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Pathways to Classroom Observation


By Graham Powell, Maryl Chambers and Gillian Baxter.
This handbook explores a range of purposes and methods for classroom observation, with the emphasis throughout on supporting teacher development.

The book covers:

  • Observing to develop practice
  • Observing to improve practice
  • Observing to monitor performance
  • Effective feedback

Imagine a school where teachers are able to look at what is happening in their classrooms alongside their colleagues without the fear of being judged. A school that challenges its teachers to meet high standards without threatening or undermining them.

A school that places enquiry and curiosity at the heart of its work, and is led by those who know that simply telling people what to do, and occasionally checking up that they are doing it, is no way to ensure that real learning takes place. Teachers working in a culture of trust and openness become confident to experiment and take risks, safe in the knowledge that others will support them through challenging times. Their team leaders enable them to focus on their work with pupils, helping them to see what works well and what is needed for them to develop. Classroom observation, when used to develop teachers’ skills and learning, contributes powerfully to generating and sustaining such a culture and such a school.

Teachers come to see observation as an opportunity to be welcomed as the best way of ensuring that, as facilitators of learning, they stay learning themselves. Teachers learn as much by observing others at work as by being observed themselves. Newly qualified teachers learn by observing experienced colleagues who, in their turn, learn from the freshness of those new to the profession.

Mutual observation by experienced teachers can enhance and extend almost any aspect of professional practice. Collaborative teamwork across the school, with classroom observation as a vital practical element. Ensures that teachers stay motivated and pupils make progress. Instead of the classroom being a secret place of covert activity, it becomes an open arena for experiment. enquiry and achievement.

Additional information


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28 pages


TLO Limited




18 x 25.3 x 0.3 cm