In colleges and schools, many people carry out observations of colleagues, give them feedback and encourage professional dialogue about the learners and their learning experience. Observation, feedback and professional dialogue involve complex skills that require attention, practice and evaluation. It can be a learning opportunity for the observer, if there is some focused reflection after the fact.
Here are a few questions that an observer could use to reflect on the professional dialogue and follow up process. Alternatively, these questions could be harnessed in a CPD slot for observers, or a paired professional conversation.
- How did you prepare for the professional dialogue and how well did that process work for you and for the teacher? What tells you that?
- How did you structure the conversation? What are your thoughts on how effective the structure was in supporting the teacher to reflect and come up with their own ideas?
- Which questions worked well for engaging the teacher in reflection and action planning?
- What actions did you agree with the teacher as development for them and how far were those elicited as opposed to imposed?
- How can you follow up, to support the action plan implementation?
- How effectively did you follow up the action points after the observation?
- Which aspects of doing observations do you need to focus on, to develop your skills further?
- Who could help you develop your skills through dual observation, professional dialogue or mentoring?
- What feedback did the teacher give you about how you conducted the professional dialogue and follow up?
- What actions does that feedback suggest for you?