As a teacher who is 100% dedicated to his craft, I am open to praise as well as constructive criticism. While student teaching, I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful field supervisor who was willing to not only share his thoughts on what went well, but also offer his thoughts as to how I could maximize the benefits inherent in my lesson plans. Being receptive to both types of feedback will only help me improve as an educator. The following excerpts were taken from an observation report written by my field supervisor.
Strengths: Taken from Observation #1
I observed a lesson today where you successfully engaged your students in a set of learning activities intended to introduce them to using “discourse” in combination with consciously asking questions of characters from the play you are currently reading with this class, Othello. I noticed that your students...seemed to really enjoy your main teaching/learning activity, a “frozen tableau” as you labeled it, or “press conference” where students volunteered to role-play characters from the Acts II and III of Othello, and submit themselves to be interviewed by the class using questions they had written. I mentioned to you that this segment of the lesson showed significant promise because it was learning/activity which you shaped and led, and which resulted in many of your students learning about the play and how to read it by directly interacting with the text, their classmates, and their work. We also talked about how important it is when teaching high school English to engage students in teaching/learning activities that create opportunities for students to play with language and to speak, read, and write about focused topics in ways that use in-class time efficiently. This activity fits this description.
Area to Improve: Taken from Observation #2
My notes showed that the amount of teacher-talk today out-numbered the amount of student talk. What are some things that you can do to alter your lesson plan and its delivery that would more directly impact on this so that these kinds of classroom-talk are more balanced? We began to discuss possible strategies that might address this when we spoke about rephrasing questions you ask of students so that they allow students to give partial answers and to build-on your questioning technique so that it invites more students to share what they are thinking. We talked about doing this concurrently while also requiring other students who may need more help to make the kinds of analysis today’s lesson asked them to do by creating opportunities for more students to also participate in the “sharing-out” portions of your teaching so that it becomes less a dialogue between students who are more-ready to answer your questions and you. What do you think? How can you begin to change this dynamic?