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6 Tips for Ensuring an Effective Lesson Visit

1. Plan the observation together

In order to be truly developmental, observations should be ‘done with’, not ‘done to’. Select a pre-determined area of focus based on prior knowledge of an individual’s practice and/or the school’s focus for that term.

2. Make use of a common framework

A school system which has agreed prompts and judgement criteria, working protocols and clearly defined expected outcomes will be in a very strong position to influence teaching positively. Any framework used should take the new Ofsted focus into consideration and in particular consider how education flows from intention to implementation and finally to impact within a school.

Our own Lessons Learned Teaching and Learning Framework provides prompts for lesson visits that incorporate the criteria considered by Ofsted inspectors when making judgements (as per the Education Inspection Framework).

3. Be an active observer

Talk to pupils to gauge their opinion and don’t just rely on one source of evidence (i.e. the lesson itself). Ask to see books and lesson plans. Make notes on everything seen (remembering to record strengths as well as development points) and refine these after the observation.

4. Evaluate outcomes together

Schedule in a ‘Professional Learning Conversation’ after the observation. Share draft notes beforehand so that both parties have chance to reflect before the meeting.

5. Agree next steps

Lesson observation is pointless if it doesn’t provide the observed staff member with actionable development points. Consider CPD and what training might be beneficial.

6. Repeat

Reliability is linked to the number of lessons seen and one-time observations are open to error. A greater number of observations is required when a teacher is receiving developmental feedback rather than being simply “evaluated”. It’s important to get the culture right in your school so that observations or lesson visits are viewed as developmental as opposed to judgmental.

Lesson Observation Made Simple with Lessons Learned

Lesson visits, classroom observations… whatever you call them, you can record them in Lessons Learned. With an optional, comprehensive framework included (based on the latest Ofsted criteria), Lessons Learned can help to ensure that your observations drive real school improvement by following 3 easy steps:

Book your free online demo of Lessons Learned today via our website or by calling 0800 788 0555.

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