Teacher Learning

It is great to see PBAS teachers engaging in classroom observations as the term progresses. So far I have had the opportunity to have one of my 3/4 PE lessons observed and been privileged enough to observe two others. It is also encouraging to see teachers supporting teachers in this process. While line managers are available to observe lessons and support teachers it is outstanding that teachers are working with other teachers. Two examples that I have heard about are Jackie supporting Justin with his development of reading groups and Jackie supporting Tanya with Anne Baker concepts. What is really impressive is that we have the year 3/4 teacher supporting two 7/8 teachers in their development of teaching strategies. It says a lot about our staff that we are open to learning from others who teach in completely different sections of the school.

It has to worth our time

Classroom observations have to worth our time. We have to come away from an observation knowing something we can use to improve our teaching. This puts considerable pressure on the observer. The observer needs to:

  • Be clear about what the teacher wants observed.
  • Take detailed notes during the observation. Make sure that critical feedback is provided along with positive feedback.
  • Meet with the teacher after the observation.
    • Ensure notes are clearly presented to the teacher.
    • Before discussing observer notes ask the teacher how they thought the lesson went.
    • Discuss observation notes and clarify any misinterpretations.

“…it is least successful when a peer observes a struggling teacher who doesn’t know how to benefit from the process, especially if the observer isn’t adept at identifying his or her colleagues’ needs. Teacher observation works best when expectations are clear and participants understand how to use and benefit from the process…” Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Directer, Learning Forward.

The observed teacher also needs to want to find something that they can improve. This is why the discussion after the observation is critical. This discussion will support the teacher in identifying an area for development.

“No teacher is so good they can’t get better.”

Dylan Wiliam


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