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  1. Pros of Teacher Observations:
    -Observations give a chance to watch performance in real time and match it to standards for effective practice.
    -An observer can often provide the teacher valuable insights and information that the teacher cannot get himself/herself. For example, an observer can note exactly what is happening in student conversations or groups while the teacher is helping others. While the teacher was explaining, what percent of the students were actually on task? What kind of wait time does the teacher give students? How much time was spent on teacher talk vs. student talk?
    -Observations give a teacher a mirror of his/her work that is impossible to see while doing it.
    -Many teachers underestimate their own skills, and a trained observer can help them better understand what they do well by calling attention to it.
    -Talking about teaching is not the same as the performance. Only an observation of the work in progress can give the truest view of the teacher’s strengths and areas for continued improvement.

    Cons of Teacher Observations:
    -Some teachers feel nervous, defensive, or vulnerable when another adult is watching them.
    -A teacher may feel the need to put on a show when an observer enters so the observed performance is less authentic and not typical of what students experience daily in this classroom.
    -A teacher may have a very different image of his/her performance than the one actually observed, and the script of a performance can be unsettling or discouraging.
    -Students may not react the same way with an observer in the classroom which can skew the observed behaviors.
    -Observers need training about how to observe, how to script/record/describe the teacher and student behaviors/dialogue so that the observation is as factual as possible. A poorly-trained observer can have a hard time keeping up with what is happening in the fast pace of a classroom lesson and may miss important aspects of the performance.
    -Teachers may feel that an observer who comes in a few times a year does not have the full context of the lesson, students, culture of the classroom or the content expertise to fully understand what he/she is observing.

    While observations have some of the “cons” noted above, many of these can be addressed with strong training of observers, discussion with teachers about the importance and benefits of observations, and time spent building trust with teachers so that observations produce less anxiety.

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