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Classroom Observation

The observation has three steps: a pre-observation conference, the observation, and a detailed written summary with a post-observation conversation upon request.

Step 1: Pre-observation conference

1. With the instructor, the outside observer clarifies the goals and purpose of this classroom observation. The instructor asks the observer to watch for a particular thing or two (for example, clear explanations or student engagement).

2. Together, the instructor and facilitator create a reasonable timeline, planning well in advance and being clear about the time and place of the observation. An observation typically involves one class period, but it could involve two or more.

3. The instructor provides materials appropriate to the observation, such as a course syllabus, reading materials, or assignments.

Step 2: Classroom observation

1. The observer arrives well in advance.

2. The instructor explains the process to students and introduces the observer.

3. The observer takes detailed observation notes and drafts a write-up.

Step 3: Written summary and follow-up conversation

1. The observer shares a draft of the summary, inviting comments and questions. By sharing the draft, the observer confirms factual information and can make corrections.

2. The instructor and observer agree on the final draft.

3. The instructor and observer arrange for a follow-up conversation, if desired.

4. A formal copy (letterhead, dated, signed) is sent to the instructor as well as any other designated recipients (e.g., head, dean).

How much time does it take?

Two-three hours for instructors. The observer should plan on an additional three-four hours for writing and revising the summary.

When does it occur?

Anytime, but the middle third of the semester is optimal.

How do instructors use the results?

To modify instruction, to confirm positive things instructors are doing and illuminate things that are not working, to include as part of a teaching portfolio.

To request an appointment, email Meg Skinner, ECTL Director: mjf@uwyo.edu

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