Classroom Observation Etiquette

Welcome to the English Language Program!  We are excited to share what’s happening in our classes with you through a classroom observation.  Please keep the following guidelines in mind in order to make the observation a positive experience for you and the students and teacher whose class you are observing. 

Remember that:

  • you are a guest in the class. 
  • an observation is always something of a disruption for the teacher and students.
  • you are an observer and shouldn’t participate in or contribute to the class unless asked to do so by the teacher.  (Some teachers will want to include you in the lesson while others may prefer to pretend that you aren’t there.) 
  • your thoughts on the observation should remain confidential except for information that is included in an assignment submitted as part of the observation process.

 Out of Common Courtesy:

  • If possible, ask the teacher ahead of time where you should sit. 
  • Arrive on time or a little before class starts.
  • Don’t leave until the class has ended unless you have made other arrangements with the teacher in advance.
  • Consider following up with a thank-you.
  • If there is the opportunity to talk to the teacher before and afterward, keep in mind the purpose of your observation and your role as an observer.  Please do not offer criticisms or suggestions unless the teacher asks for this type of feedback.  Mentioning specific things you liked about the class or inquiring about why the teacher has set the class up in a certain way or why he/she approached a particular situation in a certain way may be appropriate, depending on the situation.  As you interact with the teacher, keep in mind what you would expect from an observer in your own classroom. 
  • If the observation is part of a class assignment, offer the instructor a copy of the completed work which mentions your observation of the class.  The instructor may not want a copy, but it is courteous to make the offer.