ELT Lesson Observation & Feedback Handbook

by Jeanette Barsdell
Jeanette Barsdell 2018

This very useful book is designed for anyone who has to conduct a lesson observation and give oral and written feedback afterwards. The author starts out by saying that she was in the position of being asked to do this shortly after having passed her Delta, and was terrified of sitting in judgement on a teacher whom she didn’t know and about whom there had been student complaints. An understanding DOS guided her through the process and now, years later, she has written this book to pass on the expertise she has gathered throughout her career as a teacher, trainer and leader of courses for senior staff on lesson observation and giving feedback.

The book provides practical and accessible information on every stage of a full and formal lesson observation which is to be followed by oral and written feedback. This represents the gold standard of lesson observation, but the author acknowledges that not every situation will require or allow for the same procedure, and readers can, therefore, pick and choose what is most relevant to their own context.

Chapter 1 begins by describing various types of lesson observation. Chapter 2 goes into how to set up a formal observation (with a handy checklist) and Chapters 3 and 4 are about lesson plans: decoding a lesson plan and giving feedback on one, respectively. Chapter 5 is about assessing teaching practice through observation, and Chapters 6 to 8 are about various types of feedback and
the best ways to give it. The final two chapters offer alternative ways to manage oral feedback and alternative ways to observe a lesson. Useful tip sections and checklists are an attractive feature of the book, and there is a large section of photocopiable resources at the end, with more checklists, sample lesson plans, observation summary documents and self-reflection sheets.

This will all be invaluable for anyone thrown in at the observation deep end, as the author was at the beginning of her career, as well as for seasoned observers. With the checklists and photocopiables, a lot of the preparation work has been done for you, and the advice throughout the book is wise, sensible and rooted in reality. (As this is quite a small-format book, the photocopiables may need to be enlarged, in order to make them a little more readable.)

I believe this is a must-have book
for anyone who has to conduct lesson observations now, or expects to have to do so in the future.

Vanessa Willis
Exeter, UK