At the last Teaching and Learning Staff meeting, we talked in groups about our experiences with Paired Observations and at this week’s Staff Meeting, we were reminded that we should really be thinking about our second observation. With that in mind, I thought it would be worth giving some feedback what observations have happened on also on what different departments are doing.
The following graphs give us an insight into what we have observed – we are obviously really good at questioning! We will be able to use infographs like these to help plan our CPD, so the BlueSky form is really helpful (Click on the graphs to make them clearer.)
From your feedback, overwhelmingly, paired observations are seen as a good thing. Having looked at them all, common themes were:
- Knowing that everyone can improve by watching others and we learn more from observing than being observed
- Focus on development, not grading
- Discussing solutions to common problems
- A break from the norm
- Learning about new strategies
- Beginning to feel less worried about being observed
- Being able to see someone else teach the same class gives me a different point of view on my students
- Confirmation of good practice
- Seeing new ways of doing things that I can try in lessons
- Talking about teaching strategies
- Talking about behaviour management strategies
So, what is the next stage? There are some really great things going on.
Some teachers are doing a kind of lesson study. Teachers plan a lesson together, they then watch one of them teach the lesson (or if time, watch more than one teacher deliver the same lesson) and then discuss what they find. This type of co-planning will be invaluable in the coming year when planning new specifications. If you want to know more about Lesson Study, here is an interesting blog to get you started. http://headguruteacher.com/2013/11/16/getting-started-with-lesson-study-2/
Some staff have been observing across departments, looking for strategies that will work with the same students across subjects. One example of this is three teachers who have identified three things that they want to focus on with the same group:
- Shared approach to behaviour management
- Shared approach to lesson structure (focus on making the last 10 minutes count)
- Shared approach to teaching paragraph structure.
Collaboration like this is enabling students to benefit from the same structured approach, but also helps the teachers to be able to know that others are aiming for the same outcomes with students.
Opportunities to observe others
If you want to observe someone who is doing something you would like to focus on, please speak to KR, RH or your LT Lead. We now have the start of a great database of information about all the great stuff that is going on in our classrooms and should be able to point you in the right direction. Similarly, if you don’t quite ‘get’ what you need to be looking for in observations, and would like to have some coaching on more experience in paired observations, please also speak to KR who can arrange for you to have a 1:1 session on what to look for in observations.
Paired observations are making a real difference to our classroom practice. It would be great if someone would blog about what they have seen/tried in response to this idea. Please let me know if you can find some time to write up your findings!