Submitted By: Natasha Akram Roll No: FA/8-EDE 011 Class: BS-Edu- I Topics: Observation in Classroom , Reflection on classroom observation by yourself and with others, Conversation with experienced teachers Submitted To: Professor Munwar Hussain Shab Submission Date: 05 November 2018 Content Table: 1. What is Classroom Observation? 2. Observation in Classroom 3. Reform 4. Debate 5. Reflections on Classroom observation by yourself and with others 6. Conversation with Experienced Teachers 7. Conclusion WHAT IS CLASSROOM OBSERVATION? Manual data collection Electronic data collection participant observation Nonparticipant observation open-ended observation, focused observation Classroom observation is a formative (continuous) process of gathering data around teacher learning targets to provide feedback to the teacher regarding growth and to inform future teacher learning. Observation in classroom: A classroom observation is a formal or informal observation of teaching while it is taking place in a classroom or other learning environment. Typically conducted by fellow teachers, administrators, or instructional specialists, classroom observations are often used to provide teachers with constructive critical feedback aimed at improving their classroom management and instructional techniques. School administrators also regularly observe teachers as an extension of formal job-performance evaluations. Classroom observations may be called learning walks, teacher observations, walkthroughs, and many other things, and they may be conducted for shorter or longer periods of time—from a few minutes to a full class period or school day. Educators may also use a wide variety of classroom-observation methods—some may be nationally utilized models developed by educational experts, while others may be homegrown processes created by the educators using them. In many cases, observation notes are recorded using common templates or guidelines that describe what observers should be looking for or what the observed teacher would like feedback on. Increasingly, educators are conducting and recording classroom observations using digital and online technologies—such as Smartphone’s, tablets, and subscription-based online systems—that can provide educators with observational functionality and data analytics that would not be possible if paper-based processes were used. While classroom observations are conducted for a wide variety of purposes, they are perhaps most commonly associated with job-performance evaluations conducted by school administrators and with professional learning communities—groups of teachers who work together to improve their instructional skills. Classroom observations may be conducted by teachers in the same content area or grade level—in these cases, teachers share students or similar expertise—or they may be conducted by teachers across academic disciplines—in this case, the goal may be to observe and learn from the varied instructional practices used in different types of classes. It should also be noted that many educators make a strict delineation between observations made for the purposes of helping a teacher improve, and those conducted for the purposes of job-performance evaluation. Some educators may object to the use of walkthrough, or other terms associated with no administrative observations, when referencing evaluative observations by school administrators. Reform : Generally speaking, classroom observations could be considered a de-facto school-improvement strategy, since they are typically intended to improve instructional quality and teaching effectiveness, whether they are conducted by fellow teachers or by administrators. Since teachers often work in relative isolation from their colleagues—e.g., they may create courses and lessons on their own, or teach behind the closed doors of a classroom without much feedback from colleagues—teaching styles, educational philosophies, and academic expectations often vary widely from class to class, as does the effectiveness of lessons and instructional techniques. Classroom observations arose in response to these common trends, and they are often used as a form of professional development intended to foster greater collaboration and more sharing of expertise and insights among teachers in a school. Debate: Classroom observations may become the object of debate or criticism for a variety of reasons. For example, if classroom observations are used as part of a job-evaluation process, school leaders, teachers, and teacher unions may have divergent ideas about how the observations should be conducted and what the evaluation criteria should be. In addition, while classroom observations have long been used in the job performance evaluations of teachers, some critics contend that the observations contribute relatively little to the improvement of teaching for several possible reasons: Principals may not use consistent, evidence-based evaluation criteria. Principals may not have been trained in proper observation strategies, or they may not have the teaching experience or expertise required to evaluate instructional techniques. Job-performance observations are typically prescheduled, which means that teachers can prepare in advance and alter their methods, and that the quality of teaching on the observed day may not be representative of a teacher’s normal practice. The feedback teachers receive may be superficial, inconsistent, or unhelpful in terms of improving instructional quality. Most teachers receive high job-performance ratings from principals, even in poorly performing schools where there is evidence that lowquality teaching is occurring. Classroom observations may also challenge established institutional conventions and teaching practices, which can make the strategy an emotional topic in some schools. For example, some teachers may not see any value in the process, they take issue with the specific criteria being used, they may not approve of certain people watching them teach, or they may be uncomfortable with the idea of being observed because they may feel threatened or insecure in such situations, to name just a few possible reasons. Reflections on Classroom observation by yourself and with others: Classroom observation has always been on my lists of “shoulddo’s” and “I know it’s important buts”. I have got other things to take care of. And of the times I have been observed, nothing much special has come of it. The experiences have been inconsistent and peripheral to what I do. In my first encounter with observation, my class was taken to a special room for the occasion. A panel of the school’s teachers sat in the back while I did my thing. This highly rewarding enterprise saw me receive papers from each of the teachers with a numerical score and some comments. The lowest score was a 93 and it came from the vice-principal. His comment, “you should get the students to speak more”. And so ended my first observation, six weeks into my teaching career. Since then there have been sporadic times when people have ‘popped into class’ to watch for 20 or 30 minutes. I receive notes on what they thought went well and what might be improved. It has all been quite useful in setting my mind to the fact that observation is not a waste of time, but also not something that really deserves the effort. That line of thinking has come to an abrupt end recently. This semester I am participating in my MAT-ESOL teaching practicum. It involves a number of cycles in which: 1) I develop a lesson plan and have a detailed discussion of it with my advisor. 2) I teach the lesson in front of a critical friend (with attendant pre and post meetings). 3) I write up an analysis of the lesson. 4) I finish with another in-depth meeting with my advisor. These cycles have really pushed me to open up the dynamic interactions that regularly occur in my classroom. Meetings with advisor and critical friend have served as both a source of enlightenment and a jolt of encouragement. The effects of all this have not just been to improve my practice, but to open up previously unseen paths of thought that have gotten me thinking about the art of teaching in wholly new ways. What I have found most surprising is that the after effects of these cyclical observations leave their imprint on me and my classes for days and weeks after the cycle of observation has completed. The mental combustion that the robust, frank and supportive discussions brings about has led to a real and very noticeable increase in my ability to better understand the Thou-It and I-It relationships of my classroom, in real time. This in turn has been a major boon to the corresponding I-Thou relationships. The cycles of observation have acted as real catalysts for self-produced solutions to my own uniquely observed conundrums of the classroom. Now I see how observation, when done well, can be such a massive asset to a teachers growth. And as before, being observed and observing will be a S.M.A.R.T. goal. However, in deference to achievable (the A in SMART) I will aim to be observed twice a semester. For all the good observation does, if done well, it is quite an additional amount of work. Observation plays a central role in practice teaching, both observation of your teaching by your cooperating teacher and supervisor, as well as your own observations of your cooperating teacher's class. Other school staff may also wish to observe one of your classes from time to time, such as the principal, the vice-principal, or a senior teacher, so you need to prepare well for every lesson in the event that someone asks to observe your teaching. You may also have the opportunity to observe other teachers in your host school and to review video recordings of your own teaching and that of other student teachers in your teaching practice seminars. The purpose and nature of observation, however, differs according to who participates in the observation process. For example, in observing your cooperating teacher's class your focus will be on how the teacher teaches, on such things as how the teacher creates a positive atmosphere for learning, on the strategies and procedures used by the teacher in setting up activities, on the way the teacher gives instructions and explanations, and how he or she gives feedback to learners. As a novice teacher you will not be evaluating your cooperating teacher's teaching. When you are being observed by your cooperating teacher or supervisor, however, the focus will often be on how well you carried out different aspects of the lesson. In this chapter we deal with both kinds of observations. Your practice-teaching assignment will often begin with a series of observations of your cooperating teacher's class. These observations will give you a chance to familiarize yourself with such things as the course materials the teacher is using, the teaching methods and strategies the teacher uses, how he or she interacts with students, how the learners respond and interact with the teacher and among themselves, and the kinds of language they understand and produce. These observations will help you prepare yourself for some of issues and problems that you may have to face while teaching the class. You can see what methods and strategies the teacher employs and decide if you will be able to use these yourself when you come to teach the class. You will also learn more about the learners (e.g., their interests, motivations, and learning styles) and this will better prepare you for the time when you will take over teaching the class. As Gaies (1991) has pointed out, "What we see, when we observe teachers and learners in action, is not the mechanical application of methods and techniques, but rather a reflection of how teachers have interpreted these things. If observation is to serve a useful purpose it needs to be carefully planned. The purpose of the observation is to collect information that you can later use during a follow-up discussion with the teacher. Before you observe your cooperating teacher's class you will normally have a pre-observation meeting to decide on the focus for your observation and the procedures you will use to record your observations. You may suggest aspects of the class you would like to learn more about, such as how the teacher makes use of group work or how he or she deals with classroom management. Your cooperating teacher will also suggest things to look for during an observation. Normally you should focus on only one or two aspects of the lesson since you cannot focus on too many things at the same time. Some aspects of a lesson are relatively easy to observe (such as the kinds of questions students ask), whereas others may not be observable and have to be inferred (such as the degree of interest students had in the topic of the lesson, decisions teachers made during a lesson, or problems that occurred that might not have been visible to an observer). The following are examples of the things your cooperating teacher might ask you to observe during his or her lessons: Lesson structure • The way the lesson opens, develops, and closes • The number of activities that constitute the lesson • The links and transitions between activities Classroom management strategies • Setting up groups • Maintaining order • Time management • Seating arrangements Classroom Observation in Teaching Practice Types of teaching activities • Whole-class activities • Pair and group activities • Individual activities Teaching strategies • Presenting tasks • Organizing practice • Teaching techniques Teacher's use of materials • Use of the textbook • Use of other resources Teacher's use of language • Use of instructional language • Use of questions • Feedback techniques • Explanations of vocabulary and grammar Students' use oflanguage • Use oflanguage in group work • Use of the mother tongue during class • Problems with grammar • Problems with pronunciation Student interaction • Time on task • Questioning behaviors • Student-to-student talk. Conversation with Experienced Teachers: Do make time to talk. If the teacher calls you when you can't give her your full attention, ask whether you can call back at a more convenient time. Do take notes. "It will be easier to remember the teacher's suggestions if you write them down," says Valorene Young, a first-grade teacher at the Ashley Elementary School, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Don't interrupt. "Teachers think long and hard before they make a phone call, and they want to express their concerns completely," says Pauline Wahl, a teacher in Minot, North Dakota. Do share your ideas. "No one knows your child as well as you do, so if you have strategies that the teacher can use to help your child, she wants to hear them," says Beth Irving, a reading teacher at Woodside Elementary School, in Peekskill, New York. Don't look for a quick fix. Take time to digest what the teacher has said and talk it over with your family. "Set up a time when you and your husband can meet with the teacher, or at least follow up with notes, e-mails, or phone calls to ask how everything is going," says Young. Don't get defensive. The conversation should focus on helping your child, not on blaming anyone. The teacher needs your support to resolve the issue. Conclusion: A classroom observation is the purposeful examination of teaching and/or learning events through the systematic processes of data collection and analysis (Bailey, 2001). Classroom observation was also defined as a process by which the observer sits in on one or more classroom sessions, records the instructor’s teaching practices and student actions, and then meets with the instructor to discuss the observations. Therefore, it is a collaborative process. Both the teacher being observed and the observer having significant roles before, during, and after the observation process. Collaborating at each phase of the process can help place both participants at ease so that each benefits from the experience. The main purpose behind the classroom observation is to allow a teacher to get feedback from an objective, experienced observer and to involve in context-specific discussions about teaching with an adviser. Moreover, data will be collected on what the teacher is doing what they should probably be doing; classroom learning environment will be assessed and reported to the stakeholders. Additionally, the teacher’s capability to demonstrate various teaching methods is also observed (Wragg, 1999). The observation should not be an endorsement for promotion and tenure, a judgment of the teacher’s teaching methods, styles and skills, or an assessment of the teacher’s knowledge of disciplinary content. It is purely developmental rather than intimidation and making decisions. Classroom observation has been used for long time to evaluate the quality of teaching provided and the consistency between the curriculum plan and the actual delivery of the material by teachers. Wragg (1999) stated that “the purpose of looking at implementation is to see whether there is a mismatch between intention and strategies”. Classroom observation has constantly been seen as an effortful task from the side of the teachers. Negative attitudes have been expressed from several teachers venting their disappointment about the process by which observation has been implemented. This feeling of unhappiness and dissatisfaction is not a product of today; it is possibly an aggregation of many years of authoritarian, impressionistic, and impartial models of supervisions with teachers feeling of little ownership. Because the observer has a great role in renewing the teacher’s contracts, they had to conform to the supervisor’s viewpoints. This is considered an exceptional limitation of the observation process.