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Be cautious when observing teachers

Even the best-trained observers agree only half of the time, say Lee Elliot Major and Steve Higgins

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Few professionals are observed as frequently as teachers. Teachers are always watching each other – reciprocally, in pairs or in groups, often to research a particular aspect of practice. Increasingly, they also engage in self-observation and analysis using video and other techniques.

According to the OECD, four-fifths of teachers in England have been involved in observation and feedback for professional development. Nine in 10 have been observed for formal appraisal. The three-hour limit to classroom observations for state schools has been shelved and there is now no limit to how often or for ...

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