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Self-observation in the classroom

May 11, 2006

Action research is a means of reflecting on one's personal performance.

Hello again,

We all know how nerve-racking it is to have our teaching observed and to have to perform under the scrutiny of a hawk-eyed Director Studies. In fact if observations become a source of stress for the teacher they can be counter-productive. If we assume the purpose of the observation is to help the teacher become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, then a first step might be to encourage self-reflection. Without the pressure of an outsider...

... in the classroom, teachers can be encouraged to improve awareness of what they do, how they do it and the effect it has on students.

Alongside the formal lesson plan, the teachers can be encouraged to think about what they are trying to achieve. If the class is one devoted to reading comprehension, the teacher might identify what is important to convey about the reasons for working on reading comprehension, e.g. I want my students to understand why reading comprehension is important (personal life, education, occupational life); I want students to understand why the text chosen is relevant (subject matter, level of difficulty); I want students to be able to react to the text, not just understand it (emotional and intellectual response); I want to motivate students to read outside the classroom.

During the lesson the teacher takes steps to add these dimensions to the lesson and after the lesson reflects on how far these aims were achieved. What was learnt forms the basis for the approach in the next lesson on reading comprehension.

This kind of self-reflection helps the teacher become more self aware and more self-directed. It does not have to replace traditional observations but can form the basis of dialogue with the D.O.S. about the teacher teachers see their own performance in the classroom and can make the formal observation more relevant to what teachers see as their needs.

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Comments

  1. tall amadou Says:

    we are a club in senegal, real english lovers and we would like to get in touch with you, have some penfriends, just to master the english language(the language of shakespeare)

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