Sunday, 22 April 2012

Lesson Observations and "grades"

I have recently read a blog post by a twitter colleague teachgr, about how he misses the observations that were frequent during his PGCE and NQT years.

It makes me reflect that I used to enjoy observations, doing them and having them done to me. It really was an opportunity to reflect and discuss my practice with another teacher or expert.

When working in inner city Bristol the LA consultant, the behaviour support team (not a criticism, just a fact that behaviour is tough in Bristol schools), the head of department, ASTs and senior management would come and observe regularly. It wasn't a bad thing it was great to get so much feedback on what I was doing well and ideas and suggestions to improve. I was able to bring up how I struggled with levels and the LA consultant helped me, a member of senior management supported me in dealing with students who constantly wanted to go to the loo, and an AST boosted my confidence by complimenting my questioning technique.

Even in my second school there were no judgements given after lesson observations. They weren't supportive though, more an exercise in allowing those in a senior position an opportunity to bully you, but observations were not a competition and those of us at the bottom of the pile all felt the same about them. The school had an observation room and we were encouraged to watch other teachers who were timetabled in that room. But those timetabled were the management favourites, (and we all knew it) and getting the key to sit in the office where you could watch was a Herculean effort. We didn't make use of the opportunity.

In my current academy the observation is about collecting data. Feedback is a form that gets placed in your pigeon hole and it consists of a few sentences. A grade is given and for me it causes resentment and competition amongst staff. I hate and dread observations.

I really hope that in my next school, (one week until I move) I can return to the times of an open classroom with supportive, constructive observations. Moreover, as a leader within the faculty I hope that I can gain as much from observing as I have done in the past from being observed.

I can also recommend the lesson observation pocket book for some good ideas and techniques for observations.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating to hear about the different approaches to observation in schools. I hope it's more helpful in your new school :) Thanks for the mention too.