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 abovesated 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 roleplay 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.

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