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Why do we still have so many MISFIRES with classroom observation? (Part 04)

Sound advice…from Jedi Master Covey, there. Maybe, I should have thought about that before I started to re-vamp this “little mini-series”! Actually, I'm having a lot of "fun" writing this up - those notes have been sitting on my desktop for far, far too long! And, besides...I have a few minutes to kill... I did a quick calculation the other day and worked out that around 85,000,000 human beings (and my dog, Dexter) had “read” The 7 Habits (in one form or another)! So, why-oh-why do so many people in education still think that the best way to kick off a classroom observation programme is with a ticky-box “checklist”and probably a checklist that has been “lifted” from somewhere?

But, I think we’ve all got that by now. Yes? Other (far smarter) individuals (and institutions) begin by thinking through the various components of an observation cycleand usually come up with something like this:

Brilliant – let’s get to it! Sounds like even our "best and brighest" might be setting themselves up for a bit of:

  1. Do we need all these components?

  2. Can we “do” all these components in terms of logistics?

  3. What are the “rules of the game” for all the components?

  4. Can our observers “do” all these things? (BTW – who the hell are they?)

  5. What exactly are we observing (quick – get that checklist out)?

  6. What documentation to we need to support all the components?

  7. Who are we observing – when, how often, why?

  8. What? A bloody lesson plan!

  9. A pre-conference? A post-conference? Have you seen my schedule this semester!

  10. Her? She’s only been teaching for 7 years – I’ve got 20 under me belt!

  11. What are we doing all this for, again?

And, you know what? They'd be right"... Now, I’m sure if Jedi Master Covey was an educator-cum-administrator, he would have surfed the web to find more on the ABC’s of Classroom Observation (or come up with his own):

  1. Why do you and your institution want a classroom observation process?

  2. What do you want classroom observation to “do” – for student LEARNing, for teacher LEARNing and institutional LEARNing?

  3. What do you need to do get teachers involved and invested in classroom observation (if they are not already)?

  4. What needs to “change” to allow you to get to where you want to go – and how do you know this? Or, perhaps, simply ask my favourite observation question:

But, I think we’ve all got that by now, too. Yes?