Where I went wrong with my lesson observations


ONVU Learning’s Matt Tiplin, a former MAT senior leader, Teacher and Ofsted inspector, critiques traditional lesson observations in education, highlighting their inefficiency in truly fostering teacher and student improvement.


He points out that these observations often add unnecessary stress to teachers, misaligning with the aim of enhancing teaching practices. From his experience, Matt identifies the main issue as the lack of alignment between the observation’s goals and the teacher’s development needs. He suggests that simplifying the objectives and fostering a collaborative approach to setting these goals can lead to more meaningful feedback and teacher development.


Additionally, Matt challenges the effectiveness of traditional observation structures and the assumptions made about learning during these sessions. He argues that snapshots provided by infrequent observations fail to capture the nuanced and dynamic nature of teaching, leading to potentially inaccurate judgments about a teacher’s effectiveness. Matt also notes the Hawthorne Effect’s impact, where the observer’s presence influences teacher and student behaviour, further questioning the reliability of traditional observation methods.


Advocating for a shift towards more frequent, focused observations, Matt believes in empowering teachers through constructive feedback, ultimately aiming for authentic teaching and learning experiences that drive real improvement.




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