Emotional Skill: Teacher Observation Skill

Emotional Skill: Teacher Observation Skill

Observation is a very important skill needed among teachers.  Observation gives them the first-hand knowledge about the student – behavior, mind-set, attitude and interests.

The teacher observation skill is similar to the driver who is driving the vehicle in heavy traffic.  The teacher in the class should maintain a visual contact in all corners of the class.  They should notice the changes in the environment, gauge learning and switch directions based on the mood and atmosphere of their classroom.

Check categories for teacher observation:

  1.       Welcome tone
  2.       Discussions in the class
  3.       Change in facial expressions
  4.       Mood changers
  5.       Activators, listeners and moderators
  6.       Reflection and feedback

The ‘Welcome’ mode of students in a particular class indicate:

  •         Emotional state of the class
  •         Acceptance level for the lesson delivered
  •         Accommodation of teacher in the class
  •         Care and Concern towards the teacher

The discussions in the class indicates:

  •         Interest in the lesson
  •         Enthusiasm towards lesson
  •         Engagement in class activities

Notice the facial expressions which clearly gives away:

  •         Excitement when understood
  •         Frown on not understanding
  •         Thinking when doubtful
  •         Droopy when tired
  •         Defeated on failure
  •         Blank when ‘out of coverage area’.

Teachers also observe some students are mood changers of the entire class.  They are sometimes:

  •         Open
  •         Funny
  •         Critical
  •         Challenging
  •         Satirical

We cannot forget the three main categories that fall in every class:

  •         Activators: The first to answer, talk and initiate discussions.
  •         Listeners: The silent loners who listen to everything but do not involve until compelled.
  •         Moderators: The balancers who try not to offend others.

Reflections and Feedback are also core areas for teacher observation.  During ‘reflection’ some students highlight ‘out of norm’ imperatives while there are some students who try to list out and recall all aspects of the day’s learning.  Feedback on both ‘what they have learned’ and the teaching is provided within the class.  The teacher must be careful in observing these tell-tale signs to read the message clearly.

Careful observation of these factors show us that a teacher need to have an emotional balance to control and coordinate their students.  They are unpredictable – sometimes they are active otherwise closed.  To understand, categorise and mould them towards the process of learning becomes a challenge until the teacher is a good observer. 

Observation is not only important for understanding behaviour, attitude or gauge active learning in the class.  Observation also helps to identify and build up socio-emotional skills among student-teacher and between student-student.  Observation helps teacher to build this ability in the class.  Wrong words or actions can be corrected through observation. 

Open discussions in classroom helps a teacher to identify a bullied, harassed or an abused student.  In most of the cases, where school was involved in recognising such issues are purely because of the observation of a teacher.

The act of noticing or monitoring as defined for the word ‘observation’ is an essential quality to be developed among teachers.  Today, with the advent of technology, hoping that camera will do the needful is not a wise decision.  Teachers need to employ their time and energy in observing the students in their class as they are not only a ‘Country’s citizens’ but also ‘Global citizens’.

About the Author
I work as Academic Coordinator at Nalanda Educational Institutions, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Worked in implementing Technology supportive curriculum in our organisation. Trainer and Curriculum designer for technology based Curriculum.

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