Instructional Leadership

Top 10 Benefits of Classroom Observations

Ben Gustafson
Ben Gustafson
January 18th, 2023·3 min read

Classroom Observations are an essential practice for instructional leaders.

Classroom Observations have many significant benefits. When done well, they help teachers strengthen their instructional practice, improve school culture, and help drive student achievement.

Here are the top ten benefits of effectively utilizing classroom observations in your school.

1. Directly Support and Coach Teachers

The most obvious benefit is the feedback teachers receive on their instructional practice, classroom environment, and other focus areas.

The feedback you give teachers should be timely, helpful, and clear. Feedback supports teacher success and empowers teachers to implement changes that improve student achievement.

It’s crucial to note walkthrough observations are not intended to be punitive, judgmental, or evaluative. They are opportunities for you, as an administrator or instructional coach, to directly coach and support your teachers.

Individual coaching helps build a culture focused on instructional improvement.

2. Improve Fidelity of Instructional Practices

Classroom observations are the most effective way to measure and improve the fidelity of instructional practices across your school.

Classroom observations are vital to the Observation -> Coaching -> Practice continuous improvement cycle. Implementing that cycle moves your school towards higher fidelity and increased effectiveness of instructional practices.

With common observation forms, you and your team can measure and monitor the implementation and effectiveness of key instructional practices. The observation data collected provides the insights needed to create targeted professional development and build targeted professional learning experiences for your teachers.

3. Increase Teacher Retention

While it may sound counterintuitive, consistent classroom observations are one of the best ways to support and encourage your teachers.

As many as 74% of high-performing teachers leave their positions as a result of feeling unsupported or unrecognized for their skills and effort.
- The Irreplaceables (A study by The New Teacher Project)

Oftentimes, teachers feel isolated and alone.

But when you consistently engage your teachers with meaningful feedback during observations, you coach and encourage them. Your input and questions show you recognize their skills and effort, care about them, and support them.

This recognition and support have a direct impact on teacher retention.

4. Strengthen School Culture

Coaching conversations build trust between teachers and administrators.

Conversations about best practices help focus professional dialogue around instruction and create a team atmosphere. Your feedback can help improve the learning environment and promote a positive, collaborative school culture.

Observing teachers can help develop a collaboration and continuous learning culture within your school.

5. Increase Awareness of Classroom Environment and Culture

During a classroom observation, you get to experience and better understand the learning environments and classroom cultures being cultivated across your school.

Observations allow you to see student-to-teacher, student-to-student, and student-to-environment interactions. Your understanding of those interactions helps you support classroom culture development.

6. A Greater Understanding of Curriculum Gaps and Inconsistencies

Observations play an essential role in validating new curriculum implementation or supporting ongoing curriculum pacing.

With your observation data, you can see

  • Is the curriculum being implemented with fidelity?
  • Is it being implemented consistently across the building?
  • How can we improve curriculum implementation?

Classroom observation helps you understand any gaps or inconsistencies around curriculum implementation.

7. Clarity of Professional Development Needs

One of the most valuable benefits of classroom observation is that it brings clarity to teachers' professional development needs.

Aggregating and analyzing observation data provides key insights for identifying areas of instructional strength and areas for instructional improvement across grade levels, subject areas, school buildings, and even entire districts.

With detailed observation reports, you can quickly identify professional development needs and create targeted professional development plans for groups of teachers. Using targeted professional development drastically improves its reception and impact.

8. Development of a Common Language Around Instruction

Developing a common language about instructional practice is essential to creating systems to improve instruction.

A shared language and understanding provide clarity and a foundation for productive communication.

9. Improved Quality of Instruction Conversations

Classroom observations are a catalyst for dialogue between teachers and administrators.

With each observation, you engage in and model conversations to improve teaching and learning. This encourages your teachers to follow your lead and have more and more of their own discussions about improving teaching and learning.

Being present in classrooms week after week will lead to deeper trust and comfort between you and the teachers you support. Your consistency will result in more open and honest conversations that help enhance your continuous improvement efforts.

10. Sharing of Best Practices

You can identify and document high-leverage instructional practices you see during an observation.

Then you can create the time and space needed for a teacher to model the instructional practice for other teachers.

In addition, you can establish a peer observation process as a form of collaborative professional development.

When teachers observe each other and go through a short reflection process, it strengthens the practice and understanding of both the teacher being observed and the teacher observing.

Unlock these benefits with Classroom Mosaic.

Stop spending so much time managing the classroom observation process you miss out on all the great benefits.

Classroom Mosaic makes capturing the full benefits of classroom observations easy and simple.

Join thousands of instructional leaders transforming their schools.

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