Lesson Observations – Why Do Them?
It’s a question quite a few teachers have asked over the years.
It’s a question quite a few teachers have asked over the years.
I have been giving a lot of thought to the need to be ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ if observations are to be effective.
Agreement on the purpose, what makes good teaching and learning and methodology is fundamental to the success of any observation process. ‘Buy in’ and collaboration from observees are essential and need to be constantly monitored.
With this in mind how frequently do you ask your staff what they really think of the process which should be all about developing and supporting them?
*** The information provided prior the observation process
*** The behaviour/attitude of the observer during the observation
*** The criteria used to make judgements
*** The encouragement you are given to contribute during the observer’s feedback
*** The observer’s comments/judgements
*** The action points set were agreed, relevant and clearly logged
*** The value of the observation process in helping you to improve your performance
will provide you with the information needed to take appropriate action and make relevant adjustments to improve your observation process.
To reduce the time and administration involved we have streamlined this evaluation process in the latest version of Observation Manager. Following an observation, observees have the option to give their feedback online. It takes only a couple of minutes and the results are captured on the new Evaluation Form for future reference and analysis.
How prepared are your staff to receive feedback? Observer training is essential but it is easy to overlook the observee’s needs- feedback is for the recipient not the giver. Improve the effectiveness of your observations by making sure your observees are fully prepared, engaged and motivated by the experience. This means that they need to know how to get the most from feedback they are given,
1. Don’t forget the purpose of the observation process: to improve your skills.
2. Remember the process is a developmental dialogue between two professionals – both of who should be open to ideas and improvements.
3. Listen carefully and be receptive.
4. Have your say, consider your performance and actively respond to any open questions such as:
‘What do you think you could do to tackle the problem of….’
5. Clarify and check your understanding, feedback needs to be clear in order for it to be helpful.
6. Suggest and agree your next steps, goals etc.
7. Give YOUR feedback on the observation process. Consider if the process is working for you. Is it motivating and encouraging self development, making you feel very much part of an improving team?
Here’s a useful link for keeping up to date with summaries of UK education news:
It is updated daily and provides easily digestible chunks so that only a few minutes each day will ensure you are on top of current events
I have been considering the decision of Ofsted to stop grading individual lessons during inspections. The reason is understandable – they did not want to give the impression that the impact of teaching, learning and assessment can be condensed into a snapshot of one lesson. This has triggered many providers to evaluate their procedures for judging the quality of their provision with some implementing non graded observations. But is this ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’?
Many words have been written on the effectiveness as well as the detrimental effects on staff of carrying out graded observations. But what must not be forgotten is that, when the approach and focus is right, observations themselves are an integral part of a staff member’s continuous professional development
1. All staff know the purpose of observing/being observed – a tool for informing CPD, an opportunity to share good practice
2. Observers are well trained to observe, record and deliver feedback
3. The observation judgement criteria focuses on learning.
4. There is an equal ‘power’ balance between the observer and observe; they regard each other as supportive professionals. The types of observations carried out include peer-support observations.
5. Observees actively contribute to the feedback
6. Observations are only one of a number of sources of information used to assess the quality of teaching, learning and assessment. Others include learners’ progress, the standard of their work and their feedback etc., over time
7. Judgement grading descriptors are less contentious and more supportive. e.g. support needed, good practice seen etc. Giving some criteria judgement make it easy to see improvements after remedial actions.
8. Staff are encouraged to be involved with their own learning by contributing to observation feedback, discussing their future needs and how they do/can contribute to the organisations improvement and by completing their own CPD.
9. The process has credibility and shows clearly staff development needs as identified, actioned, followed up – and the impact they have made.
10. Good practice is identified and readily shared through the organisation and with subcontractors.
Do you agree with the above but lack of time and the weight of the admin burden is preventing you getting the most from your observations?
The good news is that for only £295 (plus vat) per year Observation Manager not only drastically reduces the time and admin burden involved in carrying out an effective staff observation but also provides the information/data for discussion celebrating successes and implementing improvements.
To find out how Observation Manager can help your organisation click here for an online demo or send an email to info@TeachingPlusLearning.co.uk
• Easy to use, low cost, web based shared resource available 24/7 on any device with Internet Access- PC’S , Laptops, iPads, iPhones, Android devices etc.
• A software solution (hosted by us) that’s as good as tailor-made with judgement criteria customisable by you to meet your company’s specifications and reflect Ofsted requirements.
• You can rest assured that all Follow Ups are implemented, with Action Points logged to show what’s being done to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
• Reduces costs – customisable electronic observation proforma to record observation judgements – e-observations. No need to printout unless you want to. Validation can be by digital signature.
• Reduce staff time because there is no need for ‘double entry’ – reports and tutors’ records are automatically updated as criteria grades are entered on the observation proforma.
You would need to trawl through every recent Ofsted Inspection Report. Well, good news! We’ve done it for you. We have cut through all the “coded” language to bring you the most concise and informative summary of report extracts on the subject of Lesson Observations there is (and it’s free). An easy to read 8 page PDF
A main change in the way Ofsted will inspect Further Education from September 2015 it is that they will make four graded judgments:
and there will be a greater emphasis on safeguarding and curriculum.
As you would expect the 4 judgement areas are all interlinked and very much dependent on the the skills and capability of staff to support, engage, motivate, advise, teach and train learners. Therefore it is essential that leaders and managers know at any one time the quality of all the activities being carried out in their organisation in order to implement improvements and identify staff training needs and good practice . Although an expectation of the Common Inspection Framework, this level of control can be time consuming and involve a heavy admin burden.
I am pleased to say that the latest release of Observation Manager drastically reduces the time and admin burden whilst giving complete control and the information needed for effective improvement. The programme has been updated to allow for user defined types of Observations – for example inductions, reviews, coaching, invigilation, etc, in addition to teaching, learning & assessment. Carrying out the e-observations is simple plus reports, graphs and observees’ records are automatically updated subsequently reducing administration and staff time. No need for double entry on several databases. Giving complete control including the ability to see at a glance the status of staff action points and good practice this cost effective tool is a shared resource available 24/7 on any device with internet access.