In this article Richard R. Day presents a detailed and organized rationale for the act of observing other teachers in a second/foreign language (SL/FL) teacher education context. Then he discusses the major approaches of teacher observation with the corresponding techniques and instruments.
Observing experienced SL/FL teacher will develop the student teachers’ action-system knowledge with the integration of theory and practice regarding two major issues:
1. Classroom Management
2. Teacher Expectations.
The nature of the teacher observation can be:
The conceptualization of the teacher education will lead to:
1. Terminological development for understanding and discussing the teaching process;
2. Awareness raising of the principles and decision making for effective teaching;
3. Distinguishing between effective and ineffective classrooms;
4. Identification of own teaching techniques and practices of the student teachers.
Day asserts that the major approaches of teacher observation are:
The qualitative approach of teacher observation involves rich descriptive data of the observation which should be handled in a focused way by an experienced and trained teacher. The quantitative observation could be done by filling up a checklist or an observation form. The instruments and techniques of the qualitative approach would be the following:
1. Written Ethnography
2. Audio and Video Recordings
3. A Limited and Selected Ethnography or Recording.
The instruments and techniques of the quantitative approach are:
1. Seating Chart Observation Records or SCOR (teacher-student talk/at-task/movement patterns)
2. Teacher Expectations
3. Classroom Management
All through the article Day stresses on the integration of the dichotomous approaches and their corresponding instruments and techniques to be used in an SL/FL teacher education programme.Nevertheless,in a Bangladeshi context of FL/SL teacher education programme there prevail some limitations in teacher observation. Written ethnography can be made possible but frequent video or audio recordings would require the teacher-to-be-observed’s openness and institutional back-up which is not always possible. Techniques and instruments of qualitative approach of teacher observation should be assembled soon in an SL/FL teacher training context of Bangladesh with careful supervision of the trainers and the training institution.