As ever it was an odd twenty four hours on twitter; from comments about “not even a bus full” which I found infuriating and ill-considered, in equal measure, to the #nobservation hashtag. The latter amused me. With a bit more thought and empathy maybe it shouldn’t.
With apologies for my lack of attribution to the person who started #nobservation, the hashtag allowed teachers to share the worst lesson observation feedback they had received. From an inadequate in a German lesson due to the observer being unable to understand the lesson – delivered in the target language – to advice on differentiation suggesting that some pupils would have been taught the three Pillars of Islam.
Other classics involve suggestions that EYFS children needed to respond to comments on their work – they probably couldn’t read – with a written pupil response to “I’m not sure what you can do about it but your voice is annoying”. All pretty unhelpful.
However, providing feedback about aspects of teaching could, if done well, be part of helping improve the quality of teaching. It may be using a peer observer rather than a line manager would help remove some of the howlers linked to understanding a particular phase or subject. The focus is on improvement not surveillance.
Providing advice that is empathetic, focused, specific and that resonates will help the person receiving it accept and use it; giving the observed teacher the lead in how they wish to take forward the development of their classroom practice would also seem to make a lot of sense. Staying and working with the teacher through the planning, modelling and evaluating phases with minimal records, if any, kept; focus on development and ensure it non-threatening.
Helen Harden suggested that maybe we should also develop a #posobservation hashtag to share the best of practice. Please use the hashtag to share the best feedback you have had following a lesson observation; would be interested in both content and the structure/style of what you received.
This is a bit like saying no premier league manager has lost their job this season due to relegation fears; after all no team has actually been relegated.
Ofsted need to listen more and stop trying to manipulate the reality through an incomplete narrative https://t.co/3X7diATCg6
— Stephen Tierney (@LeadingLearner) February 6, 2018
With more focus on improvement and less on accountability, monitoring and surveillance of the profession we may not need a bus after all.