Monday, August 6, 2018

How Instructional Rounds Consultation Improve The Quality Of Education

By Frances Bennett

Teachers play a vital role in shaping the future of the country by taking responsibility of educating young people to become responsible adults. Yet teachers are under tremendous pressure. They have to deal with a shortage of resources, big classes and many demands upon their time. In addition, teachers have to be involved with numerous non teaching activities and they simply have no time for personal development. With instructional rounds consultation teachers are least given the chance to learn from their colleagues.

This innovation is simple and it is very easy to implement at any school. It works like this. A small group of teachers sit in on the class of a respected colleague to see how he conducts his lessons. The purpose of the class room visit is to learn from the colleague, normally someone that is very well regarded as a teacher. No observer or teacher being observed is ever forced to participate in this system.

Before every observation session the observers meet in order to formulate specific objectives for the session. These objectives normally focus on the strong points of the teacher that will be observed. A teacher may, for example, be known for his ability to elicit class participation from his students and the observers will then focus on the ways in which he achieve this feat.

It is important for all role players to understand that these sessions are not evaluation exercises. The visiting teachers do not evaluate their colleague under observation. Instead, their purpose is simply to watch and to learn. Students are briefed on the purpose of the session too. In fact, visiting teachers do not even provide feedback after the session unless the teacher under observation requests it.

After the observation session the observing teachers meet yet again. The purpose of the meeting is to compare notes and to share the lessons that each member has learned. They also generate ideas on how to use those lessons to improve their own teaching techniques. During this meeting nobody is allowed to voice any criticism and the discussions are deemed to be confidential. No report is submitted.

Observation sessions have become very popular. More and more schools are implementing such systems and many schools even visit each other. Universities and colleges have also started to take note of the benefits that can be enjoyed. Most teachers that participate in observation sessions say that they learn a lot and that their own teaching has improved. Teachers being observed know that they are regarded as excellent in their job.

Critics dismiss this system as useless because the observation sessions are too short and they are, according to them, far too informal. They feel that the system should make provision for feedback. Critics also say that teachers under observation are prone to grand standing in order to impress their colleagues and in this way they do not portray the way in which they normally teach.

There can be no doubt that the educational system is under great pressure. Every effort at helping teachers to grow professionally should be applauded and supported. Observation sessions have many supporters that say that they, and therefore the entire system, benefit from it.

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