Observations & Evaluations

Updated May 2016

Formal observations and evaluations

There will be one formal teaching observation by either the Director or Associate Director each semester. GTFs will be informed of their observer at the outset of the semester or year. Since the purpose of these observations is to assist GTFs in developing teaching practices, having them completed with time in the semester to implement the feedback is important; for spring semester classes, these observations must be completed by June 30; for fall semester classes, November 30.

At the end of each semester all GTFs are asked to administer the university-wide formal student evaluations and then write a brief report based on the students’ feedback.

Formal Teaching Observations

The system for formal teaching observations is as follows. (Note: During the semester there will be opportunities for GTFs to have informal one-on-one meetings with the Director orAssociate Director and class / English Plaza observations by the Director or Associate Director.)

i) There will be one formal teaching observation each semester. At the beginning of the relevant semester, an orientation meeting is held in which the system is fully explained, documents distributed, and questions answered.

ii) After input from participants, GTFs are informed who their observer will be. It is then up to each participant to plan when he/she would like the observation(s) to take place and contact an observer to negotiate a suitable date. Initially, this may be a vague plan (e.g. “sometime in week 8 or 9”). However, it is very important to plan ahead early in the semester, as time soon runs out, and a large number of observations have to be completed – thus limiting the availability of observers. In most cases there is room for flexibility – e.g., as a proposed date approaches, the teacher may request to change the time slot for a variety of reasons.

iii) The teacher submits a lesson plan/outline/materials in preparation for a pre-observation meeting.

iv) A planning meeting is held between the observer and the teacher during which the following topics are discussed:

1) the preliminary lesson plan

2) an agreed list of teaching and classroom management techniques to be observed (see full list below)

v) Based on the discussion above, the observer drafts an observation form to be used in the lesson and sends it to the teacher beforehand.

vi) An observation of the class is held, as agreed.

vii) Both the teacher and observer prepare reports in which they reflect on the lesson in light of the agreed observation areas. These are exchanged, usually within a week of the lesson. Neither party reads the report of the other before writing his/her own.

viii) The reports are discussed at a meeting between the teacher and the observer. Signed copies of both reports are kept on file by GTI management (therefore they are NOT to be included in a teacher’s portfolio of professional experience).


Do not leave your observations to the end of semester if you only intend to be doing “wrapping up” activities in class (e.g. 90 minutes of student presentations).

Do not schedule an observation when students are taking a test or exam or when students are giving presentations as these situations limit the observations of teaching technique and classroom presence.

It is expected that a GTF’s written reflections be about 500 words in length.

It is also a good idea to use the post-observation meetings to discuss the portfolio – e.g., what should go in it, how long it should be, how to present the material.

See Professional Development System 3.2.1 for details about document submission

Teacher Observation Focus Areas:

A. Being prepared

1. Did the teacher prepare resources beforehand? (Resources can include handouts, online resources, visual aids, realia, books, pens/markers etc.).

2. Was the teacher fully conversant with any technology/facilities used in class?

3. Has the teacher anticipated possible problems? Has the teacher considered solutions?

B. Teaching Subject Matter

1. Was the lesson appropriate for the course/syllabus?

2. Was the aim (or aims) of the lesson clear? Did lesson stages have clear sub-aims?

3. What skills were focused on in the lesson?

4. Did the teacher review previous work?

5. In introducing/teaching new subject matter, did the teacher place the lesson within a meaningful context (e.g., by linking to previous work/creating interest in the topic/getting students motivated)?

6. Did the teacher give clear/easily understood explanations/instructions about the subject matter and related activities?

7. Were different activities utilized/offered in the class?

8. Did the teacher give clear feedback to students, and were any corrections/comments appropriate for the task?

9. If homework was given, was it appropriate for the lesson/course (e.g., amount, purpose, content)? Was it clearly explained (e.g., purpose, deadlines, grading criteria)?

10. How effectively did the teacher use the blackboard/whiteboard during the lesson?

11. How effectively did the teacher use technology/facilities during the lesson?

C. Managing Pair/Group Work in General

1. Was group work organized and managed effectively?

2. Was the formation of students into pairs or groups effective (either in terms of teacher designation or student choice)?

3. Did students participate actively?

4. In what ways did the teacher attempt to monitor pair/group work (e.g., helping, checking, answering, motivating, clarifying, observing, assessing, collecting data, showing interest)?

5. Was the group work integrated effectively with whole class work?

D. Managing the Preparation of Reports and Presentations

1. Were the teacher’s instructions clear and comprehensible?

2. Did the teacher attend to the organization of roles for members of the group – e.g. the ‘reporting’ role, the ‘gathering data’ role, the ‘editing’ role, the ‘managing’ role?

3. Did the students participate in /contribute to the preparation (or merely respond to the teacher’s instructions)?

4. Did the teacher check that students understand their tasks?

E. Language


1. Was there genuine interactive use of English in the classroom?

2. Was there a high density of language use?

3. Did the teacher ensure that all students participated in using language?

Student language:

1. Did students speak English only, or was Japanese also used?

2. Did students use English with a number of their classmates?

3. What observations could be made about the nature of the students’ language (e.g., spontaneous, structured, on/off-task, (un)motivated)?

Teacher language:

1. What observations could be made about the teacher’s register?

2. What observations could be made about the nature of the teacher’s voice (e.g., speed, emphasis, clarity, loudness, phrasing, tone)?

3. What observations could be made about the teacher’s verbal interaction style (e.g., responding, correcting, encouraging, disciplining, answering)?

4. What observations could be made about the teacher’s non-verbal communication style (e.g., movement, stance, eye contact, body language)?

F. Timing/Pacing of Activities

1. Did the timing/pacing of activities suit the level and motivation of the students?

2. Did the timing/pacing of activities suit the aims of the lesson?

3. What observations could be made about the progression/flow from one activity to another?

4. Did the timing/pacing of activities allow for individual differences to be considered?

5. Overall, how was the timing/pacing of the lesson activities?

6. Did the teacher appear flexible in altering the timing/pacing of activities as needs arose?

G. Independent Learning

(What evidence is there that students are learning how to become more independent?)

1. How does the teacher raise awareness and promote learner autonomy in the class?

2. To what extent does the teacher allow students to be in control of their learning in the class?

3. How did the teacher incorporate independent learning into the class/throughout the course?

4. How does the teacher develop learner strategies?

5. How does the teacher incorporate self-evaluation in the class?

6. How does the teacher support students in their independent learning?

7. How does the teacher track individual students’ attempts at independent learning?

8. How do teachers give thought to how their students might incorporate university resources such as the library, online resources, and the English Plaza, in their studies?

H. Other

Formal Student Evaluations

At the end of each semester all teachers are asked to administer the university-wide formal student evaluations and to write a brief report on the students’ feedback. The results of this survey will form part of a teacher’s formal evaluative record. Further details about the process for administering these evaluations are provided towards the end of each semester to all TIU faculty members.