Eye on the classroom 5: Post-observation feedback

This is the fifth and final post in a series that originally appear in English Teaching Professional and is reposted here with the permission of Pavilion Publishing. The previous posts in this series about classroom observation have all been about why and how we can observe the classroom. So it seems fitting that this final post looks at how feedback after the observation is approached. Watch what you say   For many observations, feedback afterwards is not necessarily planned. For example, a trainee teacher may be asked to observe a lesson and have little or no further contact with the more experienced teacher. However,…

Eye on the classroom 4: lesson snapshots

A longer version of this post originally appeared in English Teaching Professional, issue 60, January 2009. It is reprinted here with the permission of Pavilion Publishing. As observers, our tendency is to observe and then immediately try to put into words our interpretation of what is happening. Then, when we meet the teacher afterwards to give feedback, we report back on what we’ve written and probably add even more interpretation to the events. The advantage of simply drawing and sketching what you can see is that you are observing rather than interpreting. At different stages of the lesson, you can…

Eye on the classroom 3: Observation by checklist

I originally wrote a version of this article for English Teaching Professional, Issue 59 in November 2008. It is reprinted here with permission from Pavilion Publishing. Fulfilling criteria Anyone who has taken a formal teaching qualification with assessed teaching practice will recall the stress of having an assessor at the back of the class, ticking and scoring a set of criteria. Alternatively, you might have had visits from your director of studies to check up on how your lessons are going. They will probably have had a form with a set of criteria that might have looked something like this:…

Eye on the classroom 2: Focussed classroom observations using graphs

This post is a version of an article I originally wrote for English Teaching professional magazine in Issue 58, September 2008 and is reprinted with permission of Pavilion Publishing. We often assume that a classroom observation should involve watching and noting down comments on everything that happens. In fact, an observation is often more valuable when the focus is on only one aspect of the lesson. This means that any feedback you give to the teacher will be very precise and much clearer. It also means that you can observe for an area that you personally want to develop in…

Tips for giving webinars

I’ve given presentations at hundreds of workshops and conferences and I’ve delivered training online but none of this quite prepared me for giving my first webinar. It’s unlike other forms of delivery and it taught me a great deal. So I thought I’d share some of what I leanred from the experience and try to sum it up in tip form for any other trainers out there who are running webinars for the first time. And of course if you have your own experiences of webinars already, then please add your own tips and comments. The background to this is that BESIG…

The Eclectic Teacher

Here’s an idea from a training input session entitled ‘The eclectic teacher’. I first used it on a Diploma course and other trainers have commented how useful it (or the idea behind it) has been. Note that the participants will need to have some familiarity with different approaches and methods in ELT history 1 Give the handout below to each person and ask them to tick any of activities 1–30 that they have used in their lessons. 2 They compare and explain their answers in groups. 3 Ask them to match an approach or method to each of the 30 activities….

Do you still use loop input?

The other day in a conversation with two trainers, I heard two questions. From the first: “Do we still use loop input these days?” and from the second trainer(2) “What is loop input?” I first learned about ‘Loop Input’ in an excellent training session with Tessa Woodward and she wrote a book called Loop Input (Pilgrims 1988). It’s now out of print though I bought a copy from the woman herself so I guess she has a few left for sale in her garage if you want one. You can also read an article by her here. Anyway, in answer to…