Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Video Resources for English Language Teacher Education

Heading

Observing experienced teachers is a key aspect of teacher education, but it is not the same as evaluating teachers! 

Observation for Evaluation vs. Observation as a Learning Tool?

Many teachers and student teachers feel more than a little anxious at the prospect of being observed. This is usually because observation is in many settings linked to evaluation in the form of inspections, trainers giving grades to student teachers or for hiring purposes. This type of observation judges an action or behaviour and is used to assess the quality of teacher or learner performance, often in relation to a particular set of criteria.

This resource, however, does not intend to provide opportunities for doings this, but rather view observation as a learning tool. This type of observation is often narrower in focus, so it might only consider e.g. the instructions given for group work. It should give concrete information about what happens in the classroom with regard to both the teacher and the learners. It is not about saying "Was this right" or "I would have done this differently" or "I need to copy this in my teaching environment", but about learning to reflect from other teachers' practices on your own. This is also the reason why the lessons provided here, although they are all given by professional teachers, are not staged model lessons, but real lessons, where sometimes things don't go quite according to plan.

Using video resources adds value to these observations by making the same lesson accessible to several viewers and to repeated viewings.

 

Further Reading

Most introductions to language teaching offer a chapter or section on observations.  

Wajnryb, R. 1992. Classroom Observation Tasks. Cambridge: CUP. offers a book full of suggestions for focused observation

Walsh, S. 2011. Exploring Classroom Discourse. London: Routledge, offers suggestions for integrating observation, classroom discourse analysis and teacher reflective practice.

 

 

 

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×