Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

October 18, 2010

“How should the observation procedure be made a positive, teaching, and coaching model?”

#Edchat 10-5-2010 – 18:00 CET 7 PM EST

This is the second of David Wee’s #edchat blog posts. Thank you David! See David’s bio at the end of the post.

So many teachers struggle with the observation procedure; especially our newest members of the profession. Many school districts have adopted rigid formats for observations which are inflexible and have stopped being a learning tool for the teacher being observed. While there are other possible secondary purposes of teacher observations, our primary purpose should be to help teachers improve their practice.

Our discussion today is especially relevant given the push to use standardized tests to evaluate teachers. While we know this is educationally unsound, our systems of teacher observations in many schools leave a lot to be desired. It is important that we share best practices about the teacher observation process since this process is something which should eventually happen to every teacher and could be a counterweight for the undesirable effect of relating teacher performance to the performance of their students.

Although this is not currently the case for me, I personally feel that teachers are not observed often enough. Many educators wait years for formal observations and rely on their students as their only source of feedback as to their practice. Even an informal observation with feedback can have a huge improvement on an educators practice. Feedback is an integral part of the learning process; every educator needs to be given timely, high quality, and constructive feedback on a regular basis.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  • Peer observation is a powerful tool; administrators are not the only ones who should be doing teacher observations.
  • Observations must include constructive feedback for the teacher on an ongoing basis.
  • Some models of teacher observation are stressful experiences with a much diminished opportunity for improvement from the teacher as a result of the experience.
  • Observations need to be done frequently with timely feedback provided.
  • Self-reflection is an important part of the teacher observation process.

Here is a selection of some of the comments:

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

  • @corriekelly – #edchat Peer observation/reflection can be powerful after trust is established. Can lead to better tchg & more collaboration.
  • @Akevy613 – I think it should be teacher driven; ask the teacher for areas that they would like for you to particularly observe- #edchat
  • @andycinek – Teachers should never feel like their job is in jeopardy when being observed, and admin needs to create a culture of growth #edchat
  • @mrdfleming – I wish I’d be observed more frequently. #edchat
  • @gfred33 – Peer observation needs to be part of the process. #edchat
  • @MoYChang – As a principal I learn a lot by asking the students what are you learning and why –the teachers appreciate students response also. #edchat
  • @Talkinitupagain – An extremely powerful tool is to have someone video record u. Really shows if u look and sound like u think u do. #edchat
  • @kylepace – Admins in my district use an iPod Touch app to do more informal walkthroughs/observations. #edchat
  • @ChrisVacek – #edchat shouldn’t all procedures, in all fields, be built to function as positive teaching & coaching opportunities? don’t we want this?
  • @tkraz – Observation of one class is like judging a coach based on one practice throughout an entire season. #edchat
  • @cybaryman1 – I would love to see administrators teach lesson & have teachers do observation reports on their teaching #edchat
  • @danielespejo – teacher observation/assessment should be for the purpose of student learning. Observations should be openly discussed #edchat
  • @Nunavut_Teacher – Observation does not have to be a “formal” time. Admin should be dropping by and saying hi each day to every class. #edchat
  • @math2go – All evals should include ‘opportunities to improve.’ We are none of us perfect. #edchat
  • @MrFoteah – Admins often have so much going on that it’s hard for them to get around to visit. How about inviting them in, though? #edchat
  • @TheDSCWay – Lesson Study is a PD process that engages in systematically examining their practice, with the goal of becoming more effective #edchat
  • @monk51295 – what if the convos between admin and teachers were simply .. what did you learn this week..accountability to learning #edchat
  • @jswiatek – I was disappointed when none of my admins stepped one foot into my classroom last year. I WANTED them to see what my kids were doing #edchat
  • @blujayy – I think teachers should be observed once a week if time permits. An honest critique is very helpful. #edchat
  • @oline73 – I think we should observe our peers too. I’d love to get feedback from more experienced teachers and visit them as well. #edchat

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

What should be the role of art & multimedia in today’s classroom?

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here

As ever, there were some great links shared :

justintarte:  http://bit.ly/b1dT37 – Check out my blog – helping educators grow through sharing and collaboration! #edchat #edtech #edreform #cpchat

gbengel:  Just blogged on thinking outside the ban http://bit.ly/9H8UWg. Thanks #tsetc and @innovativeEdu. #edchat #mlearning #nyscate

sinetpd360:  Blog: Free ELL Webinar from WestEd http://bit.ly/bojt1Z  #edchat #education #cpchat

briankotts:  October 5, Happy World Teachers’ Day! http://bit.ly/9Uvy23  #teachertuesday #edchat #ukedchat #edtech #education #edu

cybraryman1:  My Observation page (Walkthroughs, tips, forms & Tom Whitby pictures): http://bit.ly/9HbM7Z

MarjieKnudsen:  The Fake Revolution | Huffington Post – http://huff.to/aXUtA3  #teaching #edreform #edu #edchat #education

getideas:  #Edchat in re peer observation, Jim Lengel / Hunter College case study: http://bit.ly/aJrWoq

4thGrdTeach:  So you think Student Blogging is just for Fun? http://ow.ly/2P37d  #edchat #cpchat #ntchat #elemchat

Wkingbg:  Attend or Present at TEACHMEETKY on Oct. 22 at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY http://tinyurl.com/teachmeetky

kylepace: @eliza_peterson Here’s the link to the walkthough app I was talking about: http://bit.ly/aQg48V

getideas:  #Edchat – Is this the @NPRnews story on teach eval folks are looking for? http://bit.ly/bPq0Pl

cybraryman1:  Check out @bhsprincipal post on Walkthroughs on my Observations page: http://bit.ly/9HbM7Z

dannymaas: Some nice examples of student Voicethreads http://ow.ly/2P0l6  #edchat #edtech #cpchat #elemchat

#edchat yes to @tkraz‎: Better to video a teacher and *watch it together?* Again, see the Lengel/Hunter success case: http://bit.ly/aJrWoq

SafinaN:  @thenerdyteacher In Ontario leaders must meet certain competency reqt’s http://bit.ly/aK90nJ

n2teaching:  #edchat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp6jzqfLE_8: an adaptation of the Critical Friends Group; learner.org

kylepace:  @oline73 For walkthroughs? http://ow.ly/2P3XM

colonelb: We just finished first year pilot of system modeled after Danielson’s work. http://is.gd/fMUKL Conversations were strongest part.

web20classroom:  Thanks everyone for a great #edchat. Remember to keep conversations going on FB: http://on.fb.me/dBHUOq  and on http://edupln.com

thenerdyteacher: Project PLN Issue #2 is here. Check it out! #edchat – http://bit.ly/9AMH5m

tomwhitby:  EDU WEEK leadership Panel. http://bit.ly/at5XYH  Using Ed-Tech Tools for Individualizing Education. @NMHS_Principal and @tomwhitby #Edchat

gcouros:  Eight habits of highly effective 21st century teachers http://bit.ly/bKSxE8  #cpchat #edchat

David Wees has taught in Brooklyn, London, Bangkok, and Vancouver in public, parochial, and private education. His diverse experiences have given him a unique perspective on education systems worldwide. He has written an out of date textbook on Mathematics and blogs regularly at http://davidwees.com.



New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!


More Edchat



If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

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1 Comment »

  1. Very usefull tips, thanks for Sharing this.

    Comment by Summer camp Malta — October 21, 2010 @ 7:26 am | Reply

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