Sunday, December 9, 2012

Full Clinical Cycle: Post-Observation Conference

Overall, I think the post-observation conference for my full clinical cycle observation went well. The teacher I observed was very open to talking about her strengths and weaknesses and is eager to learn and improve her teaching practice. This positive, open attitude made the post-observation conference much easier to facilitate.

The conference took place in the teacher’s room during her prep period. In hindsight, it would have been better to meet after school so that the teacher would not have to rush to prepare for the next group of students coming in for class. I think the conversation would have been longer and more productive without this time constraint. We sat together at a table and the tone of the conversation was focused but friendly. I have a good collegial relationship with this teacher, so that relationship positively impacted our conference.

The main strategy I used to improve instruction was the use of questioning to allow the teacher to come to her own conclusions about her areas of improvement and strategies to get there. As I used our district evaluation form, she was very familiar with the examples of demonstrated teacher and students skills that the form asks the observer to look for. In each section of the form, I asked her how she demonstrated these skills or how she could enhance the lesson to demonstrate the skills that were not in the lesson. I clarified her statements with my observations and used my observations to prompt more in depth thought on the topics. For example, when discussing classroom management, I asked the teacher “How do you manage transitions in the class?” (I had observed her talking over the students to transition them from one activity to the next.) She stated that as these were AP students, they tended to get very into their group work discussions and she found it hard to transition them to the next activity as she thought she was interrupting their “flow”. She stated she felt that she never had enough time for the lessons. I discussed what I observed and we brainstormed some ways that she could keep to her agenda, some cues for the students when transitioning and how to how to incorporate some flexibility when the students were engaged and learning. Once piece that I could improve on in this area, would be to get more quotes from students on the topics that we were discussing. Additional quotes from students, especially these senior students, would have been great prompts for discussing teaching strategies and instructional areas for growth.

The primary supervisory behaviors I used were collaborative and non-directive. Although this teacher is fairly new, she is functioning at a high level of understanding and self-awareness of her teaching. I used the collaborative strategies for the areas of classroom management, instructional design and planning and used the non-directive strategies for the areas of curriculum content. The course I observed was Advanced Placement Language. In this curricular area, this teacher had much more expertise than myself, so this strategy worked best to assist the teacher in thinking about the lesson and the strengths and weakness that we both observed.