Observing learning

Too much reliance is placed on graded lesson observations that often result in overgenerous grades. Observers focus too much on checking that teachers meet a list of expectations in relation to process, and do not carry out a perceptive assessment of how much progress students are making, or of the standard of their work” (Ofsted)

Gillian is an experienced observer and led the college internal observation team at Gateshead College for twelve years.  This role included providing training for all new observers and the moderation of observation judgements and practice.

Training can be provided to ensure that observers can make valid and reliable judgements about the quality of learning and learner progress.  However, it is also imperative that observations are used to provide teachers with helpful feedback to improve their practice.  The training will explore what you want to get out of your observation process and how it can be used to both measure performance, but also to develop teacher practice effectively.  A core purpose of the observation of teaching, learning and assessment should be to improve the quality of the learner experience. So what really makes the difference? What impacts most on learning and the learner journey and progress? How can we provide helpful feedback to teachers to help them evaluate the impact of their actions in classrooms on the quality of learning and learner progress?

Mentoring and coaching support for current observers.  Observing teachers and making judgements about the professional practice of others is a challenging role.  Many observers find a peer coaching approach really beneficial in both reassuring them that they are making valid and reliable judgements, but also that they are acting in a professional way which is supportive to the teacher.

Individual coaching is a great way to support your observers and to provide much needed continuous professional development for your team, and to make sure that you are getting the best out of the observation procedures.

Surviving and Doing well in Observations – half day workshop

Too many teachers find observations stressful or fear the process, whether this be internal observations or during an Ofsted visit.  This workshop sets aside many myths about observation of teacher practice and seeks to help teachers to see observation as a positive, supportive process and to get more out of being observed.  The workshop will also prepare staff to do well during an Ofsted visit.  Being prepared and knowing the facts, helps practitioners to do well and feel less stressed about the process. Confident teachers normally do well during inspections. Take away the fear and anxiety of the observation process.

Developing teacher confidence is a key part of helping teachers to perform well in observations. Often it is about stripping the process back to what is important, their professional decisions on maximising learning within their classrooms.

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