There is a very famous thought experiment called Schroedinger’s Cat. Rather than try to explain it myself here is a nice little video that explains it far better than I could.
This makes me wonder about teaching observations.
A class might be great or awful but observing it can certainly change a good lesson to a bad one or a bad lesson to a good one.
- Students can panic
- Teachers can panic
- Teachers can try to impress
- Students can “behave” where normally they wouldn’t
As such we can say that a lesson being observed can produce both a higher and lower quality performance and, depending on personality type and observation conditions it will affect which results come out.
Different factors in Observation
- Warning over observation.
- Consequences of observations.
- Frequency of observations.
- Style of feedback post observation.
these can all affect the observation due to:
If a teacher receives plenty of warning then they may well do extra preparation that they would normally, however without being warned they may panic.
If they are high consequences then the teacher may panic more, but they may also put more effort in.
If a teacher is observed more frequently they may feel more relaxed, and more used to the whole process. On the other hand they become tired of the whole system and feel it unnecessary.
If feedbacks are basically telling off sessions by another name then a teacher may panic more during the observation (especially after making a mistake) or the teacher becoming more defensive when being observed.
However, if the feedback session are encouraging and draw out good points as well as areas for growth then the teacher may enjoy the process more, though could possible just ignore the feedback.
My Observation preference
Personally, I love observations and have tried to encourage an approach where a teacher can observe me with as little warning as possible. This is possible due to my many observations as a new teacher here in Dnipro where the consequences were clearly laid out as being for our development and not likely to result in a sudden termination of contract.
As such, I now no longer desire the softly softly approach and would rather have a much more confrontational approach picking up on all the little things I could do better. I know what I do well (obviously, I wouldn’t object if you mention it again) but it’s what I don’t know that I’m doing badly or not as well as I could that I need help with.