Teacher Education

Why Is Observation Important? 3 Big Reasons

Why Is Observation Important? 3 Big Reasons

Student teachers often ask “Why is observation important?”

Well for starters it’s the only way for student teachers to truly know how they’re doing. But there’s so much more to it than that.

Observations are important because they’re the connecting point between supervisors and their pre-service teachers. This is the time for the student teacher to show off their skills, figure out how they’re doing, and get that valuable one-on-one time with a mentor. All of these benefits factor into the three biggest reasons why observation is important:

3 big reasons why observation is important for student teachers Click To Tweet

1. Formative Assessment

Especially for new teachers, it can be incredibly difficult to know how well they teach. Some might think they have teaching in the bag while others think they have a very long way to go for success. And both camps of students are often wrong in their own self-assessments.

Instead of letting pre-service teachers guess how they’re doing, observations are a chance to help them along the way. Once the end of their field experience rolls around, they can be ready for certification instead of walking into a final cumulative assessment unprepared.

2. Real Feedback

The whole point of evaluating student teachers along the way is to give them great feedback they can use. It’s just as important to tell them what they’re doing right as it is to let them know what they’re doing wrong. And that knowledge will empower them to make real improvements. This is one of the biggest reasons why observation is important.

If you’re curious how to give even more effective feedback, be sure to check out the Ultimate Guide to Feedback for Educators. There’s actual research on how students learn and the best ways to give pointers that stick. And speaking of long-lasting ideas…

Observations are the #1 way to remind pre-service teachers where they’re heading Click To Tweet

3. Concrete Goals

In the bustle of writing lesson plans, completing tasks, teaching, disciplining, and figuring out how to be a real teacher, it’s all too easy for student teachers to forget their grand vision. Why are they doing what they’re doing? Better yet, what are the main skills they need to learn? What’s vital for their certification and what isn’t?

Observations remind pre-service teachers where they’re heading. Your guidance will help your students prioritize their teaching skills and remember all the reasons why observation is important. So as you head into your first observation of any semester, encourage each student teacher to talk about their goals. With your help, they will remember these goals as their field experience unfolds.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how students can get the most from an observation, check out 3 Classroom Observation Tools for Teachers and Supervisors.