Season 3 Episode 3: Behind Closed Doors

In this episode we talk about what observation and what goes in the classroom behind close doors. 

If the topic of observation is a relatively new one for you then take a look at the British council continuing professional development website:

In the podcast Lindsay referred to an article on onestopenglish which can be found here

The unplugged conference still has a website page which you can find here

If Dogme is new to you a good starting point might be D is for Dogme 

The Hawthorne Effect is described on wikipedia. 

Some of those camera sites we talked about can be found on:

Phillip Kerr is talking about this website while the site Shaun talks about for tagging video observation is here 

The End of pod activity 

As your commute is coming to an end, let’s look at how to do the self-observation we mentioned in the podcast.  If there is no one to observe you then self-observation provides a way of helping you reflect on your teaching practice.  

One way to self-observe is to record yourself, something made easy if you have a mobile phone.  You can use this to record either audio or video.  To record audio simply switch on a recorder at a section of the lesson you want to listen to. Video is a little trickier as you will need to be able to put your phone in a position to get a good view of what you wish to record.  We find standing it on a desk pointing towards the board is one way to record yourself. 

Both ways of recording will help make you aware of things you do in the classroom you do not usually see.  For example when Shaun first recorded himself, he realised how much he talked unnecessarily.

Once you have your clip, play it back and focus on one aspect.  If you’re focusing on teacher talk then consider aspects such as  how much you talk, is what you say useful for the students, do you give clear instructions.  If you videoed yourself then you consider things such as your position in the classroom, how you might come across to the students and which you spend most time talking to.