I have been involved in a trial process for what it means to be a Highly Accomplished Teacher in Australia, what a Highly Accomplished Teacher would look like and how to gather ‘evidence’ to support the determination.
As a part of the process, my classes have been observed by peers within my school and an assessor from another school.
In the recently released (August 2012) Teacher and Performance Development Framework document released by AITSL, it states (p6): “There are some forms of evidence that are particularly important in reviewing teacher performance. Evidence of student learning directly captures the outcomes of teaching, and must have a central role. Research
shows observation of classroom teaching, linked to timely and useful feedback that focuses on improvement, is a particularly useful tool for teacher development, and is the most commonly used form of evidence across OECD countries. Beyond the classroom, evidence should also demonstrate a teacher’s impact on colleagues and the performance of the school”
However, when I started investigating ways in which classroom observations are being documented in various countries, I was not happy with what I found. Many focused on evaluating the teacher, rather than looking at what learning was occurring in the classroom. Some focused on guiding a discussion about the lesson rather than giving teachers opportunities to develop their practice as a result of the discussion (ie ‘next steps’ were missing). Some missed the need (in my view it IS a need) for instructional feedback.
And so I have attempted to construct my own. Linda’s Discussion Guide for Classroom Observations Please provide feedback. It is my first draft and has not yet been tried out in a classroom setting. No doubt it will need modification and reviewing. That should be the nature of any educational pursuit.
I will let you know how it goes…