What are the pros and cons of pupils being trained to observe lessons?

20th April 2007 at 01:00
What are the pros and cons of pupils being trained to observe lessons and then feeding back their comments to the teacher? Charlie, Devon

A This proposal worries me profoundly. It could give some pupils leverage over staff, and distort the relationship between the two.

Just one of the many potential cons would be the issue of confidentiality: could we really trust the pupil-observers to keep the contents of any reports they make secret from their peers?

Kevin, Cheltenham

A Surely a good teacher should be open enough to have a constant dialogue with pupils about what they understand, what they find difficult and what is enjoyable for them.

I cannot see the point of training an elite team of mini Ofsted inspectors to observe and feed back on lessons.

This is an admission that the rich day-to-day communication between teachers and pupils has broken down somewhere.

Anne, Tunbridge Wells

A Feedback on performance is traditionally "one-way traffic" - in the opposite direction to this proposal. In the primary sector, we are used to an "observation culture" and an additional perspective might not be a bad thing. But, I imagine the de-brief after a poor lesson might be uncomfortable - for both parties.

Terry, Worthing

A The idea does have some merits. It would empower the children involved.

They would rise to the challenge of the extra responsibility and teachers would need to think through their classroom strategies from the perspective of the children.

Of course, some staff would feel threatened by such an innovation.

Sheila, Brighton

A This proposal is simply unnecessary: every teacher knows that each class is full of observers, giving instant and spontaneous feedback on the lesson.

They are called kids.

Rod, Feltham

Coming up

* Two mums were fighting in our playground and the head had to split them up.

I was shocked. Do you have experience of badly behaved parents?

* I am 22 and vaguely know one of my Year 10 girls socially. She has given my MSN address to girls in class. They are delightful. They have sent me short stories and poems they have written and I have advised them on books they might enjoy. Am I doing anything unprofessional?

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