Developing Effective Lesson Observation Processes and Systems
All schools want to guarantee that their teaching is at least Good and the best schools always aim for Outstanding.
How do the best schools ensure that teaching always reaches these standards? Developing Good and Outstanding teaching requires high quality observation and feedback systems and practices.
Observation is the primary source of evidence used in making judgements about the quality of teaching. However many criteria are used, the overall judgement is dependent upon the progress made in the session. An observation assesses the impact of what teachers do on the progress that learners make.
Observing learning sessions can take place:
- as part of a regular pattern of monitoring the quality of learning and teaching across the school or within a subject;
- as part of the Performance Management process;
- as part of the monitoring of a teacher/group/subject/requiring a specific evaluation
- as part of the teacher’s own initiative and desire to be professionally developed.
Critical Points to Consider
A high quality observation process has a number of stages and all should be given equal status. Critical points in the process are:
- giving adequate time;
- agreeing the focus and sticking to it;
- agreeing the audience;
- record evidence (what happens);
- have very clear descriptors;
- agree developments in discussion;
- have a suitable follow up time.
Use of Secondary Evidence Sources
A high quality process will not just rely on observation but will take other sources into account when making judgements about teaching over time. These are, for example:
- Sampling learners’ work;
- Focused learning walks;
- Gaining the views of learners (Pupil Voice);
- Scrutinising medium/short term planning;
- Analysis of data such as test results and progress checks, etc.
Taken together they give a robust evidence base from which to make judgements.
Supporting Good and Outstanding Teaching in your School
For examples of comprehensive descriptors and guidance for leaders on giving effective feedback see our Practical Handbook.
To see how you can keep, access and analyse all of your observations on line see our Lessons Learned Teaching and Learning Development System.