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Transcript of Informal Observations
Why are informal observations important?
• Captures bigger picture of teaching and learning
• Allows for frequent feedback of teachers
• Feedback inspires professional growth of teachers
• Allows principals to design professional development based on needs
• It is the responsibility of the principal to continuously evaluate teachers formally and informally
• It provides an opportunity to have meaningful discussions about practice.
What does the research say?
*Informal observations can be announced or unannounced
*Can last anywhere from 5 minutes to a full class period
*Meaningful feedback should be given in a timely manner; can be in different forms such as written note, email, conferences
*Ask open-ended questions to allow teachers to critically-reflect on their practice
*Informal observations should be part of the culture of the school
• Charlotte Danielson & Dr. Robert Marzano refer to informal observations as a preponderance of evidence in order to make a reasoned judgment about a teacher’s overall practice. -
• Helps guide professional development (Surpovitz & Weathers, 2004)
• Principals learn more than teachers if teachers don't get feedback (Marsh et al, 2005)
• Increases shared understanding of best practices (Coburn, Honig & Stein, 2004)
• Carries significant risk if the purpose is murky or if there is distrust (Valle & Buese, 2007)
• Focus on areas that teachers have buy-in and have received considerable pd on.
• Even principals believe they are being evaluated when district personnel show up.
• Principals should use observation tools that measure quality instruction
• E.g. Danielson informal evaluation tool/rubric
• When taking notes, use evidence; don't use opinions.
• Informal observations should begin in the beginning of the school year (can start with announced and go to unannounced)
• Informal observations should be tied to a larger improvement purpose.