In Delta Module 2 you have to observe 10 hours/lessons and write anything from 800-2000 words for each observation. Though they might seem a lot to do, but you are going to learn a lot from them. This was the consensus in my course when we discussed the peer observations and what was their impact on our learning. If you are doing an intensive course, 6-8 weeks, it is good to write a couple before the course starts (as I heard). It is also good if you write some of them in week 1 when you are observing your peers’ Diagnostic Lessons. Don’t rely on writing them when observing your peers’ LSAs, because the norm is that no one is allowed into an LSA except for the assessor. Everything in this post is descriptive, and not prescriptive.
Defining your Focus
You need to link each observation with a focus. The focus should be related to your action points from your PDA. The focuses might be monitoring, reducing TTT, giving instruction, varying feedback, exploiting materials and learners’ output, dealing with learners’ errors, focusing on drilling and pronunciation, and the list goes on. So, you need to know your focus when you are observing the lesson, and later when you are writing the peer observation, you need to state it.
Using an Observation Task/Sheet
Your center is probably going to provide you with observation tasks sheets. They are helpful because their layout and the notes/questions on them are focused to target teaching areas that I’ve mentioned in Defining your Focus. Try to use them while observing because they will guide your and offer good tips for observing the lesson.
Asking the teacher for a copy of the lesson plan might come in handy too. Also, be ready to give feedback to the teacher, because probably they would be expecting it (for some it might be a part of their action plan in their PDA.)
Writing the Peer Observation
You need to include 4 parts in a peer observation: Introduction, Description of the Lesson, Analysis, and Reflection.
It shouldn’t be long. You can write your focus for this observation, and some information about the lesson like the lesson’s focus, lesson’s context, level of learners, and how many there are. Should be something like 40 words.
Description of the Lesson
Here, you write what happened during the lesson, i.e. running commentary. What the teacher did and how they did it. What the learners did, and their reaction/involvement/participation. How the lesson developed, and how stages unfolded. It could be about 300 words.
In this part you analyzed the techniques and the way the teacher acted throughout the lesson. For example, you’re commenting on the way the teacher managed the pair/group work, then you support your comments by quoting from ELT literature. For instance, Harmer notes the importance of pair and group work by stating: “Groupwork and pairwork have been popular in language teaching for many years and have many advantages.” But, you need to state the year and the page.
In this part you will express your thoughts about the the approach the teacher followed. Remember, you are not criticizing the teacher. You need to state whether you do things differently in your teaching practice, and whether observing the lesson will make you change the way you do things.
The Golden Tip
What turned out to be helpful the most was that when I observed a lesson, I wrote directly using my laptop. That way when the lesson was over I would end up writing 300-400 words and some notes that I will elaborate on when writing the complete observation. Believe me you need to save as much time as you could. However, you need to check with the teacher, because some might be irritated if someone is using their laptop at the back of the classroom. My kind, awesome, lovely, and amazing peers (now friends) always allowed me to use my laptop.