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    • #33207
      Nicholas Northall
      Moderator
        @nick-northall

        Taking into account everything we have looked at in this unit, what do you think you could now do to further improve your practice when it comes to observing?

        Remember to comment on each other’s ideas.

      • #36981
        NANEES ASGHAR
        Participant
          @nanees

          I would like to develop and use my own observation form tailored to focus on specific areas the observe wants the feedback on. Focusing on particular areas of development rather than on everything happening in the class was a useful advice. (However, this can only be one from the PD forum)

          I would also love to try out the alternative observation methods like the ghost observation and the compare & contrast observation. I think they can work very well with novice/new teachers needing time to settle in.

        • #37091
          Gabriela Cazan
          Participant
            @gabi

            1) I’ve used the “compare and contrast” method, not because I knew about it, but because it seemed a good idea to see how I would teach the lesson, and help the trainee when giving feedback:-)

            I also find the “ghost observation” useful, especially with teachers who are reluctant to be observed and are so nervous that they can’t deliver a proper lesson. A colleague of mine told me once about a teacher who dreaded the idea of being observed, she messed up all the handouts she’d prepared for students, she forgot what she was supposed to do, she couldn’t remember the order of activities, etc. I think that in such cases ghost observation would do wonders.

            2) I agree with Nanees (that focusing on one area of development was good advice), as it might be overwhelming for trainees to receive feedback on each and every activity they’ve done.

            • #37099
              Jane McKinney
              Participant
                @erinaceus

                Hi Nanees

                I agree with you, I think I’d like to work on developing my own form.  I’ve picked up some good ideas from this unit.

                Jane

            • #37095
              John Rustage
              Participant
                @johnrustage

                I am in favour of removing the observer from the classroom; this, for the sake of the learners and the observee. Thus, I am interested in adopting both ‘ghost observation’ and ‘compare and contrast’ using video recording rather than an in – class observer. ‘Compare and contrast’ done 1-2 times per teaching pairs on acourse?

                The ‘buddy’ system of peer observers also seems potentially very beneficial, but as with compare and contrast, used sparingly to avoid ‘couple fatigue’ / rivalries setting in.

              • #37097
                Jane McKinney
                Participant
                  @erinaceus

                  When there’s been an opportunity for observation and it’s potentially informal, I’ve generally tried to engage the observer at the beginning so the students have a chance to interact.  This wouldn’t be practical in all cases but an example has been when I’ve asked the observer to tell the students about Chinatown food shopping for example or something that would be relevant to the students.  That sometimes works in settling the students down a bit (I can’t say the same for the teacher) and they then perform a little closer to normal.  It’s easier to block out an online observer once their camera has been turned off.  I think that will be work in progress, working out how I can blend in.

                  • #37231
                    Marcia Clarke
                    Participant
                      @marcia

                      Jane, I do agree with you on this. It is always a good idea to pop by informally and say hi if there is an opportunity to do so, with no focus on the classroom situation. It really does take the edge off.

                  • #37220
                    Nosheen Asghar Mirza
                    Participant
                      @noshin

                      To have a pre-peer observation meeting to discuss and focus on particular area would be a great way to start peer observation, and less daunting, too (let’s be honest, any kind of observation puts pressure!). And for this, like Naness mentioned, I would like to develop a simple focused observation form, as well as a feedback form.

                      Ghost observations seem less intimidating (if one is not camera shy). However in countries like Saudia it might need a lot of paper work and proper authorization, etc. I do like the ideas of Audio recording for language development purposes. It would be a good reflection exercise as well.

                      • #37239
                        Aurelia Cristiana Serban
                        Participant
                          @cris

                          Indeed, Nosheen, discussing with your peer before they come observe your lesson is very useful! With my peers, we set some loose objectives and underlined we are open to any idea or suggestion.

                      • #37230
                        Marcia Clarke
                        Participant
                          @marcia

                          My current context of having to rely mostly on recorded lessons has actually given perspective about how learners, and teachers function when the observer is not in the room. At the start of a recorded lesson, both students and teacher tend to have an elevated awareness of being rcorded. However, with time they fall right into being themselves, forgetting all about the camera. So, I am really seeing some positives in this method. The balance to all this, is that I have also done online observation by zoom with the same group. So, I really think I am able to give the best feedback to the teacher for development and growth.

                          I also think that the pre-discussion session can actually be a factor in determining if the teacher goes in nervous or relaxed. So, this is a key consideration in my observation process.

                        • #37235
                          Lawrence Easterbrook
                          Participant
                            @lozfinch

                            For me, the important thing I learned this week is not to critique every part of the lesson – whether positive or negative. I’m glad to see the magic rule of “3” is suggested – usually we will only have time or energy to dive in and explore in depth three action points for future teaching.

                            • #37242
                              Angharad Vernon-Hunt
                              Participant
                                @angharad

                                I completely agree.

                                And it also made me think of teaching also in the sense that we choose language areas/errors to focus on to explore in depth.

                            • #37240
                              Aurelia Cristiana Serban
                              Participant
                                @cris

                                I would like to try ghost observation, seems very useful. Peer observation  has also proven to be an excellent means of sharing  good practices and maintaining  a certain level of consistency  and mutual trust throughout the institution.

                              • #37241
                                Angharad Vernon-Hunt
                                Participant
                                  @angharad

                                  A really interesting and helpful unit – it’s hard to choose just a few things as I’d like to someday give everything a go. However the standout things to try to remember for the future are for me:

                                  -suggesting a compare & contrast peer observation arrangement. I haven’t heard of this before but it makes complete sense to learn from how another teacher would approach the same task

                                  -experimenting with technology to ‘live stream’ observations. I think this would really help engage a group of observers (and thus help each of them developmentally) but think it would be important to remind observers not to go overboard on their comments/note-taking

                                  -watching the learners (and not just the teacher!) in an observation. It seems to me that if the learners are engaged and on task – that’s surely the best sign that a lesson is going well

                                • #37264
                                  Beth Melia-Leigh
                                  Moderator
                                    @beth

                                    Dear All,

                                    Thank you for engagement with and contributions to this week’s forum task. It seems that you have all picked up some great ideas for developing your observation practice, which I will summarise below.

                                    • Nanees, Jane and Nosheen would all like to develop and use their own, bespoke observation forms tailored to the individual needs of the teachers they observe.
                                    • Everyone seems keen to try out alternative approaches to observing, in particular the ghost observation and the compare and contrast idea, which may help to take some of the stress out of being observed.
                                    • Gabi, Lawrence, Nosheen and Nanees all talk about the importance of only focusing on a limited number of areas for development and not critiquing every aspect of the lesson.
                                    • Angharad reminds us of the importance of focusing on the learners (and not just the teacher) when observing.
                                    • John, Nosheen and Angharad mention using video and/or audio-recordings, which can also be good for self-observation and reflection.
                                    • Jane suggests encouraging the observer to engage with the learners at the beginning of an observed lesson to break the ice.
                                    • Jane and Marcia both mention how online observations can help to minimise the impact of the observer, allowing for less intrusive, camera-off observations.
                                    • Cris, Angharad, Nosheen and John all talk about the benefits of peer observation. Nosheen and Cris suggest having a pre-observation meeting to decide/discuss which area(s) to focus; Cris and Angharad suggest that the compare and contrast and ghost observations could work well as peer observations; John mentions the idea of a buddy system.

                                    Thanks again for sharing your ideas here and, as usual, if you haven’t yet contributed – or responded to each other’s posts – please continue to do so.

                                    Best wishes,

                                    Beth.

                                  • #37461
                                    Fardin KARAMI QEBCHAQ
                                    Participant
                                      @fardin-turk

                                      well one of the most important things I’ve learned during this topic is that observation is so important and sensitive in same time. there are different ways that we should choose suitable technique due to our tranees.

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