March 16, 2020

What can be learnt from a lesson observation? – Scott

What can be learnt from a lesson observation? How does this impact upon your strategies for behaviour management?

My current school places a great emphasis on observations and teachers are expected to observe other lessons and be observed. Whilst this can feel like a big workload increase, as a trainee teacher, the lessons I have observed and the feedback I have been given when observed, have proven invaluable, particularly in the area of behaviour management.

Observations can be a greatly effective tool in that they allow colleagues to share quite simple strategies and tools which can be implemented immediately with effective results. I was recently observed by a colleague who noted that whilst there was a core of engaged and participating students, many students were unengaged and entirely switched off and misbehaving as a result. My colleague shared a simple questioning strategy that would hopefully help with behaviour management. Instead of choosing students with their hands up, which allowed some students to, “opt-out,” of the lesson, I needed to begin using a random selection technique which meant any student could be chosen at any time. This meant students would need to ensure they were following the lesson as there was almost a certainty that they would be chosen to speak at some point. This was a simple technique that I was able to implement immediately with a noticeable improvement in behaviour. As well as this, it also allowed me to learn their names quicker, which contributed to the building of rapport, which is crucial to behaviour management, as Cowley (2010) notes, “at its heart, good behaviour is about good teacher/student relationships.”

Recently, I observed a colleague’s lesson that gave me a lot of insight into their teaching philosophy and in turn, made me think about my own. I noticed that the wall displays were a little jumbled and messy. This was in contrast to how displays are normally presented in the classes in my school, very neat and clearly done by an adult. My colleague explained to me that most of the displays had been completed by the students. Part of her teaching philosophy revolved around creating a student centred atmosphere. She was trying to empower students, give them ownership of their own learning and create a sense of community in her classroom and improve rapport and behaviour as a result. Platt (2019) points out that “real motivation comes from seeing success as possible.” By seeing their own efforts proudly displayed on the wall, students received a motivation boost. This really resonated with me as it mirrored some of my own teaching philosophies and I attempted to copy this tactic in a later lesson.

As a trainee teacher, it can be easy to spend all of your time and energy on classroom management. At the beginning of the academic year, I was able to observe a colleague who provided me with some excellent behavioral strategies such as setting clear expectations, eye contact and coming within to proximity to students who were misbehaving. These were simple strategies that I could begin practicing and implement immediately.

References

Cowley, S. (2010) Getting the Buggers to Behave


Platt, R. (2019) Working Hard and Working Happy: Cultivating a Culture of Effort and Joy in the Classroom


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