Teaching observations are a vital part of a trainee teacher's programme of study. On the DET course, mentors will carry out four of the eight observations required for the course (two per year, the first each year being conducted jointly with a University or College tutor). On the PGDE, mentors will carry out all eight observations; three of these observations, will be conducted jointly with a University tutor.
Before the Observation
Agree with the trainee teacher the exact date, time and location of the observation. Agree a time and location when feedback from the observation will be provided. This should be as soon as is practically possible after the session.
During the Observation
Ensure that you have a copy of the Professional Standards and the Ofsted criteria used to help you make judgements about the trainee's teaching. (Both documents can be found on the right of this page).
The trainee teacher should provide you with their teaching file which should include the following:
- previous observation forms;
- scheme of work
- extended lesson plans;
- lesson rationales;
- any resources they may have used during the observation to facilitate learning
The extended lesson plan should include the following:
date; time; name and level of group; aims and learning objectives; structure of session including timings, evidence informed teaching and learning methods and resources to be used; evidence of planning for learning including assessment strategy; evidence of planning for inclusive learning and differentiation and evidence of English, maths and ICT development.
On the front sheet of the observation form there is a section entitled 'Action points identified in last observation'. When you come to carry out your observation, you should note these developmental points and look to see if the trainee is demonstrating them.
Guidance is also provided on what sort of questions to ask the trainees' students during the observation (see link to the right).
Completing the Observation Forms
On the right, you will find the observation report form which we would ask you to use to record your findings. In addition, there is some supporting information that has been given to your mentee, to show them what kinds of things they are expected to demonstrate. This includes guidance for you (see link to right of the end of the observation form) on what evidence informed teaching practice is. The observation form has been constructed to support a developmental observation approach rather than a judgemental one.
Please remember to indicate whether previous actions have been addressed. In turn, you should also indicate suitable developmental points on your observation form, as appropriate.
In addition, on the right hand side is an example of a completed observation form, to give you a sense of the level of detail and kinds of information which is helpful to record.
After the Observation
Invite the trainee teacher to reflect upon key incidents at different stages in the session for example, you might ask the following questions: How do you think the introductory/middle/end part of the session went? What do you think went particularly well? What do you think you could have improved or done differently?
Try to use open questions (who, what, when, where, how, why) and active listening (for example, So you’re saying...? What makes you say that...? How does that relate to...? What happened next...? I noticed that...? What’s that telling us...?) Do as much as you can at this point to get the student teacher to think carefully and talk about the impact of their teaching upon learners and learning. On the right hand side, you will find a document with a range of questions which may facilitate professional discussion.
Mentors should conclude the session by agreeing with the student no more than 2 or 3 clear and realistic targets for improving the impact on learning. Mentors should also ensure that trainees fully understand how they can meet these targets and how and when they will be reviewed.
Trainees will be expected to reflect upon their experiences of the observation and the subsequent professional conversation with you to produce a written critical evaluation of the session as part of the assessment requirements for the practical teaching modules.
Sending the Observation Forms
Once completed, you should email your observation form to your mentee. They will then add this to their e-portfolios. Please copy in the coures tutor when emailing observation reports.
If you would like further guidance on how to complete the observation process see Teaching Observations or contact the course tutor.
Thank you for completing this mentor training. It would be helpful for us to know which mentors have accessed this training for quality purposes. We would be grateful if you could therefore complete the form below, filling in your name, checking the box and then sending the form by clicking the blue Training Confirmation button.
Other useful documents & links
The Mentoring Compendium (National CETTs)