The Art of Positive Lesson Observation
In this news post I want to focus on the outstanding opportunities that exist in ensuring lesson observation is a key part of professional learning and development for all those with a pupil facing role. Where individuals see lesson observation as an important part of their own professional development it is transformational. The key however is to make it a two-way process. It should not be an imposition where senior and middle leaders decide who should be observed and when.
Our course Positive Lesson Observation for Constructive Feedback, Change and Challenge focuses on how using coaching techniques can have a significant impact on how the observer feeds back to the observed and those being observed accept and use the feedback as part of their own learning and continued development as a good or outstanding teacher.
Where lesson observation is a part of performance management it becomes an imposition and is often an unwelcome intrusion into the teacher’s classroom. Where a coaching culture emerges, the teacher is an integral part of the observation process, welcomes the opportunity to reflect and can accept the positive and constructive feedback that is shared.
The best way forward is to make it explicit that lesson observation is part of professional learning for all those concerned. Every member of the teaching staff needs to be involved, all should have the opportunity to observe others and engage in professional learning conversations about the quality of the lesson, what worked well and what the teacher might do differently next time.
To create a less judgemental approach to lesson observation it is important that all teaching staff understand and can talk about the teaching strategies that underpins their classroom practice. In this course we give the participants an opportunity to explore pedagogy and what constitutes independent, active and participative learning that ensures all learners are fully involved in their learning. Giving teachers an opportunity to talk about teaching and learning as part of lesson observation gives them the opportunity to celebrate what they do well, share what achieves impact and take away the ideas and best practice from other practitioners.
There is an imperative to give teachers and their line managers an opportunity to share their experiences of the past few months. Observing lessons has taken place but in very different ways. Now is the time as we welcome learners back to the classroom to use CPD time to consider new ways that might emerge where teachers develop different and more blended learning strategies. Creating a coaching culture where teachers can experiment, take risks and build a repertoire of new pedagogies will enrich the learning for both the teacher and their pupils.
The message we are conveying as part of this training course is that there should be a high degree of trust between the observed and the observer. In a coaching culture the observer is not there to judge but to feedback in a positive way that creates for the teacher an opportunity to learn and grow in their role.
The course provides those who take part with opportunities throughout to practice coaching skills and deepen their understanding of how to feedback positively to encourage reflection and foster a motivation to want to make changes and to learn.
Where coaching is an integral part of the process of observing learning there is a willingness for individuals to share, grow and innovate. Where coaching is embedded as part of the feedback process the school or college culture changes and everyone is a part of the desire for continuous improvement and the quest for high quality learning for all.