Mentoring, Observations and the Reflective School
This article by Deborah McVey rang some important bells for me on what we aim to achieve through lesson observation and the attitudes and behaviours we need to take into the process..
There are many ways to have a healthy post observation conversation with a teacher. But, what I am advocating here is the identification of key questions to help begin and develop a professional, authentic, meaningful conversation that can help the teacher consider what comes next. Note the importance of the word ‘teacher’ here.
We often get so serious about ensuring that we feed back negative aspects (we often call these weaknesses or areas for improvement) wanting to be sure the ‘teacher has got the message’. But really, is telling the teacher about what was weak the best way? That’s simply not good teaching, is it?
Instead of telling the teacher what was weak, consider not making up your mind and instead exploring this with the teacher. What you do here is reconsider and rephrase things that you deem to be negative. Often, rather than stating that something is weak we can rephrase this into a question. This helps us better understand and allows the teacher to explore with you.
Simply asking questions isn’t enough. We need to think about how we question. We have to bear in mind the sensitivities with observations and the conversations that follow. The sector has built up a wall of ‘fear’ surrounding observation and associated possible worry about the conversation and what comes after that. We need, therefore, to approach our conversations with sensitivity and ask questions that are authentic, open and honest, and most likely to create the type of atmosphere where the teacher can be open, honest, and authentic too. That’s what we’re after.
Read the full post here: Post observation conversations with teachers, about learners: Guidance for observers | Deborah McVey | LinkedIn