The importance of lesson or classroom observation in early grade reading (EGR) initiatives is increasingly gaining attention in low-resourced country contexts as governments, donors and other stakeholders recognize the importance of their use in improving teacher performance and student learning. However, classroom observations (CO) can serve many different purposes and each requires an appropriate instrument and careful attention to its administration and use.
The objective of this panel, presented at the 2019 annual conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) was to present the different purposes and uses of classroom observations in EGR programs; share survey results and CO experiences; and provide guidance to the many stakeholders who are involved in the development and use of CO instruments in EGR programs. Presenters discussed the following topics:
1. Different purposes and uses of classroom observation in EGR programs
2. Results from a CO survey highlighting challenges and best practices of instrument development and use in early grade reading initiatives
3. Specific experiences and lessons learned from EGR programs relating to instruments; adaptation and/or use for different purposes including coaching, monitoring, and evaluating impact
4. Recommendations for more effective and sustainable use of classroom observations in reading improvement initiatives.
Presentations(listed below) highlighted key questions and challenges EGR programs are confronting in their development and sustained use of classroom observation instruments. They provide illustrative examples of how some organizations have tried to address these challenges in their programs and recommendations for further practice.
1. Classroom Observation Toolkit for Early Grade Reading Improvement: An Overview - Ashley Hertz, Emily Kochetkova, Alison Pflepsen
2. Observation for Monitoring and Observation for Coaching: Same or Different? - Julia Frazier, FHI 360
3. The Stallings “Classroom Snapshot” Observation System: Measuring Change in Teachers’ Use of Classroom Time &
Materials for an Early Grade Reading Initiative in Ghana - Andre Epstein, Social Impact
4. Users, Functions & Findings: The evolution of Classroom Observation tools for literacy instruction in Uganda - Rachel Jordan, RTI International