As Teacher-Researchers, we have a large toolbox that we can use to hone our research skills. Most of the research that we will do will be observation, in one way or another. That, coupled with interviewing and surveys, will provide the bulk of the information that we will synthesize as we try to improve our classroom practices. So, why is classroom observation so important? As a pre-service teacher, it seems like we spend countless hours observing teachers do their thing, while we try to get a glimpse of what makes a good teacher. But, I’ve heard, and I’m sure you have too, that you never really figure out how you teach until you’re on the job, doing it. One way that we can see why we should observe is to look at why teachers are observing. Is this a skill we’ll be using later? Are teachers jumping at the chance to be observed and observe others?
"Open Your Door: Why We Need to See Each Other Teach" gives a good answer to this question. I really loved this article, because it provided needed some much-needed motivation to get out and improve my observation skills now. By working on our researcher's tool kit now as students, we'll have a good base knowledge of skills when we do get out in the field and become teacher-researchers.
Jennifer gives 3 reasons to implement peer observations:
1) Seeing Each Other Succeed,
2) Seeing Each Other Fail,
3) The Intangibles,
“So much of what we gain from watching each other teach falls into this “intangible” category: attitudes, pacing, small calibrations that make things work a little better. And it happens especially when you observe people who teach the same students you teach.” – Jennifer Gonzalez, “Open Your Door: Why We Need to See Each Other Teach”
Bonus) A United Front.
Observation is important for so many reasons, but these serve as some reasons that may not be as apparent as the improvement of the curriculum or new teaching strategies. What are some other reasons that will motivate you to observe classrooms now or in the future?
~ Gonzalez, Jennifer. “Open Your Door: Why We Need to See Each Other Teach.” Cult of Pedagogy. Cult of Pedagogy, 13 Oct. 2013. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.