Thursday, 16 April 2009

Excuse me, may I come in? - Getting ready for Classroom Observation

Here I am starting off a new stage in my teaching and learning life. Teaching life because I'll be analysing my work as a teacher and learning life because I'll be learning a lot from these experiences (both writing this blog and attending the subject "Methods and techniques to teach adolescents" in my course of studies). What I will be analysing first is how to get ready for Classroom Observation. Whenever we want to observe a class we first need to talk to the teacher of the course. What should we mention? What do I think I should mention? And, of course, why?
  • What?
-Who I am and where I come from;

-When I want to visit them;

-How many lessons I need/want to visit;

-Why I want to observe them;

-Why I chose that course and not another one.
  • Why?
-To let the teacher know who I am and where I am studying;

-To clarify dates, timetables and to arrange a date as convenient as possible for both of us;

-To let them know how many lessons I want to visit in case I may need more than one to fully observe a certain aspect (even though that is not generally possible);

-To let them know why I need to observe a class (because of an assignment in which I have to analyse a lesson through obverving it so as to help my improve and examine my own teaching);

-To explain the reasons why I want to observe that specific course (because of the age of the students, because of their number, because of their level or simply because that was the only one available that coincided with my timetable).

The most important thing to do before observing a lesson is letting the teacher know that you are not there to test, examine or criticise their teaching but to be able to understand and analyse your own teaching through external input. We cannot see our own lessons objectively and that's why observing someone else's teaching helps you spot out different aspects to be analysed in your own teaching.


  1. "letting the teacher know that you are not there to test, examine or criticise their teaching but to be able to understand and analyse your own teaching through external input."
    You're totally right girl!
    And even if you are there to observe the teacher (techniques, use of the voice, behaviour control); this will generate a better atmosphere for the teacher to be at ease.


  2. Yes! That's true!
    We ARE observing but always for a further and final aim: to understand and analyse our teaching while seeing others doing it.
    Thanks for your comment Yohi!

  3. Hi ladies!

    Who are you quoting is that last paragraph of your entry, Alez? They're beautiful words indeed...I believe the main challenge lies in discriminating between "observe" and "criticise". To me, the main advantage to sitting in on a lesson might be said to be the possibility into stepping back into the shoes of the learner... a place we shouldn't be far from for long if we are to be good teachers!

    I was also impressed by your idea that we should always CHOOSE to observe a given course, not just go "automatically"...Reflection is key to learning, we know!

    Happy "observing"!

  4. I didn't quote anyone, Gladys.
    I only wrote what came to my mind (:
    I totally agree! There is a great challenge in understading the difference between "observe" and "critise." But I think that adapting our behaviour so as to show that our purpose is only observing is a greater challenge!

  5. So the words in the last paragraph are your own? Alez, you're an inborn writer!!!
    Keep shining!