Observation Commentaries

The PGCE / Cert Ed course (based upon Greenwich University standards), whether the first or second year requires a minimum of 3 teaching observations, where your assessor comments on a range of teaching and planning skills.

You will be required to write a response to your assessor’s comments. This is arguably one of the more tedious tasks to be included in your Portfolio of Professional Practice 1 or 2 but they will be marked and contribute to your final grades.

These simple tips aim to make the writing of your responses focused, and an effective addition to your professional development – and with luck may remove some of the tedium.

In order to achieve high marks you will need to comment on each of the following topics. Your comments do not necessarily need to be lengthy, 2-3 focused and honest sentences will suffice, although if you can find examples within the lesson which directly relate, it is always good to discuss it in more detail.

1) When, where and with whom was the observation. These basic details will help the moderator tally the assessor comments and your commentary, as well as being a useful intro to the report.

2) Re-iterate the main points made by the assessor on areas such as class layout, specific activities, resources etc. It is usually best to discuss them as they are written e.g. Lesson Planning and related comments, then practical delivery. With each comment give a brief but honest response, if an area was out of your control – such as number in class / lighting / positioning of whiteboards etc, acknowledge it, agree if appropriate but don’t be afraid to state it is out of your control.

3) As a general rule it is easier to respond to positive comments first – don’t be modest! Accept the strengths, it sounds amost silly, but many of us are unable to recognise how good we are! A simple sentence such as “I was pleased with the assessor’s comment(s) on ……… and agree with each point made and I will ensure these qualities are carried forward to future lesson plans / lessons etc” Leaving comments about areas to be improved will make writing your conclusion easier.

4) Don’t be afraid to disagree! However, you need to ensure that your reason is rooted to something strong as you may risk sounding inflexible. Explain your reasons but if possible end with a positive spin on it – for example by suggesting ways you could prevent future misunderstandings of your practice / planning.

5) Identify any additional areas you felt were weak, you may have written about these in your evaluation, but they will build into strong action points when combined with the comments made by your assessor, and this is key to proving your continuing professional development.

6) Your conclusion should be positive and upbeat, and focused on showing how this observation will help you deliver quality lessons in the future.

These tips should ensure all the content of your observation have been covered, and you have the chance to be open and honest about the observation as a whole!

Submitted by elainemarie

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