Effectiveness of Observation
Imagine a HT who observes every class for 15min per week – isn’t that amazing!
1 classroom has 5 hours of lessons per day = 300mins
5 days in a week = 1500mins of lessons
At Broadford there are 13 classes… 13×1500 = 19,500
Total time spent observing 13 x 15mins = 195mins or 1%
It means that observations alone – even if they are done for every staff member every week – are not going to be enough to really drive rapid improvement. In addition to more frequent, shorter, low threat observations, look to join teachers for an analysis meeting after each interim assessment to look at pupil learning.
If observations are like a peep hole, then assessment analysis is like throwing open the doors. – Bambrick-Santoyo
But this does not diminish the importance of observations, feedback and coaching… see below.
WARNING – it will only be effective if there is quality analysis of the data at pupil level and a quick turnaround to ensure intervention is timely. It should not be a scoreboard approach where it becomes about ‘have scores gone up or down?’
- Leaders must come to meeting prepared, having read the data
- Senior Leaders must avoid dominating the discussion ‘keep it in the back pocket’
- A clear action plan should be agreed with dates
Action plans should naturally lead into lesson planning so that instruction is not left to chance.
What other systems can be used to help support intervention?
- Teacher tutoring during assembly/after school
- Use of Senior teachers who have more flexible timetables
- Liaise with Breakfast club staff to target particular pupils
- How does the school calendar prioritise assessment and the reteaching cycle?
A standard can be agreed whereby test reports are available within 48hrs of the test being administered:
- extra TA support to help with data entry
- time given to middle leaders to analyse scores
My take on it is that this links with the culture/approach that @teacherhead talks about in his post ‘Rosenshine Reordered’. How are we building an approach to teaching and learning where we are more systematic about the knowledge we want the children to grasp, how are we checking for understanding and when do we deliberately revisit learning – a spiral approach to moving forward?
Observations, Feedback & Coaching
In North Star schools the teachers are all observed every week and receive weekly coaching and feedback
The 10,000 hour rule espoused by Malcolm Gladwell suggests becoming an expert teacher takes time. Effective coaching and feedback given on a regular basis can move teachers forward rapidly – it is a myth that tangible change takes time.
Often focus is to make every observation worthwhile, but…
- Don’t lose sight of how teaching is growing/improving over time and how one observation links to the next
- Are targets being referred back to and progress commented on? Are next steps related to whole school strategies?
- How are observations being used to implement whole school strategies?
- What is the overall picture of teaching and learning that the observations show?
What is the primary purpose behind your approach to observations?
- Is it to judge the quality of teaching?
- Is it to coach teachers effectively to improve pupil learning?
What simple tweaks can be made to improve the quality of impact?
1. Lock in frequent observations
2. Identify two to three action points
3. Give teacher weekly 15min feedback – try and build in chances to rehearse key scripts and actions
4. Ensure accountability for acting on next steps
These are scheduled at a regular time so that teacher knows when they will get feedback each week
Meetings can also be linked with discussions about data/planning
Core idea is that less feedback is given more often – we learn/develop more effectively when we have one thing to focus on.
There is also a chance that the observations will allow you to focus on points raised by the data driven approach. If the data has identified that pupils struggle with inference, then what do you see in the regular observations?
10 Second Rule
This approach is NOT about overwhelming a teacher with reams of action points. We aim for next steps that are small and simple, that you could see within 10 seconds in a lesson. Small changes in quick succession can lead to massive improvement.
Remember that successful steps will be
2. Bite sized
3. Data/goal driven linked to appraisal or whole school targets