Step 2: Pre-observation meeting/discussion

The pre-observation discussion between the observer and colleague whose teaching is being observed is essential to the success of the whole process.

Try to meet beforehand, but if this is not possible then a telephone conversation or an e-mail dialogue may be sufficient.

An important function of this meeting is to establish trust, deal with any anxieties felt by any of the parties, and give reassurance.

The pre-observation discussion should cover the following:

  • the specific learning objectives for this session (e.g. knowledge and understanding, key (transferable) skills, cognitive skills and subject specific, including practical/professional skills)
  • the teaching approach to be adopted, anticipated student activities, approximate time plan for the session
  • the context of the teaching (room, timetable, the status and history of the student group, any particular constraints or opportunities)
  • how the observation is to be conducted (time of arrival and leaving, any focus to the observation, where you will sit, any specific ways in which data will be collected)
  • the time and place of the observation and feedback
  • the content and its place within the curriculum of the unit and the programme of study
  • any potential difficulties or areas of concern
  • the way in which the students will be informed and incorporated into the observation
  • any particular aspects that the tutor wishes to have observed
  • any particular concerns that either the observer or the observed might have about undertaking the observation