Classroom Observations

Classroom observations occur to document behaviors and to help provide insight to teachers. Teachers are teaching and are typically focused on the overall learning of the entire class. It is not possible for a teacher to catch all of the details of classroom while teaching. An outside observer, often a School Psychologist, can sit in the classroom and observe a student or the entire class. These insights can be used to help provide better instruction, create behavioral or academic interventions, or to document behaviors.

When do classroom observations occur?

During a special education evaluation The classroom observation is a required component in a special education evaluation. It provides data and insight to the eligibility committee.

Before a Behavior Intervention Plan or Functional Behavioral Assessment Classroom observations are important before implementing a Functional Behavioral Assessment or a Behavior Intervention Plan. It helps to clarify the current behaviors, identify possible triggers of the behavior, and determine the frequency of the behaviors.

When a teacher is worried about a particular student Often a teacher will have a concern about a student and ask the School Psychologist to conduct an observation. After the observation the teacher and psychologist will meet to discuss and brainstorm strategies to assist in instruction.

7 Responses to “Classroom Observations”

  1. Jessica says:

    What are some of things one should be looking for when doing a classroom observation?

  2. When you conduct your classroom observations, what strategies do you employ to mantain objectivity? Do you use a checklist or some other instrument to measure behaviors? or is it typically just a recording of everything you see that goes on? Or does it depend on the situation? A concern I have typically with classroom observations is the subjectivity of it all. Thanks!

  3. Erin N. King says:

    Sometimes I do a recording of everything I see. Other times I do a structured observation, where I do a time sampling to record percentage of time on task compared to another randomly picked student. Other times, I will do a structured observation system checklist.

    Things I look for depend on the student. I will be looking to see when certain behaviors occur to try to determine possible causes of behavior. I look to see if there are suggestions I can give the teacher to better teach the student or ideas for helping behavior improve.

  4. Smilesback says:

    I wonder about parental involvement before school psych classroom observations. When do you contact the parents? Experienced teachers usually have met, called, and conferenced with parents with their behavioral concerns. Some parents react negatively to the idea of a school psych being involved…and ethically parents need to be informed on the purpose of the classroom observation.

  5. I think that direct observation is one of the most powerful forms of assessment for a teacher to use with young students. One of the my favourite times in the classroom is when student teachers are leading a lesson and I can just sit back and watch my students. It’s amazing the things I see happening that I’m sure go unnoticed when I’m the one leading the lesson!

  6. I really appreciate your post. It gave us ideas on how to conduct classrooms observation

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  7. I really saw how the teachers stop and take time to make sure that they look into the child eye while they talk, and they expect the child to do the same.

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