Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Classroom Observations - What does one look for?

Gaining clarity and consistency in what one looks for when observing classroom practice sounds simple, yet I believe it can be quite complex. In the last few weeks as my previous posts have identified, I have been spending longer periods of time in classrooms presencing the learning and teaching. In this initial phase I don't have a set criteria I am observing against. I am merely soaking up what is happening and taking the time to deeply experience and listen to what is going on. My intention is that a pattern may form and indicate an area for more detailed observation, like depth of teacher questioning or monitoring locus of control in the classroom.
A wondering I stumbled upon watching reading in a class the other day was when students are not working with the teacher they are often involved in learning experiences that are to do with practicing their reading, high frequency words or sometimes even handwriting. My question was what type of learning experiences can be designed that take practicing to another level to incorporate thinking or new learning. I am wondering how our powerful learning process can be used to design learning that deliberately pushes into the 'sort it' and 'use it' thinking as the typical independent learning experiences often remain at the 'get it' stage. Refer Powerful Learning Process image in previous posts.
I am convinced such wonderings only surface when time is taken to quietly observe what is happening where it truly counts - In the classroom!

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