Best Practice

Where I went wrong with my lesson observations

A former MAT senior leader and a former Ofsted inspector, Matt Tiplin explains why he believes that the traditional way lessons have usually been observed falls short for teachers and their pupils
Image: Adobe Stock

Understanding what went well and what didn’t in a lesson is mission critical to school improvement. It helps teachers develop their teaching which in turn improves children’s outcomes.

Lesson observations are meant to be the tool to enable this process – to help teachers improve their practice. But instead, observations too often add to the pressure many teachers already feel. Even experienced teachers’ nerves ratchet up when their turn under the microscope arrives.

As my own experience attests, carrying out a lesson observation can be stressful for senior leaders too. I carried out many when I was a senior leader. Over the years I have learnt that if we want to use lesson observations as a training opportunity then there is room for improvement. So, where do lesson observations go wrong?

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