Open Classrooms

Feedback is essential for learning and as teachers, in my experience, we generally get very little feedback in regards to our teaching practices. The last time I was formally observed in a lesson was on my last year of Practice teaching some 9 years ago. I have had prac teachers observe my teaching but not from a critical perspective and I think I could benefit from someone coming into my room and critiquing what I do.

While we acknowledge that our students need regular feedback on their work to help guide their learning we don’t back this up for ourselves as learners and it can occur that we may go years without any critical appraisal of our lessons and our teaching styles. We get anecdotal feedback through the way our classes respond to us and our impression of what we think they think but obviously this is fairly limited and it is hard to know exactly what the students think and feel about us as teachers and our lessons.

Our school is currently completing a school review and improvement process and our group is working on a number of tasks including an open classrooms project. The idea is to try and get teachers into each others classrooms to see what they do and learn from one another. As PE teachers we often get to see each other teach outdoors which is great but the dynamics and pedagogy of teaching a theory lesson is quite different to practical and I think there is a lot to be gained from going inside each others classrooms.

It will be interesting to see how the initiative goes as, while I think most agree with the idea in principle, it may be quite uncomfortable at first to have others watching and critiquing what we do. Also time is always a critical issue with teachers and whether we can make the time for this remains to be seen.

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