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School Based Instructional Rounds Make A Difference To Teachers And Learners Alike

By Ryan Sanders

The majority of teachers are dedicated professionals that want to make a difference in the lives of their learners. Unfortunately, they are overwhelmed with numerous responsibilities. They teach, perform many admin duties, are involved with extra curricular activities and attend many time consuming meetings. There is little time to develop professionally and the budget rarely stretches as far as to fund formal further training. Thankfully, school based instructional rounds can help teachers to become better at their jobs and to grow as individuals.

Implementing such a system does not cost money and it requires very little effort. It basically consist of small numbers of teachers attending the class of a colleague with the express purpose of observing him at his job. The system is voluntary and the teacher asked to agree to be observed by others is normally a well respected professional. The observers are there to learn, nothing else.

Before the observation session, the observers have a meeting in order to formulate some specific objectives for the coming session. These objectives normally focus on the strong points of the teacher that will be observed. The observers will then focus on how the teacher uses his strengths, such as the ability to use humour, or to maintain discipline in the class, for example, to achieve his results.

It is important to note that these observation sessions contain no element of evaluation whatsoever. The observers are not there to evaluate a colleague. They are there to learn from him. For this reason, observers never provide feedback after the session, unless the teacher that was observed request it. Great care is also taken to make sure that the learners understand the purpose of the observation session.

Once the session is over, the observers meet again. The purpose of the meeting is to share the experience with each other. Participants are encouraged to discuss the lessons that they have learnt, the ideas that they gained and the ways in which these can be used to improve their own class room techniques. Observers are not allowed to criticise in any way and they do not compile a report either. The meeting is, in fact, strictly confidential.

Ever since its inception, these observation sessions have become hugely popular. Teachers say that they definitely benefit and, of course, if they benefit then the entire educational system and especially the learners benefit too. Similar systems are now being introduced in institutions of higher education. Teachers under observation also benefit. They are acknowledged as professionals worth observing and this can be extremely motivating.

There are those that disagree. They say that observation sessions cannot make any difference because they are too short and much too informal. Some critics say that teachers under observation do not act as they normally do in class. They even go as far as to say that education authorities use these systems to save money of very necessary formal development programs for teachers.

The fact remains that observation sessions cost almost nothing and they are easy to manage. If they make even the tiniest difference then they are certainly worth it. From all reports, however, it seems that they are making much more than just a tiny difference.

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This post first appeared on Oriflame MA Independent Consultants, please read the originial post: here

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School Based Instructional Rounds Make A Difference To Teachers And Learners Alike


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