Appendix B: Suggested Best Practices for Classroom Visits
(Kachur et al., 2013)
- Sit or stand quietly in an unobtrusive place.
- Refrain from redirecting student work or behaviour (except in emergency situations).
- Have a non-evaluative state of mind. Stay focused on gathering data about student learning. that you see or elements of instruction that facilitate student learning.
- Use open, nonjudgmental body language.
- If asked a question by a student during your observation, reflect the question back to the student or instructor in order to encourage continued learning.
- Do not enter classrooms during the first or last five minutes of class.
- Most important, note only what you see—not what you don’t see.
- Take notes after the classroom visit and discuss briefly as soon as possible.
- Write down exact quotes instead of paraphrasing a teacher or student.
- Refrain from talking about the classes you visit until the debriefing.
- Turn off cell phones.
- Use agreed-upon common language for describing high-quality instruction.
- Observe the classroom from the perspective of the student as a learner.
- Do not teach or assist individuals or small groups with assigned seatwork.
- Exit the classroom quietly and expeditiously.
Suggested Best Practices for Follow-up After Classroom Visits
(Kachur et al., 2013)
- Listen to, welcome, and consider others’ ideas.
- Create opportunities for and value humour and fun.
- Support emotional collegiality.
- Honour the idea that we are all here to learn and grow together.
- Avoid evaluative language and critique.
- Make comments straightforward and clear.
- Ask genuine questions that you wonder about.
- Avoid leading or multiple-choice questions.
- Do not set up the answer.
- Be clear about your intent: clarifying questions are for the person asking them (who, what when, where), and open-ended probing questions are for the person answering them (why).
- Challenge ideas, not people.
- Encourage the exchange of ideas.
- Ask for clarification if you do not understand what you observed.
- Look for positive ideas you can take away.
- Speak consistently to the observed focus and look-fors (if applicable).
- Engage in deep questioning and conversation to inspire one another.
- Ask “what if” or “I wondered” reflective questions.
- Keep student learning the central focus of all comments.