Shaping the Way We Teach English: Module 13, Peer Observation in Teaching Practices
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Shaping the Way We Teach English: Module 13, Peer Observation in Teaching Practices


CLASSROOM OBSERVATION
CAN TAKE DIFFERENT FORMS. THE TWO MOST COMMON
ARE SUMMATIVE OBSERVATION, IN WHICH ANOTHER TEACHER
OR AN ADMINISTRATOR OBSERVES THE CLASS. THE PURPOSE FOR THIS
IS EVALUATIVE AND MAY RESULT
IN A RATING OF SOME KIND. AND FORMATIVE OBSERVATION, IN WHICH TWO TEACHERS,
OR PEERS DO A FRIENDLY OBSERVATION
OF EACH OTHER’S CLASSES. THE PURPOSE IS TO IMPROVE
TEACHING PRACTICES AND TO ENGAGE
IN A SYSTEMATIC FORM OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. THE FOCUS IN THIS MODULE IS ON FORMATIVE
OR PEER OBSERVATION. FORMATIVE OBSERVATION
CAN BENEFIT BOTH THE OBSERVED TEACHER AND THE TEACHER
DOING THE OBSERVATION. IN ORDER TO DO SO,
IT MUST BE CAREFULLY ORGANIZED. WE WILL FOLLOW SOME TEACHERS THROUGH THE THREE PHASES
OF A SUCCESSFUL OBSERVATION. FIRST, PREPARING
FOR THE OBSERVATION. THEN,
OBSERVING IN THE CLASSROOM. AND FINALLY, THE
POST-OBSERVATION DEBRIEFING. FOR PEER OBSERVATION
TO WORK WELL, TEACHERS MUST BE TRAINED
IN THE OBSERVATION PROCEDURE AND IN HOW TO GIVE PRODUCTIVE,
USEFUL FEEDBACK TO EACH OTHER. IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL, PEER OBSERVATION ALSO REQUIRES
THAT ADMINISTRATORS… AND CREATE A SYSTEM
THAT ALLOWS TEACHERS TIME FOR OBSERVING EACH OTHER. IN ADDITION,
ADMINISTRATORS SHOULD GUARANTEE THAT INFORMATION
WILL REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE USED
FOR SUMMATIVE PURPOSES. GIVEN THESE CONDITIONS, PEER OBSERVATION
CAN ALLOW TEACHERS TO SEE EACH OTHER’S
TEACHING STYLES AND REFLECT
ON THEIR OWN PRACTICES, BRING ABOUT POSITIVE CHANGES IN CLASSROOM LEARNING
FOR STUDENTS, AND, WHEN DONE WITH CARE
AND PROFESSIONALISM, IT CAN STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS
AMONG TEACHERS IN SCHOOLS. VIDEO SEGMENT NUMBER ONE. USE THE PRE-OBSERVATION GUIDE
IN THE MANUAL AS YOU WATCH TEACHERS
GETTING READY FOR A CLASS OBSERVATION. LOOK FOR ANSWERS
TO THE QUESTIONS: WHAT INFORMATION
DO THEY EXCHANGE DURING THIS INITIAL TALK? WHAT INFORMATION
DO THEY PLAN TO COLLECT DURING THE OBSERVATION? HOW DO THE TEACHERS INTERACT
WITH EACH OTHER? SO, WHICH OF YOUR CLASSES
AM I OBSERVING? OKAY, THIS IS GOING TO BE
THE 110, YOU KNOW, THE LOWEST
OF THE THREE WRITING CLASSES. SO THIS CLASS, THEY’RE BASICALLY
JUST STARTING OUT, GETTING ALL
THE BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT WRITING ESSAYS
IN ENGLISH. OKAY. AND CAN YOU TELL
A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THEIR LEVEL? I HAVEN’T TAUGHT
THAT CLASS BEFORE. USUALLY
IT’S A MIXED SITUATION. OKAY. WE OFTEN HAVE STUDENTS
IN THE CLASS WHO HAVE VERY GOOD SPEAKING
AND LISTENING SKILLS WHILE THEIR WRITING SKILLS
ARE REALLY LOW, AND SOMETIMES,
WE HAVE STUDENTS WHO’VE NEVER BEEN IN
A WRITING CLASS. THEY’VE NEVER BEEN
IN A SPEAKING CLASS. THEY’VE DONE ALL THEIR STUDYING
FROM GRAMMAR BOOKS. SO THEY’LL HAVE —
ALL THEIR SKILLS WILL BE LOW. SO WE HAVE STUDENTS
WHO HAVE VERY MIXED ABILITIES. THEY’RE NOT
ALL THE SAME. SOUNDS PRETTY CHALLENGING. OKAY, HERE’S ANOTHER
QUESTION FOR YOU. WHAT IS THE TEACHING POINT OF THE LESSON
THAT I’M GOING TO SEE? THE DAY THAT YOU COME IN, THE STUDENTS ARE GOING TO
JUST BE STARTING TO LOOK AT
ESSAY ORGANIZATION. ALL OF THESE STUDENTS HAVE HAD
A LOT OF WRITING EXPERIENCE IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES. THEY’RE FAMILIAR WITH
SPECIFIC STYLES OF WRITING. SO THAT’S WHAT WE TELL THEM
IN THE 110. “YOU KNOW HOW TO WRITE. “WE’RE JUST TEACHING YOU
TO WRITE IN A DIFFERENT WAY. YOU’RE LEARNING
A NEW STYLE.” SO WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO
BE DOING THAT DAY IS WE’RE GOING TO
LOOK AT INTRODUCTIONS, AND WE’LL TALK ABOUT
HOW TO GIVE GENERAL INFORMATION, HOW TO WRITE
A CLEAR MAIN IDEA RIGHT IN THE BEGINNING
PARAGRAPH. THEN WE’RE GOING TO TALK
ABOUT THE BODY OF THE ESSAY, DEVELOPING YOUR IDEAS,
ROLLING OUT IDEAS, TRYING TO THINK OF WHAT TYPE OF
DETAILS WOULD SUPPORT YOUR IDEA. NOW, OF COURSE, THIS GROUP
ISN’T DOING SOMETHING LIKE RESEARCH ESSAY. THEY’RE WRITING
ABOUT THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE. SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO WORRY
ABOUT GETTING STATISTICS OR QUOTING
OR THINGS LIKE THAT. THEY’RE REALLY JUST LEARNING
HOW TO DEVELOP WHAT — INFORMATION THAT THEY
ALREADY KNOW, AND MAYBE WE’LL GET TO
A CONCLUSION. I’M NOT SURE IF WE’LL DO
CONCLUSIONS THAT DAY, BUT THAT’S THE HARDEST PART
OF A LOT OF WRITING FOR ANYBODY, JUST GETTING EVERYTHING
YOU WANT TO SAY SAID BEFORE YOU GET
TO THE CONCLUSION AND THEN NOT KNOWING
HOW TO FINISH UP. SO WE’LL TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
CONCLUSIONS, MAYBE, THAT DAY. I’M NOT SURE IF YOU’RE
GOING TO SEE THAT. IT SOUNDS VERY INTERESTING. I’VE GOT ONE MORE QUESTION
I HAVE FOR YOU, AND THAT IS: IS THERE ANYTHING
IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU WANT ME
TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHILE I’M OBSERVING YOU? YEAH, WELL, SINCE THEY’RE
SUCH A LOW-LEVEL CLASS, AND AS I MENTIONED, THEY HAVE VERY DIFFERENT
LISTENING ABILITIES AND SPEAKING ABILITIES, I’D LIKE YOU TO PAY ATTENTION
TO THE LANGUAGE I’M USING. IS THE LANGUAGE
I’M USING — DOES IT SEEM TO YOU
THAT IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR A LOWER-LEVEL CLASS
IN WHICH SOME STUDENTS MAY STILL HAVE A VERY
LIMITED VOCABULARY? YEAH, I’M WORRIED
THAT I MAY BE TALKING — ADDRESSING
MOST OF MY LANGUAGE TO THE STUDENTS WHO HAVE
MORE LISTENING SKILLS. SO I’D LIKE TO KNOW
IF THAT’S HAPPENING. AND THE OTHER THING IS
THE SEQUENCING AND RHYTHM OF THE WHOLE LESSON. DOES IT FEEL LIKE I’M GOING
TOO FAST FOR THEM OR TOO SLOW? DOES IT SEEM LIKE IT’S
A VERY NATURAL PROCESS FOR THEM TO GO FROM
ONE ACTIVITY TO THE OTHER? SOMETIMES, I’M AFRAID THAT I MIGHT BE RUSHING
THROUGH SOMETHING. OKAY, YEAH. SURE, THAT SOUNDS GREAT. OKAY,
I LOOK FORWARD TO IT. IN THIS PREPARATION PHASE, WE SAW THAT TEACHERS SPOKE
IN A FRIENDLY AND RESPECTFUL WAY
TO EACH OTHER. THE TEACHER LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT THE KIND OF CLASSES
THAT SHE WOULD OBSERVE, AND THE TEACHER CHOSE
THE OBSERVATION FOCUS POINTS FOR HER OWN CLASS. …A LOT OF WRITING EXPERIENCE
IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES. THEY’RE FAMILIAR WITH
SPECIFIC STYLES OF WRITING. SO THAT’S
WHAT WE TELL THEM… VIDEO SEGMENT NUMBER TWO. IN THIS PHASE,
YOU WILL SEE THE TEACHER AS SHE CARRIES OUT
AN OBSERVATION. SEE THE MANUAL FOR EXAMPLES
OF OBSERVATION TOOLS OR GUIDES. AS YOU WATCH THE VIDEO, LOOK FOR ANSWERS
TO THE QUESTIONS… SO WHAT’S THE FIRST ONE? NUMBER TWO: PEOPLE IN DIFFERENT
CULTURES ALL OVER THE WORLD HAVE DIFFERENT SYSTEMS
FOR FAMILY LIFE. YES.
NEXT? OKAY, IN MOST CULTURES, PEOPLE LIVE
IN EXTENDED FAMILIES IN WHICH SEVERAL GENERATIONS
SHARE THE SAME HOUSE. OKAY. BEFORE WE GO ON, LET ME MENTION
SOMETHING ABOUT THE THESIS. A LOT OF TIMES WHEN WE START
TEACHING STUDENTS TO WRITE, WE LIKE TO TELL YOU THE THESIS
GOES LAST IN THE INTRODUCTION BECAUSE THAT’S
THE EASIEST THING TO DO, BUT IT DOESN’T
HAVE TO GO THERE, BUT IT’S THE EASIEST PLACE
TO PUT IT, OKAY? ALL RIGHT, NOW LET’S LOOK AT
THAT PARAGRAPH NUMBER THREE. EARTHQUAKES.
NUMBER TWO. SO WE’RE STARTING OUT
WITH NUMBER TWO. EARTHQUAKES ARE THE MOST
DESTRUCTIVE NATURAL DISASTERS KNOWN TO HUMANS IN TERMS
OF THE MILLIONS OF DEATHS AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
IN PROPERTY LOSS THAT THEY CAUSE. [ indistinct conversation ] ALMOST! SO CLOSE! THAT’S THE TRICKY PART! HOW WE DOING? WHAT ARE GOING TO BE
THE TOPICS? WHAT’S GOING TO BE
THE TOPIC OF THE FIRST ONE? [ speaks indistinctly ] IT’S GOING TO BE A TOPIC, AND IT’S GOING TO BE
THE FIRST TOPIC IN… IN THIS PHASE, THE TEACHER
WHO WAS BEING OBSERVED SIMPLY TAUGHT CLASS AS USUAL. THE TEACHER
WHO WAS DOING THE OBSERVATION SAT QUIETLY AT THE BACK
OF THE CLASS AND TOOK NOTES. AT NO TIME DID THE OBSERVER
INTERRUPT OR INTERFERE
WITH THE TEACHING OF THE CLASS. VIDEO SEGMENT NUMBER THREE. LOOK FOR ANSWERS
TO THE QUESTIONS: WHAT INFORMATION
DO THE TEACHERS EXCHANGE IN THE DEBRIEFING? WHAT DOES THE OBSERVER
LIKE ABOUT THE CLASS? WHAT SUGGESTIONS FOR
IMPROVEMENTS DOES SHE MAKE? HOW DOES
THE DEBRIEFING SESSION END? BELINDA, THAT WAS
A REALLY GREAT CLASS. DID YOU LIKE BEING BACK
IN A 110 CLASS AGAIN? I’D NEVER BEEN IN A 110 CLASS.
IT WAS A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR ME. I WAS VERY IMPRESSED. MAYBE IN THE FUTURE, I’LL
TRY TO TEACH ONE OF THEM. YEAH, IT WAS — I JUST
REALLY LIKE YOUR APPROACH, AND — AND I THOUGHT
IT WAS VERY CREATIVE, AND I THOUGHT THE STUDENTS
WERE VERY INVOLVED, AND IT WAS WONDERFUL. I LIKE THAT CLASS.
THEY’RE REALLY SWEET. AND THEY TRY HARD. YEAH, OH, YEAH.
DEFINITELY, I CAN TELL. I HAVE —
I TOOK SOME NOTES, AND I JUST WANTED
TO GIVE YOU SOME FEEDBACK ON SOME THINGS I THOUGHT
YOU WERE DOING BEAUTIFULLY. THANK YOU. THE FIRST PART WAS
YOUR GIVING INSTRUCTIONS, AND THIS IS A LOWER-LEVEL
GROUP THAN MINE, AND SO IT WAS QUITE DIFFERENT
THAN WHAT GOES ON IN MY CLASS, BUT I WAS VERY IMPRESSED AT HOW CLEAR YOU WERE
WITH YOUR INSTRUCTIONS, AND —
AND YOU WERE — I NOTICED THAT YOU WERE
NOT PARAPHRASING. YOU WERE ACTUALLY
REPEATING INSTRUCTIONS. YEAH, I TRY TO AVOID
PARAPHRASING WITH VERY LOW GROUPS, BECAUSE THE PROBLEM
WITH A VERY LOW GROUP — IF SOMEONE HAS VERY LOW
LISTENING SKILLS AND I’M PARAPHRASING, THEY DON’T NECESSARILY KNOW
THAT I’M SAYING THE SAME THING AGAIN
IN A DIFFERENT WAY. SO THEY THEN THINK
THEY’VE MISSED THE FIRST THING, AND NOW THEY’RE TRYING
TO UNDERSTAND THE SECOND THING. SO I’M ACTUALLY MAKING IT
HARDER FOR THEM TO UNDERSTAND. YOU KNOW, VERY INTERESTING.
THANK YOU. I’M LEARNING.
I’M LEARNING FROM YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
IT WAS GREAT. I HAVE ONE SMALL
PIECE OF FEEDBACK. DO WHAT YOU WILL WITH IT,
BUT I FELT AT TIMES YOU WERE SPEAKING
A LITTLE QUICKLY. FOR EXAMPLE, YOU SOMETIMES
WERE SPEAKING FASTER WITH YOUR 110 CLASS
THAN I WOULD WITH MY 112. NOW, I DIDN’T NOTICE
THE STUDENTS, YOU KNOW, REACTING NEGATIVELY, BUT IT WAS JUST
A PERSONAL REACTION. I THINK YOU’RE RIGHT. IT’S SOMETHING
THAT I KNOW I DO. AT THE BEGINNING
OF ALL MY CLASSES, DOESN’T MATTER
WHAT LEVEL THEY ARE, I TELL THEM I HAVE
A TENDENCY TO SPEAK TOO FAST AND IT’S NOT RUDE —
YOU HAVE TO RAISE YOUR HAND AND TELL ME
“PLEASE SLOW DOWN.” AND DO THEY EVER DO THAT? SOMETIMES, YES,
PEOPLE DO. THEY SAY “BELINDA,
YOU ARE SPEAKING FAST.” AND I SLOW DOWN. AND THAT’S NOT A BAD PLACE
FOR THEM TO PRACTICE THAT. SO IN SOME WAYS, I HOPE
THAT THIS THING THAT I DO THAT’S A PROBLEM FOR THEM ALSO HELPS THEM
HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE IN TALKING TO THE TEACHER, BUT OBVIOUSLY,
BEING A LOW LEVEL, I DON’T WANT THEM TO FEEL LIKE
THEY NEVER KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON OR THEY’RE EMBARRASSED TO ASK ME
TO SLOW DOWN TOO OFTEN. SO I HAVE TO MONITOR MYSELF. WELL, AS I MENTIONED:
VERY SMALL THING. ANYWAYS,
THANK YOU SO MUCH. I LEARNED SO MUCH
FROM WATCHING YOUR CLASS. IT WAS GREAT.
GREAT. IN THIS FINAL PHASE, THE TEACHER CONSULTED
THE NOTES THAT SHE TOOK DURING THE OBSERVATION. SHE COMPLIMENTED HER COLLEAGUE
ON STRENGTHS IN HER TEACHING. SHE ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT POINTS THAT SHE DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AND SHE MADE
POSITIVELY WORDED SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS. THINGS ENDED
JUST AS THEY STARTED: ON A FRIENDLY
AND RESPECTFUL NOTE. ANYWAYS,
THANK YOU SO MUCH. I LEARNED SO MUCH
FROM WATCHING YOUR CLASS. IT WAS GREAT.
GREAT. THE FOCUS IN MODULE 13 HAS BEEN ON TEACHERS
AND PEER OBSERVATIONS. WE FOLLOWED SOME TEACHERS THROUGH THE THREE PHASES
OF THE OBSERVATION PROCESS, IN WHICH THEY PREPARED
FOR THE OBSERVATION, ONE TEACHER OBSERVED THE OTHER
IN THE CLASSROOM, AND PARTICIPATED IN
A POST-OBSERVATION DEBRIEFING. IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU THINK
FORMATIVE OBSERVATION COULD BE OF BENEFIT TO YOU
AND OTHER TEACHERS IN YOUR EDUCATIONAL SETTING? IF YOU ARE ALREADY CONDUCTING
FORMATIVE OBSERVATIONS, ARE THERE WAYS IN WHICH
THEY COULD BE IMPROVED OR BETTER SUPPORTED? AS YOU PEER INTO THE FUTURE AND SEEK OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUR
OWN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, KEEP PEER OBSERVATION IN MIND
AS A CLOSE-TO-HOME OPTION THAT COULD WORK VERY WELL
FOR YOU. SEE THE MANUAL FOR READINGS
AND MORE INFORMATION ON THIS AND OTHER TOPICS
RELATED TO PEER OBSERVATION.

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