Classroom Observations

I thought it might be useful to revisit the PBAS Observation process and then share my experience with it this term.

Before discussing the process it is important for new staff or staff who have not undergone the process to understand that we do not have any specific classroom observation proforma at PBAS. We had discussed this initially when we first floated the idea of peer observations and the consensus was that a single proforma was restrictive. This allowed for flexibility for the observer with recording methods and did not force the teacher being observed into using a document that may not have suited their needs. Having said this I think that sharing observational proformas used by individual teachers and other sites could assist with structured observations. I am currently setting up a folder on the Admin drive that will hold a variety of proformas that could then be used or modified.  I will be encouraging all who have used a structured proforma to save it in this folder. This resource may then help form some discussion later this year or early next year around, “How are teachers recording observational data?” Joann Weckert recently shared the Eyre Partnerships model and I felt this looked really useful so have included it in the folder.

The PBAS Classroom Observation Process 

The Foundation Document

This document should be an integral part of the observational process. It allows teachers to see what is considered quality teaching. The document should be used as a starting point for professional discussions and classroom observations.

Peer observers

Observers should be people who are respected and trusted by their colleagues.

Pre observation meeting

The observer and the teacher need to agree to what it is that the observation is to be about. Consideration needs to be given to where this fits with TfEL, the Australian Professional Standards and School Priorities. Almost all things selected by teachers will fit into the Standards and TfEL in some way, i.e. A teacher may wish to focus on how they engage students in classroom conversations. This may involve the observer timing how long the teacher talks for, how often students contribute to the conversation and what questions does the teacher use to engage students in the conversation (this would cover TfEL 3.4 Promote dialogue as a means of learning and 3.3 of the Standards Using teaching strategies).

Observe the lesson and the learners

What are the students doing, saying (writing) and discussing? There should be no hidden agendas. Focus of the observation should be about improving student learning and not ranking/grading the teacher.

Immediate feedback

Immediately after the lesson discuss data that you collected briefly focusing on what really helped the student learning (if possible).

Follow up meeting

Both parties will meet after the observation preferably within 48 hours and discuss professional development ideas. Initially the meeting needs to provide specific feedback based on the original goals set prior to the observation. After this questions like, “How can I use the feedback to improve future lessons?”, “Where to now?”, “How will I get there?” and “When will my next observation occur?” are important to consider in terms of improving teacher quality.

My Experience This Term

This term I have approached Denise to observe two lessons initially. My R/1 PE class and my 9/10 Pastoral Care class. The 9/10 observation will not occur until week 9 but I have completed my first R/1 PE observation.

R/1 PE class – The focus for this observation (and observations to come) is how I provide feedback to students, how often and what types. The observation focus was on constructive, positive and negative feedback in relation to skill learning and behaviour. Denise kindly made up a proforma that would allow her to record this information. I will ask Denise to put this proforma in the folder that I mentioned earlier so that staff can also use or modify it to suit their purposes. Below is the completed document. The green highlights those I provided with constructive feedback while the orange highlights those I provided with no feedback during the lesson. My aim is for Denise to come in a number of times over the remainder of the year to complete the same proforma. Hopefully this will assist me with ensuring that I provide feedback to all students, particularly the constructive feedback. My intention is for the information to keep me focused on providing constructive feedback rather than too much negative/positive feedback.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


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