Andrej Dethlefsen is the Director of Mediamerge, who produce video based CPD resources used by thousands of schools across the UK. These include the UK's largest series of professionally filmed lesson observations.
There is an art to observing lessons, just as there is an art to teaching them. Observing and evaluating the effects and impact of teaching requires particular skills that in many cases need to be developed through practice.
Performed well, lesson observation can be a hugely empowering process that gives recognition to the unique skill set required for highly effective teaching. Undertaken poorly, it could cause a dent in teachers' motivation.
The advice below supports a natural approach to observation, which appreciates that there is a story behind every lesson that links the teaching with pupils’ responses to the lesson and the progress that this is giving rise to.
Lesson observation takes place with varying degrees of regularity, robustness and clarity of process.
The key question is: does it actually make any difference to the observed teacher's practice and subsequent impact on learners' progress?
Evidently, this will depend on the quality of the observer, the observation and the nature of the 'feedback' shared. Nevertheless, we can make some general observations.
Straightforward observation enables leaders to gather selected evidence quickly. Observing parts of lessons can provide key evidence of students' behaviour, attitude, understanding and application of the content being taught.