Examination of Practice

Teachers observe each other teach and provide feedback. It really is that simple. Too often schools get bogged down with protocols and formals techniques to brainstorm. If teachers would spend more time just having conversations about teaching and learning they would be better off than trying to fit everything they discuss into a framework, protocol or cycle. Let the teachers talk. Teacher-led observation of instructional practices is an assumed practice of a Learning Evaluation. It is a process that is critical to the success of the staff and school. Teachers need time to observe each other teach and provide feedback to one another in a safe, open environment. Feedback amongst teachers is a foundational action that makes them professionals. It is critical that teachers be able to observe, provide feedback, examine their practices and adapt.

Examination of Practice Assumptions

  • • Teachers observing teachers is a normal professional practice.
  • • Teachers formally and informally provide feedback to one another.
  • • Teachers assist each other in progress monitoring, becoming thinking partners.
  • • Reflection is a collaborative effort.
  • • Action planning does not happen in isolation.

Case Study: We Must Drive Fear Out of This School

Mrs. Jones, a principal, had a great instructional coach, Mrs. Phillips. They both agreed that the school was proficient in all of the domains in the Learning Evaluation except for "Examination of Practice." They had to create the time for teachers to observe one another teaching and provide each other feedback, without any interference from a coach or administrator. Mrs. Jones redesigned the master schedule and recruited volunteers to observe each other teaching using the Student-Centered Observation Rubric as a guide. The teacher volunteers then reported their experience to the staff, helping to ease any worry or misgivings regarding the observation protocol.

By the end of the first semester all teachers were observing each other and providing informal, formative feedback to one another. Several teachers even commented that their love of teaching had never been stronger because they were able to fail without fear, receive feedback from a peer and try new things. The morale in the building by the end of the year was at an all-time high.