Snapshot: Classroom observations are supposed to help teachers increase their effectiveness in the
classroom. But if you are working with an observation checklist that is too unsophisticated and superficial to capture the complex and dynamic nature of teaching and learning how can you engage teachers in a meaningful conversation about how their practices?
Nicole Saginor, EdD, developer of Diagnostic Classroom Observation, offers this webinar on a more authentic approach to classroom observations that goes beyond a checklist of “best practices” to take into account teacher content knowledge, classroom interactions and teacher use of technology. This webinar includes classroom video clips.
The Diagnostic Classroom Observation has its origins in a statewide initiative by Vermont in the late 1990s to improve math and science instruction, but DCO is also used for literacy. DCO has been used in several national research studies as the instrument for gathering data on classroom performance.
The hope in conducting teacher observations is that teachers will use what they have learned during the process to improve their practices. DCO encourages a collaborative inquiry about teacher practice between the administrator and educator using the DCO criteria as a non-threatening guide. Pre-conferences and post-conferences with the teacher are an important part of the DCO approach.
In the webinar, Nicole will discuss the 4 key aspects of a classroom observation:
- Planning/organization of the lesson–principal has pre-conference with teacher
- Implementation of the lesson-both teacher and student activity is observed.
- Content of the lesson–how important and abstract is the content? How is it connected to other concepts?
- Classroom culture–classroom routines, working relationships, issues of equity
- Beginning a productive dialogue with the teacher in the preconference
- Importance of looking for use of inquiry and metacognition in instruction
- Is teacher addressing student misconceptions?
- Is teacher’s content knowledge deep enough to create multiple pathways to learning?
- Avoiding dead ends in post-conference with teachers
- What to say and do in the post-conference to increase the likelihood that the teacher will work
on improving instruction