status.
Informal lesson observations provide support, as both participants will learn and it increases confidence. Here are some other benefits:
Although it takes time and resources, it is worth visiting each other’s classrooms.
Learning partners can ask each other – we encourage this. As teachers, we are used to being officially observed by leadership, but, as a learning partner, this is a very different experience. Instead of a judgement that may affect pay, instead, you can watch each other just for a specific strategy. Celebrate the fact that you are trying something new. Let’s say that your learning partner decided to use the ‘Do Now‘ strategy (how to start your lessons effectively), you could go and see them just for the first 5 minutes and provide constructive feedback on how it went.
You can use a celebratory proforma such as this one, proudly displaying it in your classroom – ready for leadership to see and praise!
So, remember – observing each other can help you both to upskill! So, when you use the ‘Let’s Celebrate’ observation form, send it through to us on email to [email protected] or tag us on social media @teach2030.