Improving Education Through Observation

Observations are a large part of a career in teaching and can determine whether a teacher continues on that career path or not. It’s an anxious time for all involved, especially for students. Students who experience anxiety and stress rather easily can act out in any number of ways if they feel they are being watched specifically. Things don’t get any easier when it is revealed that how students are performing in class can determine the teacher’s ability to continue pursuing their career. Look into this article for ways administrators can make observations valuable for teachers.

The Importance of Observing Teachers and Students 

Not so long ago, teachers got their jobs via long nights of study and mastery of material, plus years of experience with said material. Now, however, more goes into maintaining a career as a teacher. This is where classroom observation comes in. Not only is the teacher’s knowledge of the material assessed, but the way students interact with the teacher also comes into play. Classroom observations should take place three times or more during a school year, and those observations should hold as much weight as a test score determining the progress students are making with that specific teacher.

Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of classroom observations, however, is taking the students’ varying circumstances into account. A student can misbehave in every classroom an administrator observes, but when does the student’s behavior fall under the responsibility of the teacher? When does an administrator consider the student’s behavior a result of what goes on at home? It all depends entirely on keeping consistent notes on observations where that student is available. While evaluating teachers is a large portion of observation, an observation also reveals characteristics of certain students. That is, perhaps, the core of observations’ importance.

The Credibility of These Observations 

Consistency in notetaking is of utmost importance, but also remaining unbiased and being able to discern biases from truths is pertinent to classroom observations. This means that teachers of gifted students and classrooms cannot be deemed more efficient that teachers of, say, the special education sector of the school. This is where test scores and observations go hand in hand in evaluating a classroom. To see how well a set of students is learning, one must observe not only their behavior in action but also the results. If scores improve as compared to the scores of last year, then that is how one can tell that a teacher’s specific method is working.

Comparing test scores with evaluations has the advantage that it shows how vastly different teaching methods can be while still being successful. It can also show where improvement plateaus or dips, and pinpoint sections where classrooms require more work. The most important part of observation is finding a way to help the students. See this article for more information on the effectiveness of observation.