In my work with schools, I increasingly see lesson observation used for accountability purposes in a way that leave teachers feeling as if the observer intent is to ‘catch them out’ as opposed to ‘catch them being good.’

Whilst sharing the focus of the lesson observation is routine, far less often do I see lesson observation being used as a mechanism through which to develop teaching.

If the observation focus is both shared and explored with teachers ahead of the lesson observations taking place, the whole tone and perception of observations can change. The use of endless tick boxes to judge lessons can lead to teaching by numbers. It fails to understand the craft of teaching.  It does not alone improve teaching.

If for example the focus was behaviour management or differentiation, then the relevant school policy could be discussed and reviewed.  The latest research could be explored.  Best practice within the school or in other schools could be identified and celebrated.  All would develop a shared understanding of what excellent behaviour management or excellent practice in differentiation looked like.  In short, all teachers would know with confidence what excellent practice looked like and what they needed to adjust in their practice to be considered excellent.  Colleagues could spend time in each other’s classroom, helping one another develop the best of practice in the focus area.    Then, when the lesson observations took place, the observer would be far more likely to catch the teacher being good.  Teachers would I believe, feel very different about lesson observations and teaching would actually improve.

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Mike GLINKEDIN MIKE PROFILE no shadowlavin is a professional, committed educationalist with extensive experience of school improvement within a wide range of contexts, including local authority, consortium and a range of schools -faith schools, schools challenged by social factors and a prestigious international school.

Mike transformed the three schools he led as a headteacher, ensuring that the focus remained on the learners and what they needed. He went on to be a transformational leader as a senior officer in a local authority and as the Assistant Director and then Managing Director of the largest educational consortium in Wales.

In addition, Mike has significant experience of preparing candidates for Headship and in supporting/challenging schools as a system leader/primary adviser.

Mike is now Managing Director of his own company, Mike Glavin Catalyst Limited. Though he claims to be partially retired, he seems as busy as ever in supporting others to make a positive difference for learners.

Few have secured the credibility and respect that he is afforded in the world of education. His integrity and honesty, combined with the judgement required to know when to listen and when to speak out, ensures that his communication is clear, appropriate and effective. Mike is a hard working professional with a proven track record of thriving in challenging situations, whilst ensuring that the focus is on learners.