The observation session is intended to focus on the teacher's performance and students' response, as well as contextual factors that impact the teaching and learning process. Goldhammer (1969) stated that the primary purpose of the observation, "is to capture [the] realities of the lesson objectively enough and comprehensively enough to enable theConsulting teacher and Teacher to reconstruct the lesson as validly as possible afterwards, in order to analyze it."(p. 83). The consulting teacher should focus on the specific goals identified by the intern or intervention teacher as well as other information that would contribute to the overall assessment of the teacher's ability to address the performance terms. Information can be gathered in multiple ways, and it is up to the consulting teacher and the teacher to determine in the pre-observation conference, the type of data that would be most useful to assess the extent to which the teaching and learning goals were met for that particular observation. Whichever method is chosen, it must be stressed that the information must be as objective as possible.
Objectivity is imperative because the conference following the observation will focus on the data collected during the observation. Since one of the purposes is to help teachers improve their teaching, then the written report must be representative of the actual events that occurred. The more objective the observation, the more teachers are able to develop a clearer picture of their behaviors, the behaviors of their students, and hence a better description of what is actually occurring in their classrooms. When objective behaviors become the focus of change or improvement, the teacher and the students are more likely to benefit from the process.
Scripting is probably the most common method of data collection. The consulting teacher writes field notes which focus on the objectives of the day and other pertinent information. In addition, consulting teachers have multiple systematic observation tools to gather objective data on particular aspects of the teaching and learning process. Either method can provide useful information to the teacher.
Consulting Teacher's Role During the Observation
- Observe and record all information that is pertinent to the behaviors that were agreed upon during the planning conference (Acheson & Gall, 1980; Goldhammer, 1969).
- Do not make value judgmentsrather objectively document information relative to the behaviors previously discussed (Acheson & Gall, 1980; Goldhammer, 1969).
- Any personal comments or questions that arise for the consulting teacher during the lesson should be noted in a manner that separates them from the objective data (Goldhammer, 1969).
- The consulting teacher should not intervene in the teacher's lesson (exception - when a safety issue arises) (Goldhammer, 1969).