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Student Teaching Observation Process

Drexel University School of Education

The student teacher evaluation process is designed to support a student’s development through reflection and improvement. Student teachers are observed during at least four formal observations, during which time students are observed by their mentor teacher and site director and critiqued for their benefit. However, the following tips can help you develop a better understanding of what to expect and how to prepare for it.

Student Teacher Observation Process

Student teaching is a full-time program, requiring at least 13 weeks in a prek-12 classroom with a mentor teacher. A teacher candidate works five days each week in the classroom. During the first week, student teachers will undertake a number of observation assignments. Which students were asking questions? What kind of questions were being asked? How did the teacher respond? How do students move from class to class? What happens at lunch?

Student teachers will gradually assume more classroom responsibilities, until they’re essentially teaching the day independently. During that time, teacher mentors will continue to observe and assist as needed. It’s also around this time that official observation may take place.

Student teachers are required to make formal lesson plans for each lesson. These plans are reviewed frequently during the observation process, by both the site director and mentor teacher. During mid-quarter, lesson plans are reviewed again.

Then self-evaluation occurs during the midterm and final portion of the student teaching experience. Student teachers are required to complete a self-evaluation form, grading themselves in various domains, and identifying their strengths and weaknesses within those domains.

Additionally, teacher candidates attend a weekly seminar, held either on campus or online. This seminar allows for a guided discussion among student teachers and experienced educators and can serve to help students prepare for the observation process. They also use this time to build their professional learning portfolios.

Student teachers are also required to meet a number of educational requirements. That includes having earned a “B” or better in numerous pedagogy courses, like evaluation, diagnostic teaching, best practices, current research in instruction, constructive learning and reflective practice, portfolio development, curriculum and lesson planning, and teaching diverse students.

Student Teacher Observation Tips

Tip #1: Deal With Disruptive Students Nonverbally Or With Questions

Deal with disruptive students by giving them nonverbal signs of disapproval. If a student is talking during your lecture, stop and look in their direction. You might also continue teaching while walking towards them and stopping near their desk. Classroom management skills are a collection of several different interrelated strategies, each effective under different circumstances. You can also see how your mentor teacher manages the class and adopt their strategies.

Alternatively, you can try directing a question towards students who are distracted. When assignments aren’t graded individually, students often feel no incentive to try their best. Some teachers may be able to hold students after class for one minute if they don’t stay on task.

Tip #2: Be Accommodating For All Students

Students are unique individuals. They have a variety of different goals, cultural backgrounds, and levels of academic ability. They learn in different ways, and have different educational needs depending on their age. Student teachers need to learn to be flexible with their classroom management and lesson plan design, in order to accommodate the different needs of their students.

Tip #3: Use Technology For Interactive Lessons

Technology can do more than make grading assignments convenient. Talented educators can use technology to make curriculum more engaging for students of all ages. With access to tablets or computers, it’s not hard to integrate technology and develop interactive learning exercises for students.

Tip #4: Rehearse Your Lessons

Consider rehearsing your lessons as though they were a screenplay. What are students looking at? When are they seeing it? What are they hearing? When are they hearing it? Rehearsing your lesson allows you to review it in a more objective way and allows you to give a more accurate picture of your lesson plan to other educators for review.

Tip #5: Create Collaborative Work and Group Sessions

It’s important to respect personality differences between students. Not all of your students will be talkative and outgoing. Not all of them will thrive on group assignments. Additionally, when it comes to interpersonal interactions with students, it’s important to lead by example in how you treat others. Of course, few careers allow people to work totally independently. Collaborative work and group sessions can help build interpersonal development between students and teachers.

Student Teacher Observation Form Template Examples

For informal observations, consider the form here. And if you’re interested in learning more about becoming an educator, take a moment to request more information about Drexel’s education graduate programs and undergraduate programs.