Observation and Giving Feedback, why is it important?

At International House we take teacher observation and feedback very seriously. We believe that teachers need to be well-trained in order for them to provide the best possible education for their students. That's why we want to make sure that every member of our staff is observed and receives feedback on their teaching skills and methods.

Observation it is an important part of the teacher evaluation process and as such it is a valuable tool for securing high quality teaching. The purpose of observation is to develop teachers by providing them with feedback on their performance so that they may improve upon it in future (Higher Education Academy, 2014). This takes place within an atmosphere of mutual respect where trust can be built between you as the observer and the observed (Rose & Munro-Lofty, 2015).

If a teacher is being observed then they should receive meaningful, focused feedback.  Effective feedback is a great tool that helps the observed teacher reflect on their teaching and their teaching strategies so they can make adjustments to make better progress in their career and find strategies to help their students further. The teacher's observations normally includes an action plan with practical suggestions for improvement/improvement areas, timelines for improvement and resources available if needed. 

Within the Online Teacher Training Institute (IH OTTI) we specifically designed the IH Observation and Giving Feedback course to train Academic Managers, Teacher Trainers and Senior teachers to deliver  to the highest standard of observations and effective feedback. 

We've interviewed Tom Doyle who was the Teacher Training Coordinator at IH Sydney when he took the course and asked him some questions to see what he thought about the course. Here is what he answered:

Why did you decide to take the IH Observation and Giving Feedback course with International House’s OTTI?

I am currently working as a Teacher Trainer and interested in broadening my understanding of observation and feedback techniques and strategies. While I had some experience, I thought it may be useful to compare the structure and organisation of our observations with the standard set by IH World and perhaps make a number of improvements.

How did you find the IH Observation and Giving Feedback course content? 

I particularly enjoyed the video observations sessions in which we were able to observe a feedback session with a professional language teacher based on a small segment of their lesson. I found it fascinating to compare my notes and the points I would have raised with the ones discussed by the trainers, enabling me to take a new perspective on classroom flow and lesson aims, and how best to measure the overall success of the lesson.

What is the most valuable aspect of the IH Observation and Giving Feedback course?

As with the other online courses offered by IH World, there is an incredible community of diverse teachers and trainers that provide varied perspectives and ideas on the content of the course, both personalising the experience and broadening the discussion beyond the material presented.

Would you recommend taking the IH Observation and Giving Feedback course? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend the course for any teacher or trainer interested in learning about effective observation and feedback strategies, or perhaps those considering a career in teacher training who are yet to make the transition.

More comments from our Alumni

- Nick Skews, Hanoi

The course introduced me to the concept of “unobserved observations”, which we are now putting into practice as a valuable development opportunity encouraging more experienced teachers to hone their reflective abilities. - Antoinette, Switzerland

Attending the IH Observation and Giving Feedback course was a really valuable experience for me as I had the opportunity to discuss with Academic Managers around the globe and to challenge and question my own practices on observation and giving feedback. - Tanya, Greece, Tanya has completed the 5 necessary modules for the full diploma

The most valuable aspect for me was being challenged to reflect on my ideas, beliefs and practices. - Chris, Spain

It helps to analyse the existing system of observation and feedback. – Hanna, Belarus

It’s related to what any teacher transitioning to a supervisor post needs. – Cesar Augusto Pablo, Peru

The course has given me useful information and a more diverse perspective on observation and feedback, which have been invaluable in being able to contribute to assessing and improving the observation processes at my institution. - Adria, Vietnam

We hope that we have helped you understand the importance of teacher observation and feedback, and how you can use it to improve your teaching and help your organisation. If you too would like to take the IH Course on Observation and Giving Feedback click here for more info and to apply the next course starts on September 24th, and applications close on 20th September : https://ihworld.com/teach/ih-online-teacher-training/observation-and-giving-feedback/