A Guide to Classroom Observation by Clement Adelman

By Clement Adelman

For lots of pupil lecturers the school room is a wierd and probably uncontrollable atmosphere. This publication indicates how the interval of school room commentary, which for many scholars precedes instructing perform, performs a big half during this transition approach.

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It’s been said that as a sport, swimming exercises all the muscles in the body. Teaching is a kind of social equivalent of swimming—if you do it seriously it activates every fibre of perception and action in the person. ON FAILURE Note the posters painted walls. Collect documents, timetables, example of children’s work. 33 34 CLASSROOM OBSERVATION The Observation Resource Book Almost as important as observation per se is the requirement of keeping an open mind about what we see. Our ways of looking at classrooms should not be unnecessarily restricted by prior assumptions about what should be going on there, nor even…by the seemingly logical link between the abstract processes of teaching and learning.

T: Came where? Boys: From the sea. T: What came from the sea? B: Fish. T: All the…what? Boys: Animals. Living things. T: All living things as far as we know. And everything happened in…what? B: In stages. T: In stages yes. But everything happened, it happened in what? Boys: In the sea. Evolution. T: Yes, evolution originally happened in the sea. OK. So all life originated in what sort of environment, surroundings…? SECTION 1. ANALYSING THE PROFILES 43 B: Water. T: What sort of water? Boys: Salt, salty.

By documenting we don’t simply mean writing things down. We would include the collection of any material that might seem trivial within the context of the school, but which outside or back at college might create valuable evidence for discussion. One student we know brought into a discussion group thirty self-portraits by the members of his class. Children’s drawings, paintings and writings, lists of school rules, notes from parents, speeches given at speech day, lists of equipment, work sheets prepared by teachers, can all provide you with useful data.

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