Observational feedback should not be advice or criticism. Instead, observational feedback should be specific information, based on objective and observable evidence, about the impact of a teacher's efforts to reach a student-facing goal. Feedback can feel very personal, but using objective data makes feedback feel less about the person whose actions are being observed and more about the impact of those actions. When you record and share objective observation data and a non-judgmental description of what occurred in the classroom, the teacher can interpret how their actions impacted the desired student-facing outcome. This instructional leadership strategy provides an instructional coach with a variety of ways to focus a coaching observation on objective data. The resources here provide examples, models, and easy-to-follow tools and advice on how to prepare for, structure, and record a coaching observation.
Before observing the teacher, establish a collaborative dialogue about the goal of the observation using sentence stems such as these from Diane Sweeney's "Coaching Questions & Sentence Stems to Support Open-Ended Dialogue."
Set a purpose for the observation. Identify what evidence, or "look fors," you will be observing for during your classroom visit. These observable look fors should be a desired result of the teacher's actions.
Tip: Use the sentence stem, "Students will be..."
Record observations in a collaborative log such as this one from the Ohio Resident Educator Association. In your observation notes, focus on specific observable teacher and student behaviors, work output, and actions that can be objectively described.