Observation Skills for Effective Teaching

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-01-28
  • Publisher: Pearson
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The sixth edition ofObservation Skills for Effective Teachingfocuses on observing others and incorporating the right tools, knowledge, and skills into your own practice - key principal means by which you can become an effective and professional teacher. Using this text, you will learn to observe in the following eight areas: learning climate, classroom management, lesson clarity, instructional variety, task orientation, student engagement, student success, and higher thought processes. These eight areas have been found by researchers to be related to desirable cognitive, social, and emotional outcomes in learners. This book will also teach you how to decide what to observe, how to effectively and efficiently observe in the classroom, and how to apply what you have learned through observation to grow as a reflective teacher. In addition, the book provides methodological concepts, observation instruments, and dialogues designed to help you see and practice research-based patterns of effective teaching. General Methods K-8 and Student Teaching

Author Biography

Gary Borich grew up on the south side of Chicago, where he attended Mendel High School and later taught in the public school system of Niles, Illinois. He received his doctoral degree from Indiana University, where he was director of evaluation at the Institute for Child Study. Dr. Borich is professor of Educational Psychology and a Cissy McDaniel Parker Endowed Fellow in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin and past member of the Board of Examiners of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Dr. Borich’s other books include Effective Teaching Methods, Seventh Edition; Educational Assessment for the Elementary and Middle School Classroom, Second Edition (with M. Tombari); Clearly Outstanding: Making Each Day Count in Your Classroom; Becoming a Teacher: An Inquiring Dialogue for the Beginning Teacher; Educational Psychology: A Contemporary Approach, Second Edition (with M. Tombari); Educational Testing and Measurement, Ninth Edition (with T. Kubiszyn); and The Appraisal of Teaching: Concepts and Process; and Teacher Behavior and Pupil Self Concept. Dr. Borich lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Kathy, and children, Brandy and Damon.

Table of Contents

1. Why Observe?

Goal 1: To Achieve Empathy 

Goal 2: To Establish Cooperative Relationships 

Goal 3: To Become Realistic

Goal 4: To Establish Direction

Goal 5: To Attain Confidence

Goal 6: To Express Enthusiasm

Goal 7: To Become Flexible

Goal 8: To Become Self-Reliant

A Beginning Thought

For More Information

Key Terms



2. Lenses for Observing

What Real Classrooms Are Like

            Rapid Pace of Classrooms 

            Immediacy of Classrooms 

            Interruptions in Classrooms 

            Social Dynamics of Classrooms 

Becoming Aware of Classroom Behavior: Lenses for Self-Improvement 

            To Become Aware of Your Own Behavior 

            To Discover Alternative Instructional Practices and New Solutions to Instructional Problems

            To Determine Your Personal Teaching Strengths 

            To Focus Your Reflections on Important Areas of Teacher Effectiveness 

Eight Lenses for Classroom Observation 

            Lens 1: Consider the Learning Climate 

            Lens 2: Focus on Classroom Management 

            Lens 3: Look for Lesson Clarity 

            Lens 4: Verify Variety 

            Lens 5: Observe Task Orientation 

            Lens 6: Examine Engagement 

            Lens 7: Measure Student Success 

            Lens 8: Look for Higher Thought Processes and Performance Outcomes 

Challenges to Observing in Classrooms 

Sources of Influence on Observations from Outside Ourselves 

            Student Ability and Achievement 

            Classroom Characteristics 

            Participatory and Cooperative Student Behavior 

            Experience and Education of the Teacher 

            School, Grade, and Subject Matter 

            Individual and Cultural Diversity 

Sources of Influence on Observations from Within Ourselves 

            Your Own Experiences in School 

            Recent Influences and Training 

            Who May Be Watching; Who May Find Out 

Choosing a Useful Lens: The Need to Structure Observations  

For More Information 

Key Terms 



3. Making Classroom Visits 

A Classroom Dialogue 

Reactions from Observing Ms. Koker’s Classroom 

Observing the Learning Climate 

Observing Classroom Management 

Observing Lesson Clarity 

Observing Instructional Variety 

Observing the Teacher’s Task Orientation 

Observing Students’ Engagement in the Learning Process 

Observing Student Success 

Observing Higher Thought Processes and Performance Out-comes 

Preparing to Observe in Real Classrooms 

            Activities Before the Observation 

            Activities During the Observation 

            Activities After the Observation 

For More Information 

Key Terms 



4. “Seeing” Beyond Personal Experiences and Expectations: Learning to Observe Systematically 

Why Observe Systematically? 

Methods for Observing and Recording 

            Method 1: Narrative Reports 

            Method 2: Rating Scales 

            Method 3: Classroom Coding Systems 

For More Information 

Key Terms 



5. Considering the Learning Climate 

Dimensions of Learning Climate 

            Teacher Concerns 

            A Teacher Concerns Instrument 

            Observing Teacher Concerns in the Classroom 

            Warmth and Control 

            Dimensions of Warmth and Control 

            Behavioral Signs of Warmth and Control 

            Social Environment 

            Dimensions of Social Environment 

            Observing the Social Environment of the Classroom  

Cultural Diversity and the Learning Climate 

For More Information 

Key Term 



6. Focusing on Classroom Management 

Dimensions of Classroom Management 

Practice Observing Classroom Management: A Dialogue 

Time to Reflect  

            Arranging the Classroom to Meet Instructional Goals 

            Observing the Classroom Arrangement 

            Preestablishing and Communicating Classroom Rules 

            Observing Classroom Rules 

            Developing and Communicating Instructional Routines 

            Observing Instructional Routines 

            Establishing a System of Incentives and Consequences 

            Observing Incentives and Consequences 

            Using Low-Profile Classroom Management 

            Observing Low-Profile Classroom Management 

Cultural Diversity and Classroom Management 

For More Information 

Key Terms 



7. Looking for Lesson Clarity 

Dimensions of Lesson Clarity 

            Informing Learners of Lesson Objectives 

            Observing Lesson Objectives 

            Providing Advance Organizers  

            Observing Advance Organizers 

            Checking for Lesson-Relevant Prior Knowledge and Reteaching, if Necessary

            Observing Lesson-Relevant Prior Knowledge and Reteaching 

            Teaching to Students’ Current Level of Understanding 

            Observing Level of Instruction 

            Giving Directives Clearly 

            Observing Clarity of Directives 

            Using Examples, Illustrations, and Demonstrations 

            Observing Use of Examples, Illustrations, and Demonstrations 

            Reviewing and Summarizing 

            Observing Review and Summary Techniques 

Cultural Diversity and Lesson Clarity 

Practice Observing Lesson Clarity: A Dialogue 

Time to Reflect 

For More Information 

Key Terms 



8. Verifying Instructional Variety 

Dimensions of Instructional Variety 

Practice Observing Instructional Variety: A Dialogue 

Time to Reflect 

            Using Attention-Gaining Devices 

            Observing Attention-Gaining Devices 

            Showing Enthusiasm and Animation 

            Observing Enthusiasm and Animation 

            Varying Instructional Activities and Media 

            Observing the Variation in Instructional Activities and Media 

            Varying Rewards and Reinforcement 

            Observing the Use of Rewards and Reinforcement 

            Varying Types of Questions and Probes 

            Observing Types of Questions and Probes 

            Using Student Ideas 

            Observing the Use of Student Ideas 

Cultural Diversity and Instructional Variety 

For More Information

Key Terms 



9. Observing Task Orientation 

Dimensions of Task Orientation 

Practice Observing Task Orientation: A Dialogue

Time to Reflect 

            Preparing Unit and Lesson Plans That Reflect the Curriculum

            Observing Whether Unit and Lesson Plans Reflect the Curriculum 

            Performing Administrative and Clerical Tasks Efficiently 

            Observing Administrative and Clerical Tasks 

            Preventing and Correcting Misbehavior 

            Observing the Prevention and Correction of Misbehavior 

            Selecting the Most Appropriate Instructional Strategy for the Objectives Taught 

            Observing the Most Appropriate Instructional Strategy for the Objectives Taught

            Establishing Cycles of Review, Feedback, and Testing 

            Observing Cycles of Review, Feedback, and Testing 

Cultural Diversity and Task Orientation 

For More Information 

Key Terms 



10. Examining Engagement in the Learning Process

Dimensions of Student Engagement in the Learning Process 

Practice Observing Student Engagement in the Learning Process: A Dialogue 

Time to Reflect 

            Eliciting the Desired Behavior 

            Observing Eliciting Activities 

            Providing Feedback and Correctives in a Noncritical Atmosphere

            Observing Feedback and Correctives

            Using Individual and Self-Regulated Learning Activities

            Observing Differentiated and Self-Regulated Learning Activities

            Using Meaningful Verbal Praise

            Observing Meaningful Verbal Praise 

            Monitoring and Checking

            Observing Monitoring and Checking 

Cultural Diversity and Student Engagement 

For More Information

Key Terms 



11. Measuring Student Success

Dimensions of Student Success

Practice Observing Student Success: A Dialogue

Time to Reflect 225

            Planning Unit and Lesson Content That Reflects Prior Learning

            Observing Unit and Lesson Content That Reflects Prior Learning

            Providing Mediated Feedback to Extend and Enhance Learning

            Observing Mediated Feedback to Extend and Enhance Learning

            Planning Units and Lessons at, or Slightly Above, Students’ Current Level of Understanding

            Observing Instruction at, or Slightly Above, the Learners’ Current Level of Understanding

            Making Transitions Between Lesson Content

            Observing Transitions Between Lesson Content

            Establishing Momentum That Engages Learners in the Learning Process

            Observing Momentum

Cultural Diversity and Student Success

For More Information

Key Terms



12. Looking for Higher Thought Processes and Performance Outcomes

Dimensions of Higher Thought Processes and Performance Outcomes

Practice Observing Higher Thought Processes and Performance Outcomes: A Dialogue 

Time to Think

            Using Collaborative and Group Activities

            Observing Collaborative and Group Activities

            Demonstrating Mental Models and Strategies for Learning

            Observing Mental Models and Strategies for Learning

            Arranging for Student Projects and Demonstrations

            Observing Student Projects and Demonstrations

            Engaging Students in Oral Performance

            Observing Students in Oral Performance

            Providing Opportunities for Students to Learn from Their Mistakes

            Observing Consequential Learning Activities

            Using Portfolios and Performance Assessments of Learning

            Observing Portfolios and Performance Assessments

Cultural Diversity and Performance Outcomes

For More Information

Key Terms



APPENDIX: How to Determine Percentage of Observer Agreement for a Counting Observation System






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