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SAMPLES OF OBSERVATION REPORTS

SHARJAH 2008-2009
Written and compiled by Dr. Khaled Besbes
SAMPLE 1

Reviewer’s comments on the lesson:

• X’s lesson plan was explicable and clear. It included a detailed


and organized description of the objectives of the lesson and the strategies
devised to achieve them. However, punctuation needs to be checked and
the use of acronyms needs to be done properly [e.g. …students (to be cited
hereafter Ss.)]. Also, the word ‘rationale’ should normally come before
the word ‘procedure’.
• The instructor used two types of resources or instructional
materials: the available textbook and a handout. Relevant to the topic as
it was, the handout was supposed to support and reinforce the learning
achieved in the preceding activities. At this level, the instructor could
have varied her resources further by using more visual aids such as:
PowerPoint slides, prompts, authentic pictures with comments, etc.
• The instructor started the lesson with an activity where she tried to
elicit responses from students related to 'sleep, dreams, agreeing and
disagreeing’. This was a warm-up activity through which she managed to
get students ready to engage in the main listening and speaking tasks.
• The listening activity involved listening for gist and listening for
specific information. The instructor successfully managed to get her
students to answer questions about the main idea and questions about
specific details. However, the instructor should have replayed the
conversation more than once in listening for specific information and
should have asked students to read the rubrics before answering.
• Students’ participation in X’s class was altogether favorable. With
a relatively-limited number of students, most of them were able to
participate and get the chance to speak. The instructor appointed
individual students to answer her questions, but occasionally received
collective answers. This made it so that the same students almost always
shouted out the answers. The instructor could have made some of the
group questions into individual questions.
• The instructor was a facilitator throughout the lesson, but not
sufficiently a checker or a controller. This was mainly due to seat
arrangement. The seats were arranged in a way that would not allow the
teacher to move freely and promptly around to check students’ work.
• Transition between activities was most of the time done smoothly.
The instructor succeeded in marking the beginnings and closings of
activities. Yet, sticking to the textbook almost drove the classroom
atmosphere to a final fadeout. Students were motivated again when the
instructor asked some of their colleagues to perform role-play.

To recapitulate, students' participation was probably the strongest element in X's


lesson, with the successful use of the textbook ranking next. Developing
confidence in students is another valuable dimension worth highlighting. Need for
more variation of resources, better time management, better use of the blackboard,
more viable seat arrangement, and more creative strategies of motivation for
students are the elements most requiring attention. A more focused preparation of
The lesson plan would additionally help smooth things.

SAMPLE 2

Reviewer’s comments on the lesson:

• Y's lesson plan was apparently carefully prepared. The lesson


objectives were articulated clearly and persuasively (expecting students to
be able to use the past continuous, to talk and write about past events
using the past continuous tense, to fill in gaps in sentences using the
appropriate form of the past continuous or the present continuous, and to
write paragraphs describing oneself). The description of the activities to
be carried out was also formulated properly. However, attention should
be given to some spelling errors such as powerpoint (normally
'PowerPoint') and abbreviations such 'vs.' instead of 'vs', etc.
• The instructor used a variety of resources and instructional
materials, including: the textbook, a handout, a PowerPoint presentation,
and a number of OHP transparencies which were used to reinforce the
learning acquired through previous activities. The teaching resources
were in perfect tune with the lesson objectives.
• The instructor started the lesson by presenting the topic. From the
very beginning, he demonstrated an enthusiasm for teaching. He seemed
friendly and relaxed and his presentation style helped in adequately
addressing the lesson's introduction to all student levels of the class.
• Next, the instructor used a number of activities, including: a
PowerPoint presentation on the use of the past continuous and a number
of exercises where students used past time expressions to change present
continuous into past continuous, wrote down their answers on
transparencies, corrected mistakes, wrote about their past activities, and
discussed them in class. All the activities used were appropriate to the
purpose of the lesson.
• The instructor-student interaction was perhaps the most
remarkable element of strength in Y's lesson. There was clear evidence of
instructor-student rapport. The instructor asked individual questions
and made sure that all students participated. He elicited responses about
the use of the present continuous and the past continuous and
progressively led them to identify and distinguish them from the simple
form.
• During the various tasks assigned to the learners, the instructor
was multitalented. He was a facilitator, a controller, a checker, and a
guide who circulated from group to group asking probing questions and
answering students' queries. He was equally able to work with individual
students without losing sight of the entire class. He observed, listened,
and redirected questions and problems back to groups (A and B) rather
than simply providing answers.
• The instructor also rewarded correct answers, asked students to
read rubrics, created interest to what would come next, and encouraged
critical thinking which apparently yielded positive outcomes in terms of
learning.
• Transitions between tasks were made so smooth that students were
permanently engaged in the activities assigned to them. Time
management was also done quite properly.

Altogether, Y's lesson was remarkably successful. The teaching strategies he


adopted matched the lesson's objectives most perfectly. Classroom interaction, the
instructor's directions, his explanation, his introduction of skills in the appropriate
sequence, his monitoring of student tasks, as well as his adequate seat arrangement
and time management all constituted an evidence of success. A more effective use
of the blackboard, however, will additionally help to achieve better outcomes

SAMPLE 3

Reviewer’s comments on the lesson:

• Z’s lesson plan included a set of objectives (introducing the simple


present tense and the present continuous tense, familiarizing students
with the differences between them, introducing non-active verbs, and
defining subject pronouns, possessive adjectives as well as object
pronouns), a list of the instructional materials to be used, and a
description of the activities which were supposed to implement the
objectives described above. The instructor used the past tense to describe
the activities, but this was not an appropriate choice. In a lesson plan, we
describe activities to be done (potential activities) not already done.
Moreover, we do not say “possessive pronouns”; we say: “possessive
adjectives”.
• The instructor used the available textbook, a data show to present
the documents she prepared, and a pile of handouts. Apparently, she was
working on quantity rather than quality. The many word-format
documents which were presented on the screen did not have a true
functional utility in terms of instruction. A few PowerPoint slides would
have done the job much more effectively.
• The instructor began the lesson by reminding students of the use of
the adverbs of frequency. She then asked them to do an exercise from the
textbook. But as observers, we could not determine which objective the
instructor was trying to achieve since no anticipation was effected prior to
the practice in question.
• Later on, the instructor started using the data-show and asked her
students to answer a number of questions included in the projected
documents. Students’ response to this activity did not show a positive
interaction. The instructor’s audience were somehow confused by the
teacher’s hesitation and tentative attempts to find the document that
would achieve the specific objective she had in mind.
• The demarcation lines between the performed activities were not
specified. Most of the learners did not know when and where the tasks
assigned to them started and ended.
• Until the end of the lesson, we did not feel that the many handouts
distributed to the students had any instrumental value in terms of
instruction and learning.
• Most of the time, the instructor asked group questions and
accordingly waited for collective answers. Only occasionally did she ask
individual question where she successfully managed to get some of the
“shy” students to speak.
• The instructor-student interactions were not therefore truly
conductive to learning (when only brilliant students interact, the
remaining others will end up by grasping only an insignificant amount of
knowledge). Also, drilling, which is a behaviorist strategy, is no longer
seen as an efficient teaching method in similar subjects.
• Student-student interaction was at its minimal level since seat
arrangement was hardly favorable for that. Seating also prevented the
instructor from checking, controlling, and guiding students’ activities in a
proper way.

Overall, despite the instructor’s good command of the language and despite her
variation of resources and instructional materials, her lesson did not seem to
achieve the planned objectives. The teaching strategies and the objectives spoke
into different spaces. Need for an adequate lesson plan, an effective use of the
blackboard, smooth transition between activities, a flexible seat arrangement, an
effective role of the instructor, and a focused use of technology are the elements
mostly requiring attention.

SAMPLE 4

Reviewer’s comments on the lesson:

• W' s lesson plan showed a good mastery of the content. It involved


a clear and methodical statement of the lesson objectives (primary
objectives: expecting students to be able to write instruction paragraphs
and use correct language that is free from spelling and punctuating
mistakes; secondary objectives: expecting students to be able to use the
imperative mood taught in the previous lesson, to use When-Clauses
properly, and to use sequence words and phrases adequately). The lesson
plan also involved a detailed description of the activities that were devised
to implement the above-stated objectives. However, a number of
sentences in the lesson plan were ungrammatical and need to be
rewritten, such as: 'Teacher to briefly remind..' 'Students to work in
pairs.', 'Teacher to give an example…', etc.
• The resources and instructional materials used to implement the
lesson objectives (textbook exercises, handouts, and transparencies) were
relevant to the main topic discussed. The teaching methods also seemed
appropriate for the instructional materials used. However, the instructor
could have enriched learning more if she had creatively used other visual
aids such as pictures and simulations in her class.
• The class started with an activity where students were asked to
examine a diagram in the textbook then practice the appropriate
instructions that corresponded to each picture. The instructor circulated
from individual to individual supervising students' works and giving
advice when necessary.
• Next, the instructor used a transparency containing a number of
instructions and asked students to identify the verbs. She also wrote a
when-clause on the board and drew students' attention to the use of the
comma. Here, the instructor could have alerted the learners to
capitalization at the beginning of the sentence.
• The teacher relied almost entirely on the exercises provided by the
textbook. An example of the exercises was matching when-clauses with
sentences to produce instructions about how to use a tape recorder. But
although students were actively engaged in the activity, their motivation
could have been pushed further and their learning could have been made
more evident had the instructor used a virtual tape recorder to illustrate
the instructions.
• Judging from students' active participation in W's class, one can
say that there was evidence of a constructive instructor-student rapport.
The instructor was effective in facilitating, checking, and directing class
activities and discussions. She was equally sensitive to student difficulty
in understanding in some areas. The instructor's comments to students
provided sufficient information to successfully complete their tasks.

Overall, W' s enthusiasm for teaching, her providing of adequate feedback,


reflections, and encouragement on students' efforts and progress, her good
command of the language, as well as the active engagement of her students in the
lesson are the strong elements in her class. However, she needs to become more
aware of the pedagogical importance of varying instructional resources, devising
more creative strategies of teaching, and bringing real-life situations into the
classroom.
SAMPLE 5

Reviewer’s comments on the lesson:

• A's lesson plan was clear and persuasive. It involved a lucid and coherent
statement of the lesson objectives (primary objectives: expecting students
to be able to predict content of text, to skim for main idea, to scan for
specific information, and to become familiar with new vocabulary;
secondary objectives: expecting students to be able to answer questions
about personal experiences, make predictions, and pronounce correctly
after some feedback). The lesson plan also involved a thorough
description of the activities that were devised to implement the above-
sated objectives. However, punctuation needs some attention.

• The resources and instructional materials used were generally suitable for
the lesson objectives. The instructor used the textbook, two handouts, an
extra text by Neil Anderson, and a transparency on the different stages of
human growth. Here, it should be noted that the instructor could have
used the passage and the activities provided by the textbook as they were
closely related to the topic discussed.

• The instructor started the lesson by asking students to examine a number


of pictures in the textbook (p. 125) and to make inferences about them
using words like: 'adult', 'allow', 'make sense', 'consider', 'retire', 'vote',
'prohibit' and 'driving license' . She then asked them to use these words
in context so that they could grasp them better. This was a pre-reading
activity through which the instructor sought to familiarize students with
the vocabulary items they needed to work on the reading passage.
• The instructor adequately provided and discussed examples where the
above-listed words were used. She also emphasized the correct
pronunciation of the new words. The instructor's quality of voice and
audibility were appropriate for the discussion.

• In order to reinforce the learning from the pre-reading context further,


the instructor used a transparency displaying the different stages of
human growth. This was also a relevant material, but the instructor
should have switched off the lights, so that students could see the
projected text properly.

• Next, the instructor provided students with handouts that gave them the
opportunity to practice and further grasp the already-introduced words.

• On moving to the while-reading stage, the instructor told her students


that they would not work on the text included in their book. Instead, she
distributed another text written by the same author as the one included in
the student book.

• The instructor asked students to deal with each paragraph separately.


She asked them to identify the main idea of the paragraph in question
(reading for gist) then asked separate questions about details (reading for
specific information). The instructor managed to ask questions that were
appropriate to the purpose of the lesson. On some occasions, however,
she did not give students sufficient time for reflection.

• The instructor-student interaction was altogether conductive to learning.


The instructor asked individual questions and mostly received positive
responses. Discussions occurred since the related objectives and
guidelines were made clear. The instructor was a facilitator, a checker,
and a guide. She provided adequate feedback, reflections, and
encouragement on students efforts.

In total, A's lesson was successful, her command of the language was
excellent, the teaching strategies she adopted matched the lesson objectives,
transition between activities were smooth, and students' participation was
quite satisfactory. Need for better time management, more effective use of
the textbook, and more care for physical surroundings (lighting and
seating) seem to be the elements most requiring attention.

SAMPLE 6

Reviewer’s comments on the lesson:


• B's lesson plan was well-written and well-organized. It included a
list of objectives (expecting students to be able to: ask and respond to
questions related to a student presentation, discuss suitable jobs for a
partner, use new vocabulary, listen and respond to questions on the main
idea, and make complaints in written and spoken forms) and a
description of the activities that were devised to implement those
objectives. The planned activities involved: a PowerPoint presentation by
one of the students followed by comments and discussions, discussions
about choosing a job for a partner, listening for gist, listening for specific
information, and role-play.
• The resources used by the instructor included the textbook, a
PowerPoint presentation prepared by a student, and a handout as a
sample of complaints. Although the handout was not really used
purposefully, the instructional materials, as a whole, were suitable for the
lesson objectives.
• The instructor started the class by introducing the general context
of the lesson. Then, he asked a student to give a brief presentation (on
Malaysia). After the presentation, the instructor asked students to
address the presenter and ask him a number of questions related to his
presentation. This was a warm-up activity which aimed at getting
students ready to engage in the main listening and speaking activities.
• Next, the instructor asked students to say what they thought about
their colleagues' presentation. This was a successful strategy of
motivation since most students were able to formulate an evaluation of
the presented work.
• The instructor did not mark the closing of the activity. He simply
moved to the following task by asking students to open their books on p.
142 and to get ready to listen to a conversation about job complaints.
Before they started listening, the instructor had introduced a few words
such as 'a client', 'context', 'discuss', and 'come up with'. Although
students seemed to have grasped the meanings of the words, the
instructor unnecessarily code-switched to consolidate their
understanding.
• Next, the instructor distributed a complaint form to his students
and elicited responses about the frequent complaints in the professional
environment. He also successfully gave examples of real-life complaints.
• During the while-listening stage, the instructor used the textbook
questions related to 'listening for gist' and 'listening for specific
information'. The instructor made a remarkable effort to make all
students participate and provided individual attention when appropriate.
• Taken as a whole, the instructor-student interactions were
conductive to learning. The presentation, the discussions, and the role-
play activities kept students continually engaged in the lesson. The
instructor effectively observed, listened, and redirected questions to
students, and provided appropriate feedback when necessary. His
constant encouragement gradually developed confidence in the learners
and motivated them to speak.

Altogether, B's lesson was an evidence of a good instructor-student rapport and


was a proof of the teacher's enthusiasm for effective teaching. His success in
making students participate constructively in all the implemented activities was
clearly the strongest element in his class. However, further attention should be
given to the use of the blackboard, the smooth transition between activities, and the
proper arrangement of seats. Avoiding code-switching is also a point he should
take into consideration.