Professional Development Observations

Professional Development Observations of Composition Classes Taught by Part-Time Lecturers and Graduate Teaching Assistants

Purpose

The primary goal of teaching observations in the Composition Program is to support all instructors in developing more effective teaching strategies. The observation process should be a constructive dialogue between the observer and the instructor being observed. This Composition Program values a variety of approaches to teaching writing and regards this process as a way for teachers to reflect on and articulate the teaching philosophies and strategies that shape their work.

The secondary goal of the observation process is to fulfill accreditation requirements about evaluations of non-tenure-line teaching faculty. Observation reports, along with student evaluations and course syllabi, will be kept on file in the Composition Program office for this purpose.

Observation Schedule

For GTAs, during the first year of teaching, there will be:

●      One informal observation in the fall semester by an Assistant Director of Composition

●      One formal observation in the spring semester by the Director of Composition, which will result in a written evaluation

After the first year of teaching, there will be:

●      One observation in the second year of teaching at UofL

●      One observation in the third year of teaching at UofL

●      After the third year, observations will occur at the request of the instructor or at the discretion of the Director of Composition

Note: PhD students going on the job market are encouraged to be observed by their dissertation directors.

For PTLs, there will be:

●      One observation in the first year of teaching at UofL by the Director of Composition in the Fall term

●      One observation in the second year teaching at UofL

●      One observation in the third year of teaching at UofL

●      After the third year, observations will take place at the request of the instructor or at the discretion of the Director of Composition

Additional Observations

The Director of Composition may conduct an additional teaching observation at the request of the instructor, or if the initial observer notes classroom behavior that is of concern, or if other information (student complaints, changes in student evaluations, problems with syllabi, etc.) warrants an additional visit. If the Director of Composition decides on an additional teaching observation, she or he will notify the instructor in writing and meet with the instructor before the observation to discuss any concerns.

Observation Process

Before the observation

●      The observer will initiate the observation and will work with the instructor to schedule an appropriate time to conduct the observation. Prior to the observation, the instructor may send the observer an email containing the lesson plans for the class that is to be observed (at the request of either the instructor or the observer).

During the observation

●      The observer will attend the class session agreed upon with the instructor and stay for the entire class session.

●      The observer will take notes on the class session using the Composition Instructor Observation Template (see below).

After the observation

●      The observer will be required to meet with the instructor after the class session to discuss the observations and ask any questions about the class. The goal of these meetings is a constructive dialogue about pedagogy.

●      The observer will complete an observation report using the Instructor Observation Template (below) and will send a copy of this report to the instructor within 3 weeks (21 days) of the actual observation--or by the end of the last day of the semester. The report must include the observer’s name, the instructor’s name, and the date and time of the observation as well as detailed information about the class session under observation.

●      The observer will email a copy of the form to the instructor and to Linda Baldwin at llbald01@louisville.edu.

●      The instructor has the option to write a response to accompany the report in the files; if instructors choose to write such a response, they must do so within 2 weeks of the date of the observation report. Once any response has been made available to the observer, the report will be turned in to the Composition Program office and reviewed by the Director.

Click here to download the Observation Template