B. Honeycutt/BH updated 6/2008 CoAT Program The Graduate School North Carolina State University Certificate of Accomplishment in Teaching Program Classroom Observation Form CoAT Participant’s Name: Christin Phelps Course observed: ENG 331 Communication for Engineering and Technology Date of observation: July 22, 2008 Time of class: 8:00-9:30 am Observed by: Sarah Egan Warren, Asst Director Professional Writing Program Teaching characteristics – Comments 1. Planning and start of session Appropriateness of aims and outcomes (where it is possible to evaluate this). Communication of these to students. Continuity with other sessions and students’ prior knowledge made explicit. Coping with any unexpected occurrences, e.g. latecomers, missing equipment. Christin prepared for class by writing the agenda on the board. She started class by explaining the goals of the class. The students had been told in the class session before to come prepared with idea(s) for their next project. Many students were late or missing at 8:00. Christin made some comments about the missing students and held off starting the class until 8:05. Only 9 of the 22 students were present at 8:00. At 8:15 only 15 students were present. Despite the lack of a full class, Christin was able to continue and focus on the students present. As the late students entered the class, they all got to work immediately. 2. Presentation Structure. Relevance and organization of content. Attitude to subject matter. Clarity of presentation. Emphasis of key points. Pace of session (time management). Tone, volume, clarity of speech. Links made to other aspects of course (e.g. lectures, seminars or tutorials). Summary (end and/or interim). Christin is a confident and knowledgeable presenter and teacher. She had full command of the class at all times. The pace of the class session was appropriate and she covered all items on her agenda. A few students needed a little extra guidance on the group activity, but overall Christin was clear. The class session was well organized and included some lecture, individual work, group work, and writing workshop time. All activities were aimed at preparing for the next major assignment. Christin is enthusiastic about her subject matter and held the students’ attention throughout the entire class session. Form adapted with permission from: Educational Development Centre, Royal Holloway, 1 University of London, Certificate in Academic Practice in Teaching and Learning (CAPITAL) Programme. B. Honeycutt/BH updated 6/2008 CoAT Program 3. Student participation Question and answer technique. Exercises/activities. Class management (appropriate level of control and authority). Instructions to students. General class atmosphere. Level of participation between students (excessive? lacking?). Attention and interest. Attitude to students. Awareness of individual needs. Student- teacher rapport. Students were very responsive to Christin. Most students had done some initial preparation for the individual writing exercise. Those students who had not prepared ahead of time diligently worked to complete the writing assignment. Everyone successfully completed the individual exercise and participated in the group exercise. When Christin broke them up into groups, they immediately moved chairs together and began working. The groups were on topic and accomplished their goals in an appropriate amount of time. There was no noticeable complaining about group work or problems getting focused. Students used terminology from the previous lecture and readings to argue their points. Discussions were lively and animated. Overall, Christin has established an excellent classroom atmosphere. Students were engaged, took notes, asked questions, stayed focused on the task, and completed the necessary work. Despite the temptation of the internet, students used the time to work on ENG 331 projects and not on surfing the web or checking email. Christin demonstrated a professional attitude toward each student. She was positive, helpful, and challenging with the students. She answered their questions and offered suggestions. One of the most telling moments of the class came at the end. Christin announced that it was 9:30 and time for class to end. Some students did get up and leave right away, but many more stayed and continued working on their projects and asked more questions. 4. Methods and approaches Choice/variety of teaching/learning methods. Use and design of instructional materials (board, technology, handouts etc.) Use of appropriate reinforcement. Examples and analogies. References and links to research, other resources. Handling problems/disruptions. Christin established a nice rhythm for class—some speaking, individual work, group work, short break, and a writing workshop. Because this was a summer school class, the class session is 90 minutes long. Christin was able to keep the students’ attention throughout because of the varied methods she used. Her use of the white board, PowerPoint lecture notes from the previous class, notecards, and the computers in the lab was appropriate and helpful to the students. She was positive and encouraging to all students. There were no problems that she had to address. Form adapted with permission from: Educational Development Centre, Royal Holloway, 2 University of London, Certificate in Academic Practice in Teaching and Learning (CAPITAL) Programme. B. Honeycutt/BH updated 6/2008 CoAT Program 5. General Were the aims and outcomes achieved? Appropriateness of teaching/learning methods. Was effective communication achieved? Awareness of needs of learners and differences in approach. Christin achieved all her goals during the class. She was an effective communicator and was supportive of all students. 6. Aspects to improve Comment in terms of both teaching style and content (if possible). We discussed starting the class right at 8:00 even if the entire class is not present. Although the group exercise was successful, we discussed a few recommendations for improvement: • Explain the entire exercise BEFORE starting the group work. Although students had been told about the exercise during the previous class session, a reminder would help give context to the individual aspect of the exercise. • Give students a time limit at the beginning. • Assess how much longer is needed for the group work. Give a warning that it is time to “wrap up” • Offer a chance to process the exercise. Ask groups to (briefly) talk about the process Overall, Christin is doing a solid job teaching. Signed by observer___________________________________________ Date: ______________ Form adapted with permission from: Educational Development Centre, Royal Holloway, 3 University of London, Certificate in Academic Practice in Teaching and Learning (CAPITAL) Programme. B. Honeycutt/BH updated 6/2008 CoAT Program REFLECTION QUESTIONS for the CoAT PARTICIPANT Complete this section after your class has been observed and you have met with your observer. Attach your comments to this observation form. 1. What did you feel went well in this class session? At this stage in the course, I feel like I had established a very good report with the students. Varying the activities during the 90 minutes (something I started to do after the first week of class when I saw students getting a little anxious) really seems to work well in a summer class. Also, I think the students are very responsive to getting some time in class to work on their own. This is why I think a lot of the students were on-task during the activity – they knew that they would get some of their own work time at the end of class, so they were able to be engaged at first. I also really like the activity we did in class this session – it really helps students work through their ideas for their final projects. 2. What would you like to change about this class session if you had to teach it again? Not just this class session, but I am having difficulties with getting students to come to class on time. I think a large part of this is due to the fact that it’s an 8:00am summer class and, as several students have told me, the busses apparently aren’t on-time as much as they are during the semester. That being said, I’m hesitant to penalize students for being late because of issues that aren’t their fault or because it is such an early class. Instead, I think making sure that the start of class is important and students feel they must be there for it might help. 3. In the light of the observer’s comments, what aspects of your teaching approach will you look at changing in the future? How will you do this? Sarah’s comments were as follows: • Explain the entire exercise BEFORE starting the group work. Although students had been told about the exercise during the previous class session, a reminder would help give context to the individual aspect of the exercise. I see Sarah’s point here and I agree. I will explain exercises again at the start of class. I think this would also help the students who perhaps missed the last class and give them an opportunity to ask questions they didn’t think of the prior class period as well. • Give students a time limit at the beginning. I hadn’t thought about giving students a time limit on this exercise, and part of that might have been because we have 90 minutes for the class and so I thought we had enough time. However, in the fall I can see how this will be important. • Assess how much longer is needed for the group work. Give a warning that it is time to “wrap up” Form adapted with permission from: Educational Development Centre, Royal Holloway, 4 University of London, Certificate in Academic Practice in Teaching and Learning (CAPITAL) Programme. B. Honeycutt/BH updated 6/2008 CoAT Program I think asking students “does anyone need more time” about two minutes before an exercise is completed is a good idea, to re-assess the time I’ve given them. One of the things I noticed was that some students worked fast and others a bit slower, so if I pause and make sure that the time allotted is appropriate, that might help a lot. • Offer a chance to process the exercise. Ask groups to (briefly) talk about the process I hadn’t thought about this, because this was an exercise that I borrowed from the instructor I was a TA for and he hadn’t done this. However, I think this would be a very good idea, especially since it would give students time to discuss the “other side of the fence”, as what they’re trying to do in the exercise. 4. What have you found useful/not so useful about the observation process? I think Sarah’s observations are great – I especially appreciate the breakdown of time for every minute of the class that she also sent me. That really helped me take a step back and see what I was really doing every step of the way. So overall, everything’s useful! Form adapted with permission from: Educational Development Centre, Royal Holloway, 5 University of London, Certificate in Academic Practice in Teaching and Learning (CAPITAL) Programme.
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