In Articles, Professional Development

Peer observations, also known as classroom observation, learning walks, teacher observations or walkthroughs, are common practice for a wide range of schools. They involve teachers observing each other’s practice and learning from each other. Feedback, a central component to observations, provides the platform from which teachers build awareness about their own and their peers practice and share insights and ideas.

Culture of continual improvement

Schools that incorporate peer observations into their professional development framework benefit from creating a culture of continual improvement. A culture in which challenges, ideas, and expertise are shared in a collaborative manner and barriers around teacher improvement are broken down.

Improving effectiveness

Normally the process of peer observation involves another teacher, administrator, school leader or instructional specialist observing the practice of the teacher with the aim of providing constructive feedback for improving instructional techniques. Not only is this a great way for teachers to gain valuable insight into their practice, but it also gives principals and school leaders an idea about the effectiveness of their staff and what additional supports they might need to put in place to help make improvements. Educator Impact helps schools conduct classroom observations and complete teacher observation through our easy-to-use, insightful and innovative feedback platform.

Benefits of classroom observations

Educator Impact’s classroom observation format is a structured observation giving the observation a clear focus, the elements of which are known to both the teacher and the observer. During the process, the observer provides qualitative and quantitative feedback in the form of likest scale survey questions and free-text feedback for capturing thoughts, ideas, or specific evidence or examples that occurred during the observation. Observers are also required to highlight areas of strength and areas of opportunity thus ensuring the observer provides guidance to the teacher, making goal setting even easier.

Simple and online

The observation feedback survey is easy to fill in and observers can navigate back and forward through the survey as the lesson progresses. The survey can be filled in online or printed out and completed later on.

After the observation has been completed and the data entered EI provides the feedback (along with self and student feedback) back to the teacher in a visual manner, highlighting the perceived strengths and areas for improvements.

Observer led and teacher-led

Ensuring the observation is a structured experience removes the risk of observers not knowing what to do in an observation and teachers not knowing what the observation will cover. Enabling the observers to fill out their feedback online in real time or after the observation has been completed provides the highest flexibility.

During a normal cycle of Educator Impact a teacher will receive two peer-observations.

First Observation: The first observation sees the observer collect data and provide feedback on all the teaching competencies.

Second Observation: The second observation is teacher-led where the observed teacher identifies the focus of the observation and the observer provides more detailed feedback on the specific area the teacher wants feedback on.

360-Degree viewpoints

By incorporating EI into your school, not only will teachers gain valuable insight into their practice from self-reflection and student feedback, but also rich feedback from peers, leaders, and instructional experts. This 360-degree view of practice is fundamental for getting real insight into practice and to setting evidence-based development goals.

Our mission here at Educator Impact is to provide a complete end-to-end process for development-based feedback and personal development within schools.

Benefits

Some of the many benefits associated with frequent classroom observations include:

  • Enhanced student outcomes by improving the quality of teachers through feedback on practice
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses for individual teachers as well as taking active steps towards improving upon them.
  • Enhancing teacher knowledge of effective professional learning.
  • Learning through experience: teachers who perform observations learn and are inspired by other teachers’ practices.

Safe and Simple

One of the main benefits of choosing Educator Impact for your school is the informative, practical and easy-to-use interface.

If observations are cumbersome, inefficient, paper-based, and unstructured then the practice of classroom observations becomes time-consuming and frustrating and the benefits of ongoing observations limited. Helping to make classroom observation easy is just one of the many meaningful benefits of choosing Educator Impact.

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Comments
  • Scott Adams
    Reply

    I like that you talked about how a classroom observation can help provide feedback that will help teachers improve. I have been thinking about becoming an educator, and I was wondering what the purpose of observations were. I can see how it would be helpful to be observed, because it might help you notice weaknesses you weren’t previously aware of.

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