The Class Observation Paper

For this paper, I want you to think about doing a couple of things. First, try to accurately get across to your reader what it is that you witnessed during the observation. Try to include the pertinent elements:

Who: teacher; students (number, gender, ethnicity, age); aides
What: class activities/assignments; context of work within course
When: day, date, time of observation
Where: classroom environment
How: routines and mechanisms of the classroom (how the lesson functioned); effectiveness of chosen activities and assignments (how well the lesson functioned--from your perspective, the students' perspectives, etc.)
Why: objective(s) of the activities/assignments, whether explicit or inferred

Second, I want you to think about what effect this observation had on you as a prospective English teacher. What thing(s) did you notice that have made you think since doing the observation? How does that thing affect the way you think about the profession of teaching English? The "things" you might have noticed include (but are not limited to) a specific student, a teaching practice, an attitude displayed, a classroom management technique, specific behaviors displayed by students and/or teacher, the subject matter being taught, etc.

A couple of caveats for you, as you begin to write. First and foremost, you're probably writing about a teacher whom you have observed for only a very short period of time. Therefore, do not make sweeping assumptions about that teacher and his/her methods. A single 50-minute period is too brief a snapshot from which to make big generalizations. This is not to say that you cannot be critical in your assessment of what happened in the class you saw; just don't make the assumption that every class taught by that teacher is like the one you watched.

Second warning: Don't assume that the two things I'm asking you to address in the paper are implying a specific kind of structure. That is, I don't expect that the paper will have a "part one" that talks about the class and a "part two" that analyzes it (although this is a possible structure). Just write the paper so that it includes both what you observed and how it impacted you as a preservice teacher; the way you combine those elements is up to you.

Good luck with it. Come by and see me if you have questions or want me to read over a draft.