Lesson Observation for Quality Control and Continuous Professional Development - Lyndy Cronin
Nice Conference November 20°-21° 2015
Observation for quality control
and Continuous Professional
By Julie Wallis & Lyndy Cronin
Why do observation?
• We know that lesson observations are one of the
most powerful ways to raise standards in teaching
and learning, but only when teachers are
empowered in the process.
• If we advocate developmental lesson observation,
we can help teachers to make the shift from a ‘lesson
over’, to a ‘classroom lesson over, now what is my
Action Plan?’ model, allowing teachers to tap into
and disseminate the great teaching and learning
happening in your school and beyond.
• Observation from DoS, or Academic Manager
• Peer Observation
• Pop-in observations by invited guest– short
observations to see a variety of types of lesson
• Mentor / buddy system
• Lesson idea sharing groups – in school and
• Self Observation + reflection – lesson journal
What don’t teachers like about
• They feel judged.
• They feel it upsets the class room equilibrium.
• They can’t find the time.
• They don’t want to share their ideas.
• They don’t feel that they get honest,
constructive and useful feedback.
• They feel it just stops at the feedback after
one lesson and there is no follow up on their
Where can we start?
The trick is to get teachers used to observing and
being observed. They also need to see the
benefits of observing and being observed.
One way to start the ball rolling is to use videos
from online sources during staff meetings or as
individual tasks for teachers to reflect on. They
can then be asked to report back to other teachers
during CPD meetings or mentoring sessions.
Where can we find video material for
developmental training purposes?
Watch the gurus on youtube e.g.
Herbert Puchta teaching young children.
Adrian Underhill teaching pronunciation
Ofsted training videos
Teaching with Bayley
A series of videos teaching various subjects. Made for the
BBC by John Bayley e.g.
Examples of observation task.
Task 1: While you watch, ask yourself if the
students are ‘engaged’. Justify your answer
with a partner.
Task 2: How does the teacher link from one
activity to the next? Explain the transition
stages to a partner.
Observation from DoS, or Academic Manager
If the DoS or Academic Manager does a good job, the
teachers can use the session as a model. It is important
• focus on one or two areas at a time, give good,
positive, constructive feedback.
• elicit an Action plan from the teacher
• agree a time to go back and observe again
• keep the focus on the same areas the second time.
• Ask the teacher to give you feedback on your
performance as an observer. If you want to set an
example, it’s important to ‘walk the talk’. CPD is for
everyone after all.
Pop-in observations by invited
guest– short observations to see a
variety of types of lesson
• Organise a day where staff can ‘buzz’ other
people’s lessons. You can also invite non-
academic staff to get involved in this. It gives
them an idea about what is happening in the
school or university. You may need to train
Mentor / buddy system
• Pairing members of the academic staff
together to work on a CPD project is a great
• Remember to give direction by writing out a
task for each pair and make sure your
expected outcome is clear.
• Unobserved Observation. Teacher discusses
lesson plan in detail with Mentor and then
feeds back after the lesson.
• Arrange a series of peer observations with a
task for the observers. Think carefully about
what different teachers can learn from each
• Ask them to come back with some ideas for
further training or action research. Share
these ideas with other academic staff.
Lesson idea sharing groups – in
school and online
• Some Academic Managers may be managing
academic staff across a number of sites. There is no
reason why staff shouldn’t meet on line to share
ideas. The meetings could be themed or you can set
tasks and ask teachers to do some action research
and report back.
Self Observation + reflection –
• The use of video is really useful for self observation.
You can buy ‘flip cams from amazon from 13 euros
upwards. You will need mini camera stands. Teachers
can also use their smart phones or simply record the
Benefits of video lesson observation
•Self observation – with video you can observe your own lessons for a
deeper level of self-reflection which you can refer back to any time
•Time for peer observation – filming your lessons will help you to make
time for peer observation without having to arrange lesson cover. This will
help you and your colleagues share practice more regularly
•Increases authenticity– the dynamic of your class won’t be altered by the
presence of an in-class observer or moving to an observation classroom;
you can simply continue teaching as you would normally
•Discussions based on real events- see what actually happened in the
lesson rather than relying on recollection and potentially conflicting
accounts. This helps you to build trust, valuable dialogue and stronger
working relationships making for much more powerful lesson observations