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Re:

Writing Program Instructors


Dr. Jonikka Charlton, Director of the First-Year Writing Program
29 March 2010
Teaching Observations

Philosophy | One of

the most important ways we learn is by reflecting on our experiences


thinking through the choices we make, learning from our mistakes as well as our successes, and
getting feedback from others who can sometimes see what we can't. Teaching observations are a
great tool for that kind of reflection, a way to build and sustain a culture of teaching. We should
never be afraid to share what we're doing in the classroom with other teachers, even if what we
do on a given day doesn't work as well as we'd like it to. If we're thinking about what we're doing
and we're not afraid to keep learning about our discipline, our students, and ourselves, then we're
doing work we can be proud of.
This teaching observation document was designed to facilitate this kind of reflection and
learning. When you look it over, you'll see sections for you to fill out before your observation as
well as sections for your observer to fill out based on what s/he sees during the class observation,
your responses to the student projects, and your answers to the reflective questions. The purpose
of the observation is not to give you more work, nor is it merely to evaluate your teaching
(though the observation will play a significant role in re-hiring decisions). I hope it allows you
time and space to consider what you're doing and why as well as how you might be able to learn
from one another.
Each of you will be observed this year, and if you have a mentor, s/he will do your
teaching observation. For all others, Dr. Colin Charlton, our Developmental Coordinator, or I
will visit your class. There are many adjuncts, lecturers, and TAs teaching in our program, so
getting around to everyone's class will take a while. If you're new (or an adjunct), we'll try to do
your observation in the fall. If we don't make it to you this fall, you can expect us to schedule
your observation early in the spring semester. Once the observation is over, you should meet with
the person who observed your class to talk, and s/he will provide you with a copy of the
complete observation document to keep for your files. I will also get a copy of the document and
copies of your supporting materials (see below for specifics), and I will place a copy of the
observation document in your file in the Main Office. I will use these materials, along with
things like regular attendance at our professional development meetings, responsibly meeting
your classes, etc. to help me make decisions about who to recommend for re-hiring to the Chair
and the Dean. If you're eligible for annual review/merit, you can include this document in your
folder as evidence of your teaching effectiveness, and if you're ever in need of a letter of
recommendation, this observation should provide your observer a wealth of information to use.
Logistics |

Having said that, I dont want you to feel you must "perform" on the day you're observed, so
please don't feel the need to coach your students or do something you don't regularly do when we

visit. We want to see that you are an engaged, reflective teacher who is working on his/her
teaching, and you can learn a lot about a teacher from seeing how s/he reacts to a bad class day.
You will not be punished for having one bad class; what happens that day is only part of what
this document focuses on.
I appreciate your work and look forward to seeing and/or reading about your classes and hearing
what you think about your students and your work. If you have any questions at any point in this
process, please don't hesitate to e-mail me (jcharlton@utpa.edu).
At least 24 hours before your observation, we'd like you to:
Fill out Sections A, B, & C below and e-mail this document to your observer.
Provide your observer with:
o a copy of any handouts/materials you may be distributing during class on the day
of your observation,
o a copy of your syllabus,
o copies of any major writing assignments you've given your students so far,
o a copy of two student projects with your written feedback on themone you
consider a strong paper and one which was challenging for you to comment
on/grade. Please black out your students' names, so their privacy is ensured. If
you feel more comfortable asking your students' permission before including their
work, please feel free to do so. You can assure them this is not an evaluation of
them, that you're using it to help you reflect on your teaching.
A. Teacher and Course Information (to be completed by teacher being observed)

Name of Teacher: Thanh Hoang


Name of Observer: Dr. Jonikka Charlton
Course:
ENG 1320/1301. 159
Time/Classroom: 9:10- 10:25, COAS 253
Date: Thursday, November 11, 2010
B. Reflection on Course Goals and Response Strategies (to be completed by teacher being observed)

1. What are your overall course goals? If you had to name the 2 most important, what
would they be?
The first important overall course goal I have for this class is students know how to
question what they have read. They can disagree with what the authors said and voice
their own opinions.
The second goal is students know how to conduct an original research through many
steps: find the topic, find articles or related material from reliable sources, write
Literature Review which is considered a conversation between authors of different
articles, choose appropriate method(s) for their study, elicit the messages from data they
get from interviews or surveys, find out the most effective way to convey those messages
to the audience/ readers, reflect themselves after doing each major writing.

2. What was driving your feedback on the 2 students' projects you turned in? For instance,
was there a particular SLO that sparked your feedback? Was there a particular concern
that had emerged in this class that you were addressing? Was there a concern you had
about this particular student you were trying to address? There are no right answers; I'm
just looking for some detailed reflection about how and why you're giving feedback to
your students.
To Magda G. Vilarreals Project 1, I feel satisfied with her writing because she is able to
interpret and analyze the readings. One special thing here is even though we already went
through Downs and Wardle, Haas and Flower,Magda usually reads those articles again
and understand them more or understand them in different angles. Now she said I cannot
put them down while I start reading them because I can see new things in those articles
even though I read them before. Also, I can see her passion in writing.
To Isauro Cantus Project 1, he has problems in organizing his writing, in language as
well. In terms of language, later on he gets helps from Writing Centre. In terms of
organization, we have time to work on this together, I ask him to make marginal notes of
main idea of each paragraph; after that basing on those marginal notes, we re-organize the
ideas in his writing.

C. Course Planning Information (to be completed by teacher being observed)

1. What do you hope your students learn on the day you're observed? How does that fit into
your larger class goals and program SLOs?
Students can point out their difficulties/ weaknesses in their research methodology. They
help each other to come up with the most useful solution. In addition, when students help
their friends, they also help themselves because they might have those difficulties but
they might not name them.
Because Project 2 is a primary research so students have leading authority on their own
research, when they share to others, they are the people who know the data the best, they
are able explain to others.
Doing a research, researchers try hard to minimize the weaknesses of the research study.
However, it does not mean that they can completely overcome them. Students should be
aware of this and gain experience for upcoming other research.
For Literature Part, students know not all information from internet is reliable. The most
reliable sources are from database of the library or .org or .edu. In order to have articles
that meet their demands, it takes students much more time to look for articles from those
introduced sources than from .net or even .com sources.

2. How will you use class time the day you're observed?
Time
Activities
9:10 9:20
Just Write
9:20- 9:40
Tape It

9:45- 9:15

9:15- 9:25

1/ What are the most interesting things in your collected data through
interviews and/or surveys?
2/ What are significant limitations and strengths of your research
design?
- Share- Discuss- Share:
1/ Why did you choose to conduct one kind of primary
research over another?
(e.g. why you conducted surveys rather than interviews or
vice versa)
2/ Who is your research population? Why did you select that
population?
3/ How many samples did you actually do surveys/ interviews?
4/ Where and When did you do surveys/ interviews?
5/ What worked and did not work well in your research
(strengths and weaknesses)?
6/ What changes you would make if you were to undertake
this project again?
7/ What are the most interesting things in your findings?
After this, students spend time with their group members to discuss
and decide what information they are going to use for their
Methodology part.
The whole class goes to the lab to draft their Methodology part.

3. What factors did you take into account as you were planning this class? (For example, do
your students seem to respond better to some kinds of activities than others?)
Students like to have free writing which allows them to write about anything they like. It
means the topic is free, sometimes they share their happiness or sorrows or interesting things
they did on last weekend. They do not write their names on the paper so it is easier for them
to express themselves.
Tape- It is another version of Speed Dating but I think Tape- It works better with my students
in both sharing and giving advice. In Speed Dating, one student has to mention again and
again their own answer to a new partner. But in Tape- It, they just need to write down once
and for every move, they read new things from their friends.
4. Are there specific aspects of your teaching that you would like feedback on?

I would like to get feedback on all of aspects of my teaching such as class management,
teaching content, time management, handling unexpected situations in class, interaction with
students and so on. Particularly, I would like to get feedback on activities I design for my
students. The teaching contents maybe the same; but to different activities, it gives different
effects.
I would appreciate feedback and also suggestions to improve my teaching in the future.
D) Observers Comments on Class Visit (to be completed by the observing teacher)

1. Purpose (What was the purpose of the class meeting? Was the purpose clear? How were
the class activities related to that purpose and to one another?)
2. Content of Class (What did students do and learn during this class meeting? How well
did the content of the class connect to disciplinary expectations and/or one or more of the
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for the program?)
3. Use of Class Time (How was class time structured? Did the teacher include
opportunities for active learning? Was enough time given to each activity? How were the
transitions from one activity to the next handled? How did the instructor cope with the
unexpected? Did the class activities offer evidence of creative planning?)
4. Interaction (How does the teacher facilitate student participation? How do the students
engage in active learning? Are there opportunities for the students to ask the teacher
questions? What kind of dynamic seems to govern the class? How does the teacher
establish and/or manage the dynamics of the class?)
E) Comments on Instructor Strengths (to be completed by observing teacher)
F) Comments on Syllabus and Instructor Feedback (to be completed by observing teacher)
G) Overall Suggestions for Professional Growth (to be completed by the observing teacher)