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Lesson Observation as an Effective Means of Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development. T.W. HONG 28 November 2008. Objectives. On our understanding of CPD, thinking about… The WHAT & WHY of LO How to make use of LO to enhance Ts’ professionalism How to take LO forward in school.

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lesson observation as an effective means of teachers continuing professional development
Lesson Observation as an Effective Means of Teachers’Continuing Professional Development


28 November 2008


On our understanding of CPD, thinking about…

  • The WHAT & WHY of LO
  • How to make use of LO to enhance Ts’ professionalism
  • How to take LO forward in school
minds on


Why lesson observation?What unique role does it serve in CPD?

common forms of cpd
Common Forms of CPD

I. Formal education courses qualifications (e.g. PUC, B Ed., M Ed.)

II. Professional Development (PD) activities:

  • Structured learning
    • Attend seminars, workshops, lectures, courses
    • Online learning
  • Other learning activities/action learning in school
    • LO
    • Collegial collaboration e.g. CLP, school-based curriculum
    • Debriefing from seminars/workshops
    • Mentoring
  • PD activities outside school
    • Cross-school exchanges, e.g. visits, sharing
    • Networking
    • Participation in action learning/research projects (TI, ESR)
    • Secondment to EDB




lesson observation as teachers cpd flexible mode
Lesson Observation as Teachers’ CPD: Flexible mode


  • A form of collaborative CPD (T/T , P/T, others: experts, visitors, parents)
  • A means of sharing instructional techniques and experiences between and among teachers
  • Within KLA subject, across subjects
  • Within school, across schools
  • Within local education system, across systems

(Engage in Critical Reflection)

benefits of lo
Benefits of LO
  • T Observers:
    • reflective dialogue
    • sense of shared responsibility ↑
    • trust and collegiality ↑
    • ↑ T professionalism
    • …..
  • Teacher Observees :
    • Engage in reflective dialogue
    • Improvement of classroom practices
    • Focused support from an ‘expert’ peer
    • …..
  • School:
    • T collaboration ↑
    • a professional learning community
    • focus on SL ↑
    • …..
  • (Adapted from “Teachers observing Teachers: A Professional Development Tool for Every School”, Education World, 2008)

Purpose of T’s CPD in Context of School Development

  • Increased emphasis on school-based CPD activities:
    • CPD to effect school improvement and student learning, NOT at the expense
    • CPD as an integral part of school development initiatives

(Interim Report on TCPD, ACTEQ, 2006)

  • Job-embedded PD

Challenging reform goals:

Learning to learn










Sch. evaluation



Teachers’ capacity building


How do we know the impact on learning ?

make teaching a public rather than a private act
Make teaching a public rather than a private act*
  • A closed classroom (a private act)
  • Opening up the classroom
  • Lesson observation culture (What is the meaning?)

* Stephanie Hirsh-deputy executive director of the National Staff Development Council

obstacles worries difficulties
Obstacles? Worries? Difficulties?


A matter of Age?



Fear of what?


  • Skepticism
  • Association with appraisal/inspection
  • Sense of insecurity, fear, intrusion
  • Dislike of being judged
  • Dislike to make judgement
  • Lack of expertise (not of the subject)
  • Extra work : Is it worthwhile?
  • …..

School management’s role?

how does each of the following impact on collegiality trust solutions
Subject expertiseor cross-subject?

Whole lesson or lesson segment?

With or without focus?

Link with collaborative lesson preparation?

With designated time slots for preparation?

Detailed form to capture “evidence”?

How frequent is LO conducted?

How does each of the following impact on collegiality/trust? Solutions?
observation by subject specialists
Observation by Subject Specialists



Confined perspective

Expose professionalism

More critical judgement

Different collegial relationship in subject panels

Strong expertise in school?

Development limited by the pool of subject experts in school


  • Understand difficulties in treatment of subject content/ required pedagogy
  • Specific/professional advice
  • Possible for transfer to own classroom
  • Possible to link with collaborative lesson preparation
  • Action learning/research-based lesson study
  • …..

Role of lesson observation outside school (cross-school, ESR, cross-border) ?


Trees or Forest?

Some Ideas About Classroom Walkthrough


Creating a whole-school picture of L/T

Ref. made to set targets

Encouraging reflective practices

Promoting professional dialogues

Providing school-level feedback

Helping to identify Ts’ strengths & devt. needs



Brief frequent visits

Focus on process not individuals

Routine informal observations

With clear ‘agreed’ foci of observation

Reflecting school-based priorities

Variety of participants


pre conditions for success 1

Pre-conditions for Success (1)

Willingness: Voluntary participation

Ts recognise: Reflective & collaborative learning for purpose of improving student learning

A critical mass of teachers

pre conditions for success 2 knowing the expectations
Ask yourself what you would focus on when observing a lesson

What would be the 3 most important features that you expect an effective lesson should have?

How to make effective use of questioning techniques to cultivate critical thinking?

Pre-conditions for Success (2)Knowing the expectations

Do you have clear expectations of a good lesson?

Is there consensus within the subject panel?

Is there consensus within the school?

a shared tool performance indicators on l t
A Shared ToolPerformance Indicators on L & T

Really understand underlying expectations of quality?

effectiveness defined by learning process outcomes

Focus on Student Learning

Effectiveness defined by learning process & outcomes

Attitude-Skills-Knowledge (content-specific),

generic skills,

positive values …

pre conditions for success 3 effective professional growth
Pre-conditions for Success (3)Effective professional growth
  • Observee/observer: share the expectations on quality of L/T; know the focus of the LO (student-learning/content)
  • Effective analysis and post-observation dialogue
  • Feedback and reflection
  • Follow-up action to improve planning and teaching for enhanced student learning

Recording Observations:How important is it?

How important are the details? Can you make reliable judgement?

Data form and trust

post observation feedback 1
Post-observation Feedback (1)
  • Aim: provoke reflection by teachers
  • Evaluation: identify strengths and areas for improvement of the lesson i.r.o. objectives, NOT the person
    • What was effective?
    • What was less effective?
    • What else might you have done?
    • How might we tackle it next time?
  • Follow-up:
    • What actions and support will be needed / available?

objective, positive, constructive

post observation feedback 2
Post-observation Feedback (2)
  • provide feedback as soon as possible
  • choose a cozy quiet environment
  • Let the observee evaluate his/her performance first
  • Listen attentively to the observee’s views
  • Have empathy for the observed
  • Throw questions to guide the observee through exploration of various possible ways to solve the problems identified
  • Discuss the problems identified tactfully
  • Use words like “may” or “could” when offering suggestions
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of learning and teaching rather than the competence of the observee
  • Include examples to support evaluation
  • Give constructive comments
feedback 3 to say it or not to take it or not
Feedback (3): To say it or not, to take it or not

Express criticism with respect,

With compliments,

In the course of a heart-to-heart talk

That is filled with empathy,

Marked by self-criticism,

As an expression of care,

Presented with humor;

Take criticism as an incentive to greater effort,

An expression of expectation and aspiration.

some suggestions for embedding lo
Some Suggestions for Embedding LO

Structural changes:

  • School leaders advocate and support this
  • Developmental observations NOT appraisal
  • Self-forming observation groups are normally found to work best (peer, mentor-mentee)
  • Cultural changes:
  • Build a community of commitment, trust and
  • collegiality in school
  • Start first with volunteers
  • Free choice of partners for reciprocal observation
  • Relationships around existing team teaching arrangements
if our vision is to embed lo cultivate lo for enhancing sl

How ready are teachers in your school?

How to make it happen, structurally/culturally?

If our vision is to embed LO/cultivate LO for enhancing SL–

Who to start with?

Who are the salesmen, mavens, connectors?

What enhances trust/acceptance?

How to engender a favourable context?

How to sustain the practice with impact?


Thank you

Flexible, no one-size-fit-all strategy