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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