Classroom Observation For Administrators: Mistakes To Avoid

Posted on: 31 July 2015

Classroom observation is an important part of any balanced curriculum. All teachers must understand that they will be observed at various points throughout their careers—by principals, administrators, and possibly even parents. In observing a lesson, however, there are mistakes that admins and others should avoid so as to make the most of the experience. By avoiding these mistakes, a fair assessment of the instructor's abilities can be given.

Not Knowing the Class History

You can't expect to get a good idea of how well the class or lesson is progressing if you aren't familiar with the students and their history with the subject. Therefore, you should spend some time before the lesson or class reviewing data on the class performance, such as previous test scores, to get an idea of the context of the classroom before you start making any assessments.

Intervening During the Lesson

Another mistake to avoid during a classroom observation is that of giving in to the urge to intervene during the lesson. You may be tempted to ask questions or even get up and start helping the instructor (especially if you have worked as an instructor in the past). However, doing this will get you nowhere in your assessment and will fluster your instructor and students.

Writing an Essay in the Corner

Try to keep your notes as abbreviated as possible during your classroom observation. The more time you spend writing, the less able you are to do what you're supposed to be doing: observing. You don't want to miss anything because you are too busy transcribing notes. Consider bringing a tape recorder so you can re-play the lesson and take more notes later on if needed, but be sure to get permission from the instructor before doing so.

Failure to Speak With the Instructor

Finally, make sure that you always follow up with the instructor or teacher after your observation and let him or her know what type of further follow-up you plan on giving. For example, if you plan on providing a detailed breakdown of your findings or recommendations, let the teacher know this and also give him or her an idea of when this information should be expected. You don't want to leave an instructor in limbo.

Observing a classroom, especially for the first time, can be a bit challenging. However, by avoiding these common mistakes, you'll be well on your way to a productive observation that works towards the improvement of the school.


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