Observation Template

Course Observations for English 101 and 102

Questions for the Observation

The goal of Course observations should be to describe a class session and related class materials in order to give suggestions for improvement. You might keep the following questions in mind as you conduct the observation:

1. How did the instructor clarify the goals and purposes of class discussions and activities to students? Is there anything the instructor could do to better communicate why students are being asked to do particular activities and assignments?

2. How will the activities you observed help students become better academic writers? Are there ways that the instructor could make the class more focused on activities that will help students with writing in their other college classes?

3. How did the instructor engage students in discussion? Are there strategies that the instructor could better utilize to facilitate discussions?

4. How did the instructor keep students focused and engaged for the class session? Are there strategies that the instructor could use to keep students better focused?

Again, the focus on the observation should be less on offering an evaluation of someone’s teaching and instead making some constructive suggestions. For example, some common suggestions are

  • Repeat comments back or ask students to speak up so that the whole class can hear discussion
  • Increase or decrease the length of certain activities—or use a different mix of activities
  • Make better use of the chalkboard or classroom technology
  • Explain how individual class activities relate to larger class goals
  • Spend more time discussing rhetorical strategies in assigned texts
  • List assignment goals and evaluation criteria on course materials

You should also try to sit in the back of the room when you observe so you can let the instructor know if content is both audible and visible from far away and if students appear to be on task during class discussions and activities.

Pre-Observation Activities:

1. The observer and instructor should agree upon a date for the observation.

2. Instructors should send a copy of the course syllabus, assignment instruction sheets, and other materials to the observer.

3. Instructors should communicate to the observer (either in email or in a face-to-face meeting) their overall goals for the course and their top goals for the class period that the observer will be attending.

After the observation:

1. If possible, meet face-to-face with the instructor to review strengths and brainstorm suggestions for improvement.

2. Include your name, the instructor’s name, and the date and time of the observation in your report.

3. Email a copy of your observation to the instructor and to Linda Baldwin at llbald01@louisville.edu.

Instructors will have an opportunity to respond to your comments.

Download this template as a Microsoft Word file.