Professional Development: Visiting Other Teachers | Knowles Teacher Initiative. By Kaitie O’Bryan I visited two Knowles Teaching Fellows at a school that uses problem-based learning. Quick info: I visited a school using a strategy I wanted to implement with Linda Abrams (KSTF Program Officer, Teacher Development) and another 2012 Teaching Fellow. We met ahead of time by videoconferencing to determine the activities in which we would participate (e.g., coaching meetings, observing classes, leadership meetings, etc.). We were constantly debriefing during our time at the school.Who should consider this PD? At the beginning of this school year, I found myself with another new prep: Concepts of Advanced Algebra.
I had attended the Exeter math conference the summer of 2015 and was excited about the idea of implementing it in my classroom. However, when the school year started, I realized that learning wasn’t occurring like I had hoped. From seeing the students and classes in action, I saw how conversations and discussions were at the heart of many students’ classes. Encouraging Classroom Visits and Peer Observations. Heather Anderson remembers the year she decided to go to art with her second grade class as “magical.” As she worked on art projects alongside her students, she saw children who struggled academically “shining in these different ways,” and she learned art techniques that she brought back to the classroom. The experience also helped her students see their teacher in a whole new way. “Our relationship changed because they saw me as a whole person and as a learner, just like them.”
When teachers spend time in one another’s classrooms, the benefits can be tremendous, not just for teachers and students, but for the whole school. Colleagues who observe one another strengthen relationships and pick up new teaching strategies. When they see their students in other contexts, teachers gain insights about what those children need to thrive. And students also benefit from getting to know the adults in their school better. Provide Release Time or Coverage Make Morning Meeting Schoolwide. Teachers Observing Teachers: A Professional Development Tool for Every School. Typically evaluative by nature, teacher observation is usually linked to classroom performance. More and more schools, however, are using observation -- teachers observing teachers -- as a form of professional development that improves teaching practices and student performance.
In this article, Education World's Michele Israel talks with experts about the benefits of this emerging professional development strategy. Included: The benefits of learning by observing -- for the teacher, administrator, and school, plus five observation models. Being observed in the classroom can rattle any teacher's nerves. But, teacher observations that serve as vehicles for professional growth rather than performance evaluations have multiple benefits -- for teachers, administrators, and the school. [See sidebar.] More and more, administrators and teachers are viewing peer observation as a form of collaborative professional development. Cristi Alberino echoed those thoughts.