Learning to See; Seeing to Learn - observational and evaluative skills in inital teacher education
LEARNING TO SEE;SEEING TO LEARNObservational and evaluative skills in initialteacher educationDr. Alan Bruce, ULSDublin 16 January 2013
AimTo develop a set of skills, knowledge and attitudes thatenable effective observation, listening, recording and initialevaluative conclusions for student teachers in classroomand learning environments.
1. Developing an overview: contexts• Teaching in a time of change: curriculum, demographics, expectations, environment, technology, professionalism• Move from supervision to development• Exercising professional oversight and guidance• Stakeholder perspectives: • Student teacher • Cooperating teacher • Pupils • School management/structures • College • Parents • Community
Learning surroundings• Physical • School • Classroom• Personal/professional • Supervisory contexts • Apprehension and prior exposure• Social • Interaction and pupils • Staff
Expectations in the process• Observing• Evaluating• Noting• Reporting• Concerns?• What is needed?• Techniques, tools, supports?
2. Observation: frameworkTwo dimensions:What do you want to know?• Requirements of the job• Behaviours employed• Standards appliedKnowledge about what you are observing• Recording• Relevance• Making sense
ObservationHabits that can build observation skills:• Trying to look at routine events/actions in a clear manner• Trying to judge people and their perceptions• Always trying to ask questions• Being open to new experiences• Being open to new ideas• Practicing good listening skills
Definition time: observationThe ability to see beyond a limited scope, which manypeople refer to as tunnel vision.The ability to sense or gauge the feelings of others whenthings are going well….and when things are not so good.Search Institute
Observation skills: importance• noting tension in a group• noting who talks to whom• noting interest level of a group• sensing feelings of individuals• noting who is being left out• noting reaction to my comments• noting when a group avoids the topic(Macgregor, 1998)
Time for a videoExercisehttp://youtu.be/vJG698U2Mvohttp://youtu.be/IGQmdoK_ZfY
Theoretical summaryPrinciples and guidelines on observation use visualexamples to show the difference between what peopleobserve and the inferences they make. These types ofteaching strategies work wonderfully as active learningexercises. In this way, students discover many of thefundamental principles of observation for themselves whichhelps with retention. The process of learning effectiveobservation is very similar to learning other skills:experience through practice and awareness.Boudreau, Cassell, and Fuks (2009)
Observation in teaching• Behaviour• Communication skills• Physical movement• Communication effectiveness• Listening• Empathy• Content related• Competence related• Pacing and timing• Activity pace• Responsiveness
Role of observer• Neutral• Unobtrusive• Discrete• Fair• Reserved• ObjectiveAnything else?
4. Evaluating performance• Drawing conclusions• Using evidence• Using logic• Forming opinions• Exercising judgment• Making choices• Recording
Bias and objectivity• Observing the observer• Developing self-analysis and self-awareness• Investigating one’s personal bias• Understanding • Prejudice • Stereotype • Discrimination
Relevance• Distinguishing useful from less useful• Factual recording• Determining meaning• Determining intention• Asking continual questions
Evaluation in context• Formative• Summative• Intervention and neutrality• Critical friend• Correcting and adjusting• Giving feedback• Marshaling facts – and evidence• Adapting the SWOT model• Developing meaningful reporting systems
Stages of the supervisory process• Listening• Observing• Deciding• Recording• Evaluating• Reporting• Feedback
5. Effective professionalism• Observation: critical to understand the role, context, purpose and rational of process – and everything involved in the process• Essential dimensions: accuracy and transparency as well as equity• Determining reference points: understanding effectiveness of techniques, manner, knowledge imparting and skills facilitation• Focus on communications: all dimensions• Results: providing critical reflection and modification if and when required
Group exerciseUse example from experience to indicate an observationalexperience that was• (a) useful/beneficial• (b) challenging/difficultWhat conclusions do you draw?What worked well?What would you do differently?What would you avoid?
Best practice• Reporting systems• Shared meaning• Feedback loop• Demonstrable improvement• Ethical standards• Professional practice• Student engagement and satisfaction• Meaningful assessment systems
Discussion• Does the process of observation generate shared meaning?• What is the background to fair observation and reporting in Irish education systems?• Can we be objective? Fair?• How do we determine the needs of all stakeholders? And meet them?• What do we need?
Thank youDr. Alan BruceULS Dublinabruce@ulsystems.com