Lesson observations are like mirrors. The observer holds up the looking glass allowing the teacher to see their reflected image. In doing so, the teacher is given the opportunity to make adjustments, so that the idealised image they imagine, is akin to their true likeness. Now, we all know that when you look into a mirror, the image staring back at you will be either good, bad, or just plain ugly. Of course, all teachers are more than capable of photoshopping their teaching during an observation, and any observer can choose to see exactly what they like. In fact, if we have learnt anything over the years in education, it’s that when it comes to lesson observations, and as far as teachers and observers are concerned, there are some good, some bad, and some downright, well, I think you get the point.
The effectiveness, of an observation to hold up a mirror that is as kind as it is true, will depend largely on the attitude, experience and educational capacity of both teacher and observer. But how do you work out, whether you’re observing or being observed, if the next observation is going to be worth the feedback form it’s printed on?
Well, in order to get inside the mind-set of a teacher or an observer, use this handy flow-diagram to navigate your way through the complicated maze of attitudes, assumptions and practices of all those who observe and are observed.
So there you have it. An opportunity to peer through the looking glass and see for yourself what could be facing you during the next observation. It’s a bit like looking into a hand-mirror before you go full-frontal. You may feel unable to do anything to change the reflections of those around you, but one thing’s for sure, you definitely won’t reach your potential if, when you do look into the mirror, you don’t like what’s staring you in the face.