Best Practice

Why lesson observations need to be challenged

A growing body of evidence is throwing into doubt some of the long-established principles of lesson observations. Denise Inwood explains

Research into the effectiveness of lesson observations shows that the time is ripe for change. In recent decades, pupil assessment has been the subject of countless reforms, debates and protests. Meanwhile the lesson observation, one of the core tenets of assessing teachers, has gone relatively unchallenged.

But why is this the case? Perhaps one reason that lesson observations are a fixed entity in the changing world of education is that they are a window on the most important activity that takes place in a school – teaching.

Certainly, lesson observations have long been a key part of any school leadership team’s toolkit, and they are widely used to make pivotal decisions in a school involving teacher performance and succession planning.

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