tips on how to enhance the impact of post observation feedback conferences to teachers anchored on the Biophysical model of responses to threat from a paper presented by Jeannie Young and Krissia Martinez (July 2013)
Strategies for Enhancing the Impact of Post
Observation Conference to Teachers
Marilu S. Bandolon
The participants are expected to:
1. describe an effective post observation
2.Identify the strategies in enhancing post
3.Describe the strategies in enhancing post
4.Demonstrate appropriate ways of conducing
effective post observation conferences
Let’s revisit our current practices in conducting post observation
conference to teachers.
1. The Boat is Sinking
2. Identify a group leader and a rapporteur for your group
3. Answer the questions assigned to your group. Answers on
the data retrieval chart.
4. Do this activity in 10 minutes.
5. Report your work as soon as your group is called.
Group 1: Establishing a positive climate in starting the post
1. How do you start the post observation conference?
What specific tasks do you do? What statements or
questions do you use to start the post observation
conference? List them down.
2. What do you do to clarify what the teacher is telling you?
3. How do you validate that the teacher demonstrated what he
or she is telling you?
Group 2: Focusing on what’s going well
1. How do you guide the teacher in identifying her/his strengths
demonstrated during the delivery of the lesson?
a. What do you say to begin? Write it down.
b. What questions do you ask the teacher? List them
c. Do you clarify ideas which you think are not clear to
you? How do you do it? List down the prompts
or the guide questions that you think helped you
bring out the desired response from the teacher?
d. How do you affirm the strengths of the teacher? List
down the questions/statements/prompts that
e. What challenges do you face as instructional leader in
f. What do you do to address these challenges?
Group 3: Identifying and summarizing the challenges faced by the
Study the excerpt of the STAR notes taken from a lesson taught
by a teacher:
Situation: During the presentation of the lesson in expressing & writing
money as pesos and centavos
Task: 1. The teacher presented the lesson by using allowing the
children watch a video clip showing the evolution of the
Philippine peso bills and coins. Asked the children about
what they saw on the video
2. Matching play money with money values written on meta
Action: The children watched the video
The children matched money values written in meta strips
with play money
Result: The children matched money values with 75% accuracy
Considering the contents of the STAR notes:
1. How would you guide the teacher in identifying his/her
specific teaching challenge?
a. What questions would you ask to guide her/him in
identifying his/her teaching challenge?
2. What do you do to clarify/validate what the teacher is saying
has been demonstrated in the delivery of the lesson?
Write sample questions or statements that will help you
3. Do you summarize the challenges identified by you and the
teacher? How do you do it?
4. Present a role play to demonstrate your responses.
Group 4: Generating ideas for addressing the teaching challenges
Using the STAR notes given to you, present a panel discussion
that will demonstrate your responses to the guide questions below:
1. How would you guide the teacher in identifying
strategies/activities that will help him/her address the
teaching challenges that you have seen from the STAR
notes. Cite/formulate questions that would help you do
2. In cases when the teacher cannot think/cite ideas in
improving/meeting the teaching challenges identified,
what would you do? Cite the appropriate
questions/statements that would help you do this.
3. Do you summarize what you have agreed? Why? How would
you do it?
Group 5: Ending positively
1. What would you do to end the post observation conference
2. List down all the possible statements or questions you would
use to end the post observation conference.
3. Write your answers on the Manila Paper provided to you.
How about putting our hands together for our
job well done……..
1. What post observation strategies were highlighted in the group
2. What are the specific tasks that teachers and instructional leaders
do in each part of the post observation meeting?
3. What tool/s helped the instructional leaders in revisiting the
teaching delivery during the post observation meeting?
4. Were the processes and tasks useful to you as instructional leaders?
5. In what way can we apply the processes in relation to the CBPAST
post observation conference?
6. What insights did you gain from the activity?
Strategies in Enhancing Post Observation
Conference to Teachers
The observation process:
-an accountability-oriented activity
-to gather data as feedback to instructional leaders and
teachers for teacher development and
The post observation conference:
-learning-focused feedback conversations that promote
teacher self reflection , self analysis and self
-a challenging task since teachers and instructional
leaders must skillfully attend to the tensions that arise where
the goals of accountability and learning intersect
Post observation conference:
- is a follow conference between the teacher and an
instructional leader. It is an important
supervisory technique for the improvement of
-learning-focused feedback conversations that promote
teacher self reflection , self analysis and self
- challenging task since teachers and instructional
leaders must skillfully attend to the tensions that
arise where the goals of accountability and
The Biophysical Model of Responses to Threats
(Jeannie Myung and Krissia Martinez, 2003)
“The way we perceive a situation determines whether
that event will be psychologically processed as a threat or
received as a challenge.”
Threat responses mobilize our minds and even our
bodies in extreme ways, raising our heart rate or releasing
hormones or other stress chemicals that facilitate the fight or
flight responses. Most often, the perception of threat evokes an
automatic reaction that is biased toward survival.
Challenges mobilize the body similarly to responses, but
in such a way that the mind is still flexible and open to changes
or alternatives, allowing space for creativity or thoughtfulness.
Under motivated performance conditions, we experience a
sense of challenge when we feel we can access the necessary
resources to fulfill the demands facing us, otherwise, we
experience a sense of threat.
The Biophysical Model of responses Threat has direct
relevance to the way instructional leaders process the post
observation conference and provide feedback to the teachers. A
teacher who is process observed and undergoes feedback
process can view the process as a threat to her or as a challenge
for improving her teaching skills.
Consequently, the way teachers perceive the post
observation process (the interaction between him/her and he
instructional leader) can have a profound effect on whether it
leads to improved practice or not.
Figure 1: A teacher’s appraisal of the relative balance of the
demands and resources of an evaluative situation will influence
the extent to which he/she experiences challenges versus threat
According to the theory, it’s not the feedback per se that
causes teachers to react positively or negatively, but it’s the
perceived meaning of the feedback or the recipient’s interpretation
or appraisal of it that can result to either a threat or a challenge,
which in return will affect his/her willingness to respond to he/she
If the teacher positively appraises his/her ability, has
knowledge of the evaluation process, trusts his relationship with
the instructional leader, and has a sense of belongingness in the
school community , it is likely that the teacher will experience the
post observation process as a challenge and an opportunity to
share his strengths and receive feedback on how to improve.
If the teacher is uncertain about what to expect from the
observation and feedback process, lacks trust in his administrator,
or doesn’t feel a sense of belongingness in the school community,
it is likely that the teacher will experience the post observation
process as a threat. This can interfere with the teacher’s
interpretation and willingness to respond to what he hears.
To foster receptivity and learning-oriented feedback
process, instructional managers and teachers need to remain
attuned to the potential for the threat response and see to it that
teachers see this process as an opportunity for growth – a chance
to meet this challenge of continuous improvement of teaching
Threats to Teachers in Post Observation Conferences
(Research based Findings)
1. Evaluation based on thin slice
-teachers are threatened when judgments given are based
on infrequent observations done by instructional leaders.
Infrequent observation hampers the instructional leaders’
ability to give useful feedback because the scarcity of the
classroom visits cannot provide them with insufficient data as
basis of their evaluation.
2. Unclear expectations
-teachers prefer announced visits to unannounced visit, as
they allow for mental preparation. However, even in the case
of announced visits, they reported that they do not know what
to expect from the post observation
-they enter into feedback conversation, unsure of the
purpose, of what is to come, and therefore distracted by
3. Sense of disempowerment
-the common expression from instructional leaders “I am
here to help you” is perceived by teachers as rhetoric and
seldom demonstrated by instructional leaders.
-teachers will perceive an empowerment from an
instructional leader if they experience professional support
from them and see observation as not solely to judge them
4. Absence of helpful information
-few of the teachers could recall a single piece of concrete
feedback from the post observation conference that helped to
improve their teaching skills.
-most often the feedback conversation resulted to a
summary of the lesson and a description of their performance
which does not specify a learning point that guide them in
improving their teaching skills.
A teacher who is under stress during the feedback
conversation has a heightened sensitivity to negative cues or
threat markers such s negative verbal and non-verbal
communication. This occurs when an individual is in a mindset
of mistrust, and reinforces the idea that the person is not
Tools and Strategies that can be Used in Feedback Conversations
1. Scaffold listening strategies to foster an improvement –
a. Emphatic body language
b. Posing helpful questions, eg
“I observed (OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT)
in your class. . Help me understand what happened.”
c. Validating employee expression through consideration
conversation turn taking
d. Paraphrasing to ensure mutual understanding
“It sounds like what’s challenging you is ________”
e. Drawing out
“What student actions indicated the need for
f. Taking down notes
g. Asking follow up questions
A principal who can expertly utilize the listening strategies
when conducting post observation feedback conversation can
probe deeply into difficult issues and redirect the conversation
when needed, and consequently make the teacher feel heard
2. Sequence the conversation into a predictable format
-start with an affirmation of what is working. Starting
with a positive note affirms for teachers that the
conversation will be focused on supporting them to become
better teachers and helps clarify that they are not at risk of
being labeled as ineffective.
3. Address the teachers’ concerns
-to foster a climate of autonomous, self-reflective
colleagueship, instructional leaders must enable teachers to
be primarily responsible for judging the success of their work.
-instructional leaders gain insights and gather suggestions
for the teacher during and after the observation, but teachers
also have unique insights into the challenges she faces in her
-the task of the instructional leader is to make sure that
the identified teacher challenges must be addressed by
providing timely, helpful, specific and appropriate feedback so
that it would improve teaching effectiveness.
4. Co-develop next steps
-the instructional leader and the teacher ideally should
create a doable plan together anchored on the principle of
improving the identified teacher challenges from the
observation and post observation feedback conversation
-developing the plan for improvement must be interactive
and should allow opportunity to the teacher to verbalize
her insights which felt comfortable sharing.
-the instructional leader’s expertise and access to
resources and the teacher’s first hand knowledge of her
teaching skills and her class, challenges and strengths
provide the information to best identify the next steps
Putting it All Together: Design Principles at Work
(A model for a successful feedback conversation after an observation)
1. Begin with a warm and clear opening in which the teacher
reviews the aim of the lesson observed and articulates her
aim for the for the feedback conversation. The principal
must similarly state her aim for the for the feedback
2. Both focus on the positive aspect of the lesson. The
teacher is given the opportunity to talk about what she
thought went well. The instructional leader reiterates and
affirm what the teacher mentioned and then extend the
positive focus by commenting on other things that went
well in the lesson
3. The teacher and the instructional leader identify the areas
for improvement. The teacher would be given the
opportunity to talk about what she thought are areas or
challenges. The instructional leader validates/probes
further so that teacher challenges are properly and
4. The instructional leader guides the teacher in identifying
possible strategies in addressing the challenges. The IL
might help problem solve these challenges with the
teacher or connect the teacher to available and
appropriate resources. The principal would offer ideas for
improvement. Both would generate and prioritize the next
5. The feedback conversation would end with
revisiting/summarizing the next steps and with a mutual
appreciation for the time spent in the conversation.
Throughout the conversation, the IL would paraphrase the
teacher’s concerns and the teacher is prompting the
principal for a deeper clarification when necessary
Drawing on the long standing psychological theories of how
our minds and bodies mobilize to deal with stress, the suggested
strategies for enhancing the impact of post observation feedback
form teachers builds on the premise that teaching evaluations
holds the potential to do both harm and good.
Feedback following a classroom observation can be a
powerful resource to encourage teachers in pedagogical
advancement and steady improvement of practice. However if
handled badly, feedback can threaten teachers, causing them to
stick t what they thought worked in their classrooms.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
suggests the Feedback Conversation Protocol as a useful guide in
conducting pos observation feedback conversation between the IL
and the teacher.
1. Why is there a need to make teachers feel that class
observation and post observation feedback conversation should
be a challenge rather than a threat?
2. In what way can the suggested tool and the process be
blended with the CBPAST IS tool that we use?
3. Is the tool useful to you as an instructional leader? Cite
instances where it is most useful.
4. Write a reflective journal regarding the suggested post
observation process and tool. Use the given format.
Instructional leader’s reward……
THE REWARD OF A
THING WELL DONE IS
HAVING DONE IT.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
American Essayist, lecturer and poet
Quot e HD.com