Planning checklist for the observer
Date arranged in advance and accurate timetable supplied by the trainee: Has the trainee provided you with their timetable to allow you sufficient time for preparation and choice of session(s) and avoid timetabling clashes? Trainees are informed that there should be a minimum of one week between each observation to allow time for reflection and action planning
Maintain communication: To allow for any changes in arrangements – it is useful if the trainee has your contact details so they can notify you of any last minute changes
Initial discussion prior to observation: If it can be arranged it is useful to meet up for a short meeting prior to the session so that the trainee can explain the particular context and circumstances of the teaching that is to be observed and for you as the observer to explain how you intend carrying out the observation
Practical matters: Ensure you know the exact location of the teaching; it can be very off putting for trainees when observers arrive late and disrupt the session. You need to 'blend in' so that learners and the trainee do not feel intimidated so establish where you will sit – as you will be writing or using your laptop it would be better if you are sat at the back so as not to disturb the learners and so they can’t see what you are writing! Do not get involved in the class or intervene, except where health and safety is an issue. Observations should last for at least 45 minutes
Documentation: Ensure appropriate documentation has been / is provided by the trainee in their professional practice portfolio such as session plan and resources and previous observation feedback sheets. and related reflections and evaluations. Failure to have this information/documentation available can result in an unsuccessful grade.
Feedback time agreed: Agree an appropriate time to review the session and provide feedback
Observation of teaching pro formas
Observation pro formas for mentors and assessors are provided in the right hand column of this page. Note that observation reports must be completed electronically.
The last four observations must be graded using the grading template provided - see the templates and assessor guidance on this page.
What we expect for our trainees:
- Debrief, if possible, immediately after the session
- Engage the trainee in a dialogue by inviting the trainee to self evaluate and provide a rationale for action, identifying any areas they feel they need to develop
- Give positive and constructive feedback using examples to illustrate your comments
- Address the learners’ experience, as well as the trainee teacher’s performance
- Give explicit praise when it is due
- Focus on progress/achievement not success/failure
- Be clear about areas for development and offer suggestions for overcoming these
- Comment and advise on the professional practice portfolio
- A session where things do not go right is not necessarily unsuccessful. The trainee should be able to reflect and learn from their experiences on teaching practice
- Ensure the trainee understands and agrees the action points.
Observers should be directly asking every trainee post observation about impact on learning:
- How do you know learning has taken place?
- Which learning outcomes do you feel your learners met today?
- How do you know? What is your evidence?
And on further observations:
Ensure the trainee has addressed key aspects for development from the previous observation
The trainee must respond be able to criticism and act on it and this must lead to progress and improvement
Note: Have you read the trainee's responsibilities in relation to their teaching placement? See the Programme Handbook and/or Mentor Guide.
ITE Observations framework