Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Guidelines for observation by student teachers

  • Teachers are busy professionals. Classroom observations are not always a welcome intrusion for the classroom teachers involved.
  • The observation of classroom teachers is serious business; it should not be approached casually.
  • Learning how to observe in a manner acceptable to all parties takes time, careful reflection, personal tact, and creativity.
  • An observer is a guest in the teacher's and student's classroom. A guest in the classroom is there thanks to the goodwill of the cooperating teacher.
  • A guest's purpose for visiting is not to judge, evaluate or criticize the classroom teacher, or to offer suggestions, but simply to learn through observing.
  • Visitors should contact the cooperating teacher for a brief orientation to the class.
  • A visitor who is planning to observe a class should arrive in the classroom a few minutes ahead of time.
  • If something unexpected comes up and the visitor is not able to observe a class at the agreed-upon time, the visitor needs to notify the classroom teacher as soon as possible. It's a visitor's responsibility to keep the classroom teacher informed.
  • Once having entered a classroom, the visitor should try to be as unobtrusive as possible, sitting where directed by the teacher.
  • If a student in the class asks the visitor a direct question (e.g., What are you doing here? Are you a teacher too?), the visitor should answer as briefly as possible. It is important to bear in mind that the visitor is not a regular member of the class. visitor should not initiate or pursue conversations unnecessarily.
  • A visitor should be appreciative and polite. At the earliest opportunity, the visitor should thank the classroom teacher for having made possible the opportunity to visit the classroom.
  • A visitor who is taking written notes or collecting information in some other way should do this as unobtrusively as possible. The visitor must make sure that the teacher and students are comfortable with any procedures used for data collection.
  • It is imperative for the visitor to keep impressions of the class private and confidential.
  • The visitors should explain to the classroom teacher that the teacher's name will not be used in any discussions with other people. any direct references to teachers, in either formal or informal settings, will be anonymous.
  • Any notes or information collected during a classroom visit should be made accessible to the teacher, if he or she requests.
More of this topic at Classroom observation and instruction and here.

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