What’s wrong with more lesson observations?
May 21, 2012 10 Comments
I have two lesson observations per year. One as part of an internal ‘mini Ofsted’ and another linked to one of my performance management targets. Are these two observations enough for me to improve my teaching and therefore the students learning? I would say it is not. I always self review my lessons and offer students the chance to offer open and honest formal feedback on a termly basis but sometimes I want another professional’s ‘outsider’ perspective.
From my knowledge, I believe we are only legally allowed to be observed once per term per academic year (= three altogether). Does anyone else find this insufficient? The majority of full time teaching staff at my school are timetabled for 26 out of 30 lessons per week which, over 37 school weeks (I think!), amounts to 962 lessons. Even if we are observed just ten times over the course of a school year that is still only 1% of our lessons being observed during that window. That’s not over doing it is it?
How would you feel as a parent if your son or daughter was only offered constructuve feedback from their teacher on three occasions in 37 weeks of school? Would you deem that to be unsatisfactory practice? I would guess that you would!
I think the current structure of so few lesson observations needs to be transformed quickly for both the teachers’ and students’ benefit. I understand some teachers do not like the whole observation experience but that could be due to experiencing so few? Some of these observations could be more informal ‘conversations’ with no Ofsted judgements awarded. Instead, the real focus would be on a two way professional dialogue on why parts of the lesson were successful or unsuccessful. You could use the ‘what went well’ (WWW) and ‘even better if’ (EBI) tactics here.
So, what do we all think?