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Tool: Elements of powerful teaching observation

Purpose of this tool: The tool below is intended to serve as a guide during your classroom observations and informal conversations with beginning teachers.

How to use this tool: Beginning teachers can use this tool to observe their mentor teachers and other teachers in the school. Other teachers in your school could benefit from using this tool as they videotape and observe their own teaching or observe their colleagues. (See Mentor study groups).

Principle of effective teaching Evidence of principle being implemented in this classroom
  1. Students learn best within cohesive and caring learning communities.

  2. Students learn more when most of the available time is allocated to curriculum-related activities and the classroom management system emphasizes maintaining their engagement in those activities.

  3. All components of the curriculum are aligned to create a cohesive program for accomplishing instructional purposes and goals.

  4. Teachers can prepare students for learning by providing an initial structure to clarify intended outcomes and cue desired learning strategies.

  5. To facilitate meaningful learning and retention, content is explained clearly and developed with emphasis on its structure and connections.

  6. Questions are planned to engage students in sustained discourse structured around powerful ideas.

  7. Students need sufficient opportunities to practice and apply what they are learning and to receive improvement-oriented feedback.

  8. The teacher provides whatever assistance students need to enable them to engage in learning activities productively.

  9. The teacher models and instructs students in learning and self-regulation strategies.

  10. Students often benefit from working in pairs or small groups to construct understandings or help one another master skills.

  11. The teacher uses a variety of formal and informal assessment methods to monitor progress toward learning goals.

  12. The teacher establishes and follows through on appropriate expectations for learning outcomes.