Observation gives you a fantastic opportunity to see the class at work. This is a great time for you to see how things run and get ideas for lesson planning and classroom management.
Things to look for;
- Classroom routines – how do the children enter/exit the classroom? what happens at breaktime/lunchtime? how do children ask to go to the bathroom? where do children put their finished work? what copies are used for each subject? are there class jobs? what are the class jobs?
- Classroom management – what strategies are in place? how does the class teacher get the childrens attention? what is the acceptable level of noise? what is the reward for positive behaviour? what is the consequence for negative behaviour?
- Children – spend some time observing any children with special needs – this will help you to differentiate appropriately for this child and also see how they react to what is happening in the classroom. Also observe different groupings in the classroom – listen in when children are talking (first thing in the morning, break time and lunch time – you don’t need to say anything – but listening and looking with help you to learn a huge amount about the children in front of you).
- Copies and displays – take a look at the children’s copies so you know how the work is usually laid out and the level to be expected. Also take a look at what is on display in the classroom – this will show you what the children have been learning about and give you another basis when planning lessons.
Don’t just sit there taking endless amounts of notes – talk to the children, help out when children are working independently (check this is ok with class teacher)/ within small groups. This helps to build a relationship with the children you’ll be working with.
After the observation
- Ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
- Ask the teacher what he/she wants you to cover in each subject area. If you are unsure about how best to approach a topic – then ask for tips/advice.