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Improve Your Teaching | Observations

nicoleponsford | Wednesday May 25, 2011

Categories: Hot Entries, iTraining, Improve Your Teaching, Staffroom

Observations are always a bit nerve wracking. You may be on top of your game, but you never know when Johnny is going to kick off, when a last minute room change can occur, or when the fire alarm goes off.

Confidence is based on preparation and ensuring the observer can ‘read’ your lesson correctly.

Schools should be offering observations every term. This can be internal (department ‘buddying’, directorate or senior staff whole school reviews) or external (Local Education Authority or OFSTED).

Your internal team will be looking at which level they think you are (preparing for OFSTED), the standards of your teaching and learning in the class.

External will be looking at the whole school, so how effective the management and leadership and what outcomes the students at the school are securing.

The good thing with the latter, is that they will be looking first at what the management say about the school, then seeing if they are right. With an internal, they will be probably looking at your team, but there will be much more discussion about you as an individual.

There are many elements to an observation:

  • the administration
  • the behaviour of the students (positive and negative)
  • your teaching
  • the seating plan
  • lesson content and outcomes
  • the impact of this particular lesson in relation to the scheme of work and use of resources.

Here are the steps to a successful observation - it’s as easy as A, B, C…


It is good to showcase different activities in terms of grouping/ pairing the students, use of ICT and questioning.

Independent and directed learning should also be illustrated. Be aware of the time the observer is coming in. If it is a drop in session, you may ask them to come in for the middle or final section, rather than the start where you set things up normally. If you have no choice, you don’t want to crowbar everything into a short space.

If you are being OFSTEDed and have to create three days worth of...

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