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Teacher's Observations For School's Development

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Lina Ashar, Entrepreneur & Founder, Kangaroo Kids Education Headquartered in Mumbai, Kangaroo Kids Education is one of India’s pioneers in the education space facilitating action-based learning in a fun-filled environment using innovative teaching methods with specially crafted sessions for kids.

Teachers make a school’. The academic version of the dictum is quite bold in itself to state how teacher’s and school’s quality are directly proportional to each other. The infrastructure does not make a school, even though we tend to assess a school’s quality based on it, we actually should not. A school is an organisation and most organisational principles that we practice in an organisation should be management practices. Here is one of the key ones: ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’. When you think about this quote, it should seem like common sense. How can we improve in an area of performance, if we have not measured it? At the epicenter of a school, quality stands the lighthouse of classroom observations that literally measures and then guides teachers on what they need to do to improve performance.

However, if you thought teaching was easy, try class - room observation for both the observer and observee. the observer can feel intrusive and the observee can feel intimidated. Lesson’s observation may be quite a daunting feeling for the teacher if not handled with professional proficiency. Observing a lesson is a privilege. It gives you an insight into a teacher’s thought process and their beliefs about how and why lessons are supposed to impact learning outcomes.

Classroom observation works best if the teacher receives an information-driven diagnostic methodology. Done right, classroom observation can be a powerful experience in expert improvement and development for both the observer and the teacher been observed. Lesson’s observation is a benefit. It gives you an understanding of an educator’s point of view and their convictions about how and why classroom exercises affect learning.‘Techniques are not the most difficult to teach. The attitudes teachers take
to the class are much more important’. But to get the best out of the teachers and the classroom observation process there ought to be some rules to keep into consideration.

" Enough Respect and Empathy for the teachers’ work that as an observer we don’t step onto their toes, but at the same time not overlook teachers’ practices that might be a hindrance into the school development "

The Icebreaker
Have an informal conversation with the teacher before you step into their class. More like an exercise to befriend the teacher to make them feel less intimidated. Listen to the teachers’ thinking during the pre-lesson observation stage. Listening cautiously to the educator at this stage will give some comprehension of what they intend to do amid the exercise. Usually, at this stage, the teacher will provide the lesson plan. This is a chance for the observer to experience the arrangement and get illumination.

In the event that a pre-exercise dialog is useful to the instructor, this is a decent sign that both the educator and the onlooker are set for a decent begin in framing an increasingly proficient relationship dependent on trust and certifiable enthusiasm for bailing each other out. On the flip side, we can ask the teacher what they would like the observer to focus on during the lesson. This gives the teacher some choice on an area that might need further development. In any case, it is vital to reach some kind of agreement about what the observer expects during the lesson.

Be a Functioning Onlooker
On the day of observation arrive ahead of schedule. This is a chance to perceive how the instructor and the students welcome each other before the exercise begins. You would prefer not to miss anything! Bringing in the official forms into the classroom are a strict NO. The task is not to fill in the form during the observation, Prefer anecdotal notes usually divided into three columns to fill in the time, observation and analysis. Leave the analysis column blank until the lesson is over. During the lesson become an active observer, recording what the teacher says and looking-out for students’ reactions and questions. Sometimes, recording what the teacher says is not easy if they are talking fast. Be extremely interested in how the teacher responds to the questions. Try to get a feel for the atmosphere of the classroom. What kind of rapport is there between the teacher and students? When there is a group activity sit quietly next to the group listening to the discussion and make notes. Also take pictures and videos of class activities.

Serving the Feedback Sandwich
One of the hardest parts of being an observer! As we began with the prerequisite pedigree of a good observer` has to adopt a data-driven analytical approach to the lesson observation process. Always bear in mind no lesson observed is sufficient to make an informed judgment about the overall quality of a lesson, always remember the golden rule for feedback- the observer’s job is classroom observation and not teacher observation in specific, which is presently the most difficult part. The observer needs to be straightforward and give explicit input, not sugar coat the remarks.

To sum it up there is no fixed '101 Guide to classroom observations for dummies’. We can follow a plethora of rubrics available on the internet, but above all classroom observation requires a specific skill; enough respect and empathy for the teachers’ work that as an observer we don’t step onto their toes, but at the same time not overlook teachers’ practices that might be a hindrance into the school development. As we all know ‘classroom observation is a stepping stone to school quality’.