Leanne Apple is a female teacher who is a collaborative professional with five years of experience teaching home science classes to grade five students. She graduated from SVU Colleges of Science on December 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in home science and has been an instructor for four years. She has served in her current position for two years and has proved to be an excellent educator who makes the subject very interesting for her students. She can provide analogies, organize group activities and prepare teaching plans that facilitate classroom participation. In addition, she is a psychologist and can modify teaching plans for students without compromising the performance of their peers. She is always seeking an opportunity to educate first-standard students in all lessons. She is a dedicated, resourceful, goals-driven professional instructor, highly committed to every student’s social and academic growth and development.
Additionally, she is an accommodating and versatile person talented in developing inspiring hands-on lessons that will capture a learner’s imagination and breed success. As an educator, she is very enthusiastic and desires that all students succeed in their studies. Also, she is committed to creating a conducive environment that stimulates and encourages students to learn. She possesses strong communication and interpersonal skills to create a positive relationship with parents, students and the staff. She has proved as able to consistently instruct her students based on the requirements of their needs and interests. Finally, her past performance record has proven that she is a professional educator with vast experience and a strong track record fostering child-centered curriculum and student creativity.
Pre-Observation Cycle Reports
Pre-observation Conference Record
During the pre-observation meeting, we discussed the syllabus and other considerations, including the class size and how it would impact the final project when broken into smaller groups. The teacher explained that the instruction session was practical and would test the students’ ability to categorize foods either as earth provided or processed. In addition, students will be expected to differentiate various food groups such as fats, carbohydrates, and protein. The course comprised 40 grade 5 home science students, and teaching would take place in a well-arranged classroom with fixed seating.
Overarching Goal of the Unit and the Lesson
As a subject, home science’s goal is to enhance the quality of life for a person, the family, and the community at large. The subject’s main objectives were to enhance self-reliance and promote the quality of life for the students, their families and the immediate community (Prashanthi et al., 2018). On the other hand, the overarching goal of the lesson was to equip the learners with the knowledge, values, attitude, and skills that will help promote healthy living in terms of preparation and consumption of healthy foods and illness prevention (Prashanthi et al., 2018). Therefore, the lesson would ensure safety and comfort at home, observe personal hygiene, and purchase foodstuffs wisely.
Instructions will be delivered using the social interaction method during the teaching session. As a student-centered instructional method, the teaching approach would allow students to interact with each other in a structured manner (Alshutwi et al., 2020). Students will be divided into groups and assigned different tasks to accomplish before the end of the lesson. The instructor would be moving around the class, helping the students where they are facing challenges. The instructor would use the Direct Assessment of Practical Skills (DAPS) method to assess student understanding (Alshutwi et al., 2020). Therefore, the teacher would check student progress and assess them while moving around the class.
The class comprised 40 students, and I found out that the teacher had a nice structure for delivering instruction. The instructor covered all subject aspects outlined in the text or school requirements. In addition, she made the subject matter relatable and incorporated instances in the real world. Finally, the teacher answered all questions asked by students and created time for any arising questions before the lesson ended.
When doing the supervision, I followed the following strategy to take notes about the teacher’s performance during practical classes. First, I tried to understand the teacher’s depth of knowledge in the subject. I expected the teacher not only to be familiar with the subject matter but also to be able to grasp a newer topic that has been added to the curriculum recently. Another issue I was checking was whether the teacher properly answered questions asked by the students. In addition, I checked whether the teacher could provide a clear elaboration on topics and integrate their knowledge outside the textbook. I was keen on whether the teacher presented herself as confident in their subject knowledge. Finally, I checked if the teacher displayed any gaps in the knowledge of an essential topic. I chose this model of observational notes because I considered it the best for a practical class.
I checked the teaching environment and the general vibe of the class. It involved checking how the class had been arranged for the practical, the conduct of the teacher, and how effectively she was controlling the class (Dignath & Büttner, 2018). It comprised tangible things such as whether they have enough space on their desk or the right technological resources. It could also be the presence of emotional discomforts, such as if they can open up and feel accepted in the classroom (Dignath & Büttner, 2018). I checked whether the instructor minimized all distractions by dealing with any disruptive student (Dignath & Büttner, 2018). Finally, I checked whether the learning resources were enough to facilitate learning for each student.
Post-Observation Conference Record
Overall, the teacher was extremely knowledgeable by providing many opportunities for student engagement. Since she began teaching this subject, she has been praised for being successful in various activities, applying different strategies to enhance learners’ readiness for the class, and using the class for theoretical applications. Generally, the strategies used by the teacher to deliver knowledge were effective because doing practicals prepares learners for future real life (Dignath & Büttner, 2018). Therefore, these strategies will become more efficient as she continues to streamline them.
During our post-observation meeting, we discussed methods the teacher could use to enhance student participation in class. Since this was a practical class, finding a larger room in the future would be effective because it would provide enough space for every student to work on their own and for teacher movement (Veldkamp et al., 2020). Thus, having a larger area would provide more flexibility in arranging chairs that would promote engagement activities.
Section 1 – Post Observation Reflections across Three Cycles
Post-Observation Structure and Eliciting Feedback from the Teacher
The post-observation reflection conference was held the same day in the staffroom after the observation. I received feedback from the teacher by asking her various questions I had prepared earlier. For instance, I wanted the teacher to explain the lesson’s success and whether the students learned what was taught. The teacher acknowledged that the lesson was successful and stated that she believed learners acquired the knowledge and skills she had planned through formative assessment. The teacher further explained that students could categorize foods successfully as earth-provided, processed, or emptied calories. In addition, they could differentiate between proteins, carbohydrates and fats provided in the human body. Therefore, the teacher was confident that students successfully examined a food label and acquired vital information because students handed in a completed food label assignment at the end of the teaching session.
Teacher’s Assessment for the Lesson
The instructor explained that the classroom procedures created a high engagement and learning experience. Students were comfortable with the teacher and the learning environment, proven by their motivation and engagement during the learning session. 96% of the students were engaged and willing to participate in the lesson. Students were keen on all instructions and did not have to be redirected. However, two students were late and never wanted to engage in the work and decided to leave the class early. The teacher tried to direct one of the students to work on her assignment and remind her to return from the bathroom, which she decided not to do.
However, the rest of the class performed and behaved well throughout the learning session. They performed everything well from the beginning to the end of the lesson. The classroom’s physical space allowed students to change positions throughout the learning session easily. They could quickly move between seats and rows and share their findings with their colleagues. Finally, the teacher could move freely throughout the class to help with challenges faced by the students during the lesson.
Teacher’s Assessment Alignment with My Evaluation
The teacher’s assessment aligned with my evaluation because my overall observation viewed the teacher as knowledgeable by providing a nice learning opportunity for students. On the other hand, the instructor considered her teaching procedures highly engaging. Students felt very comfortable with the teacher and creating a conducive learning environment provided a comfortable learning experience. Therefore, I believe that the teacher’s evaluation aligned with my assessment. After conversing with the teacher to hear her response about the observation, I presented the findings of the observation report to her. The report was handwritten, and the teacher was positive about the recommendation and comments. She appreciated me for the time and for sharing the experience with her and promised to continue working hard for the better delivery of instructions to the students.
Feedback Received From the Teacher on the Accuracy and Usefulness of the Observation for Improving Instruction
The teacher said the general teaching observation helped her become more reflective and intentional. For instance, the observation helped her reflect on the choices made during the class session as well as the learning and understanding of the students. Through the advice given by the observer, the teacher would be able to generate different teaching choices that will effectively meet future objectives. The teacher further said that after the observation, she got a sense of the class from a student perspective, as explained by the observer. Interaction in class was a major point explained by the teacher, who claimed that after observation, it was downed to her that interaction makes students active while in class.
The teacher expressed the risk that some of her students were less confident about calculation assignments. Even though this is understandable at some stage, she considered the need to create simple tasks for practice purposes to encourage students to continue practicing. Therefore, through her response, she displayed her desire to continue perfecting her instructional skills for the good of the students. In general, the teacher was positive about the observation because it taught her vital points about teaching.
Ways the Marshall Rubric is Helpful/Hindering to the Observation Cycle
The marshal rubric is helpful to the observation in that it helps provide feedback to the teacher about planning, implementation and the success of a single lesson. For instance, during the observation, one can mark a statement that best describes what has been observed. The availability of columns is vital because it helps observes selection and offers guidance to the teacher to improve and grow. In this case, to suit the needs of the observation cycle, I changed some parts of the rubric according to the details given during the post-observation conference so that it could match the lesson.
Section 2 – Personal Leadership Reflections and Synthesis
The observation cycle increases precision and alignment; having someone else in the same class where a teacher is teaching makes one get used to it. Hence, as teacher develops confidence in being observed, they continue enhancing their instructional skills, resulting in better lessons (Johnston & Ksoll, 2022). Thus, the instructor becomes proud when someone comes into the room, the class is moving nicely, and there is no fear that someone will take anything out of context. The most important point is that learning continues and is undeniable.
Regarding teacher observation, as a school leader, I would facilitate continuous instructor evaluations. It is the best method of eliminating observation anxiety because it allows teachers to work on their weaknesses and build the capacity to be serious about their work (Johnston & Ksoll, 2022). When the pressure is moved completely, teachers can figure out areas that need improvement, especially with a set of criteria offered by the school (Johnston & Ksoll, 2022). By the time observation gets to leadership or beyond, small, easy issues would have already been fixed, creating room for positive discussions about growth.
As a leader, I would provide teachers ample time to reflect on their work. If instructors are given time to think, it will become part of their routine, which is important for culture-shift familiarity (Johnston & Ksoll, 2022). Incorporating personal reflection on lessons into the timetable is one of the most effective ways of translating the team that takes personal development very seriously. Therefore, teachers being given time to think about their performance in class will enable them to identify areas that need improvement.
Using strategies such as co-teaching between teachers and leaders to structure teaching and create a positive experience can make the process less of a burden for the teacher. It can also provide more growth opportunities, learning and understanding (Härkki et al., 2021). For instance, Miriam Plotinsky, an instructional specialist at Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, wrote for Edutopia permitting teachers to invite school leaders into the classroom as observers (Miriam, 2022). The main reason was that while they teach a lesson they are proud of will enable teachers to showcase their best work. Similarly, instructors could invite administrators in to provide feedback on problem areas. The final approach is having one of the school leaders teach the class under the observation of the educators. Teachers will be able to observe another teacher while the school leader expresses instructional skills while teaching.
Stepping Back From This Assignment, What Did You Notice About Your Thinking?
The social interaction strategy was effective because of increased student involvement in class activities. The environment made students much more likely to share the information, which contributed to the students learning the information in the lesson. Additionally, the rapport in the classroom between the teacher and students made everyone feel safe to articulate their points and ideas about the issues under discussion. Therefore, they interacted with the teacher and each other without fear of what anyone else might think or say.
Section 3 – Connections to Coursework and Extension to NELP Standards (3 pages)
There is an integrated connection between leadership, teaching and learning. Leadership plays a vital role in enhancing education results by setting strategic goals and direction, inspiring the behavior of teachers, motivating, resource mobilization and support for institutional development (Johnston & Ksoll, 2022). In addition, it keeps teachers and facilitators focused on teaching and learning through monitoring support and guidance. Effective guidance is the result of appropriate leadership. The education system should have the correct programs and policies to build educational leaders who value education as the core of their leadership (Johnston & Ksoll, 2022). Therefore, the symbol of good leadership in education is taking responsibility and accepting accountability for learning.
Change in the world is driven by research on how the brain works and learns. It is important for learners to develop not only what they know but also their values, attitudes and skills (Johnston & Ksoll, 2022). For this to happen, they need to play a part in their learning and get motivated actively. The current generation is about innovations driving change in the educational sector. They can access a vast amount of information quickly with just a click of a button on the internet; thus, the teacher no longer holds the knowledge. Instead, they have become critical coaches whose role is to show students how to select and work with information in a beneficial way in their education (Johnston & Ksoll, 2022). Therefore, students in educational institutions must develop skills and knowledge for today and tomorrow in their workplace and for further education and training.
How Observation Facilitated Professional Growth of Teachers
The observation cycle facilitates growth for teachers by helping identify the presence of weaknesses in their work. During the observation process, the most important issue is that they lose nothing. If a teacher does a good job, it will be indicated in the observation feedback. On the other hand, if they are not doing well, the feedback will make them adjust accordingly (Mac et al., 2019). It feels painful to hear criticism about personal teaching skills, but it is important to take such when told in a formal observation.
How Clinical Observation Enables Principals to Provide Teachers with Authentic Feedback
Clinical observations are the starting point of a teacher’s teaching career. Thus data collected can be considered measurable, accurate, and a long-term assessment report (Mac et al., 2019). The principal can use this data to provide general weaknesses about the teacher and uses it to advise the teacher to improve. In addition, such data provides the principal with relevant information about a teacher that is helpful when recommending the teacher to another school (Mac et al., 2019). Therefore, the principal can provide authentic feedback when required based on the teacher’s observational data.
Classroom Observations Help Closely Monitor Instruction
A clinical observation cycle is a vital tool for research and educational policy. Observing instructors in the classroom makes it possible to determine the effect of training programs and other qualities of a teacher as well as student learning (Dignath & Büttner, 2018). In addition, the observation cycle enables principals to provide teachers with authentic feedback. After the observation, teachers are given a report that shows their performance and instruction delivery in the classroom. Also, observation helps education managers scale how schools perform (Dignath & Büttner, 2018). Finally, classroom observation provides instructional leaders, school directors, and mentors with formative feedback for individual teachers. Therefore, observational data checks and adjusts a teacher’s performance; thus, the learners get the best from the lessons taught in classes, improving their academic and overall performance.
Constraints of Classroom Observations
Classroom observations indeed provide instructional leaders with an opportunity to monitor instructions closely. The main goal of these observations is to improve students’ results by enhancing teachers’ instructional efficiency (Alshutwi et al., 2020). In addition, observations investigate the possible inequalities among different groups of learners. Leaders can closely monitor the instruction process when classroom observations are carried out. However, when administrators conduct these observations, they encounter various challenges.
School administrators encounter some challenges that arise during teacher observation sessions. For instance, classroom observers might make decisions according to their emotional responses (Alshutwi et al., 2020). Some observers think differently about how teachers should instruct their students and can consider that during observation. However, this might be true regarding how good teaching should look, but it might not apply to everyone because there are different instruction methods (Alshutwi et al., 2020).
Another constraint is that administrators encounter the ability to tell whether the students are learning. Learners might appear engaged while the class content is being covered, the classroom may feel calm, and students might receive feedback from the teacher (Alshutwi et al., 2020). All of this might be taking place, but the big question is whether the students are learning, which is a huge challenge to administrators. Therefore, all these are challenges that most affect classroom observations.
Opportunities for Managing Deep and Meaningful Classroom Observation
The majority instructor contract offers a list of best practices that teachers can choose to focus on for their evaluation and professional development. They can be evaluated based on peer observation, specific curriculum work, cooperative learning strategies, and project learning (Poulou et al., 2019). It is vital to understand that the most crucial idea is actively engaging teachers and learners. The most important point is that the more teachers are involved as learners, the better their classroom practices will become. Similarly, the better their practices evolve, the higher degrees of learning will be witnessed.
Every learning institution will always have its policies regarding how its learning goals should be and what is expected to be a priority. The most crucial issue is that these policies are defined and presented early in the policy because they will likely impact other policy aspects (Poulou et al., 2019). For some schools, it helps to divide the policy into parts, such as part A for learning and Part B for teaching. Learning goals can be defined by consulting teachers and governors to accurately summarize expectations and common working practices (Poulou et al., 2019). Therefore, the creation of such policies will help protect time for teachers and administrators to engage meaningfully in this work while maximizing instructional time and other administrative duties.
For teachers and students to achieve the most benefits from their learning experience, it is important to create a positive class culture based on the mission and vision of the school. School culture will help teachers and administrators to always stick to it whenever teaching students (Poulou et al., 2019). In addition, instructors can avoid the occurrence of problems and minimize disruption during student instruction by observing school culture.
Creating schedules involves identifying essential routines and procedures that will bring success to the classroom. Examples of such practices comprise transitioning between activities, handing out materials, handing in work, accessing help, arriving and dismissing at school, and making up missed work (Härkki et al., 2021). Therefore, organizing how activities will take place helps teachers and administrators to engage in meaningful work while maximizing teacher instructional time.
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