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Teacher observation


" The type of evaluation meant here is the type which the alert teacher uses daily in analysing the written and oral work of pupils. The teacher takes advantage of the close relationship between teaching and evaluation to seize every opportunity to secure evidence of pupils' growth and development.

  1. Informal observation requires no special planning and no special arrangements; to seize each instance of significant behaviour when it occurs.

  2. Observation catches behaviour in all its functional relationships e.g., to see not only the error but also the accompanying behaviour which may account for the error.

  3. Evidence for evaluation is obtained when it can be used. This is particularly true in the case of diagnosis of specific learning difficulties.

  4. Observation imposes no unusual restrictions and exposes children to no unusual tension

  5. Evaluation by observation enables teachers to gain evidence about many instructional outcomes to which testing is ill-adapted, e.g.:

    • gauging of pupil interest and attitude;
    • gaining an insight into the pupil's level and mode of thinking
    • noting evidence of understanding or lack or it
Although a great deal of valuable information may be gained through alert teacher observation, it is difficult to remember everything observed, so some written record should be kept. Such a record may well be kept in a small loose-leaf folder so that as many or as few pages as are needed may be inserted for any child.

A checklist of things to look for may be prepared.
These may cover such general items as:
  • interest,
  • attitude,
  • effort.
  • ability to generalise,
  • work habits etc.
and specific items such as:
  • items which indicate levels of performance in understanding a particular concept.
Such checklists would furnish some evidence as to causes of learning difficulties and could serve as a basis for the grouping of children with common needs. "

[Source: Planning for Pre-Service Primary Teachers   Prof Experience Unit, Fac of Education, QUT, Qld, 1998 (p17)]