Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning

CATL

Classroom observation

Woman teaching in front of class

Goal

The of the classroom observation is to gather evidence on the degree to which the instructor met the goals that they set for themselves. The goal is not for the observer to project their teaching style on the instructor, but rather to provide a mirror for the instructor that reflects the how well the instructor is the type of teacher they want to be. 

There are multiple kinds of forms below. Please select the one that is the most germane to the type of class and will best help the observer take the notes they need.

 

Narrative log

This is great for keeping a running narrative for the events of the class. Asks for an observation every couple of minutes.

Criterion-based checklist

This guide provides tick boxes that the observer can use to tally up the events in the lesson.

Open-ended form

This form asks a series of open-ended questions based on the pre-observation meeting.

Non-lecture-based class

This form is a generic observation form for a discussion-based class.

Lecture-based class

This form is appropriate for lecture-based lessons.

Online course evaluation

This form is appropriate for evaluating lessons in online courses (assumes asynchronous lesson). Use one of the other forms above for a synchronous session of an online course.