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Opening Classrooms and Improving Teaching: Lessons from School Inspections in England


by W. Norton Grubb 2000

Classroom observation is one mechanism for making teaching visible and enhancing instruction. In Great Britain, different methods of school inspection based on observations have been in place since 1839, and they provide information about how such instruments of school reform could work. This paper examines English school inspection prior to 1993 reforms, inspection since 1993, the observation procedures that a few individual schools have adopted, and those of further education colleges (like our community colleges) all quite different in their procedures and consequences. In particular, the balance of accountability (or control) and support for improvement varies depending on the details and culture of inspection. In the United States some experiments with inspection are now taking place, and several school reforms depend on the quality of teaching. In these cases the lessons from England can help in developing appropriate methods of observation.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 102 Number 4, 2000, p. 696-723
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10500, Date Accessed: 4/25/2017 8:18:09 AM

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About the Author
  • W. Grubb
    University of California, Berkeley
    E-mail Author
    W. Norton Grubb is the David Gardner Chair in Higher Education at the School of Education, the University of California, Berkeley. He is interested inter alia in the potential links between educational policy (including funding) and the quality of teaching. He is the author most recently of Honored But Invisible: An Inside Look at Teaching in Community Colleges (Routledge, 1999), about institutional effects on instruction within these self-styled "teaching institutions".
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