At your request, an ITLAL staff member can be available to visit your class for a wide range of purposes:
- Getting a professional perspective on a new strategy you are trying out
- Getting an outside perspective on the dynamic of the classroom
- Observing how students are responding to certain kinds of activities
- Providing you with a chance to get "practice" with the observation process, if this tool will be part of your professional evaluation. (Please note that, in this case, an ITLAL observation cannot be substituted for a formal observation by a faculty peer-the value of our observations is the feedback they allow you to receive outside the formal evaluation process)
A typical observation has three parts:
- A short meeting between instructor and consultant in advance of the observation, to ensure that the observer is aware of the instructor's goals for the class.
- The visit itself, in which the observer remains silent and takes notes on what is happening in the classroom.
- A post-class meeting, in which the instructor and observer debrief the class and pull from the experience anything that might be useful to the instructor. If desired, an instructor can request the observer to provide a document summarizing the outcomes of the observation--some instructors find this kind of document to be useful as part of a teaching portfolio.
Because peer observations are only truly useful as feedback and reflection on a current course, it is important to invite ITLAL staff to visit your class early in the semester (ideally before the mid-term point of the semester). We are unlikely to be able to accommodate requests to observe classes late in the semester (after the mid-term point).
Instructors are asked to arrange for classroom observations two weeks in advance of the class meeting to be observed. All observations are confidential unless you indicate otherwise.