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Classroom Observation Paperback – 26 Sep 2013
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About the Author
Matt O’Leary is Principal Lecturer and Research Fellow in Post-Compulsory Education at the Centre for Research and Development in Lifelong Education, University of Wolverhampton, UK.
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The book, predominately, but not exclusively, aimed at the Further Education sector, contextualises robust research data by providing a detailed history of observation in Education, which provides a fascinating backdrop for the themes and arguments which are developed throughout. The historical context is extremely well referenced and carefully considers the frameworks which have led to today's system of performative assessment as prescribed by the present prevailing hegemony.
The book also contains illustrations and appendices which further support the ideologies presented - providing additional weight to the call for the need for institutional and organisational change. In addition, there are case studies which add the 'human' perspective to the discussion - helping the reader to appreciate the well rounded approach to lesson observation that underpins this invaluable work.
One of the over-arching themes of the book is the need to dispense with the 'numbered approach' to grading observation - a process which is described as a 'snap-shot' judgement due to the way in which such important decisions are made regarding teacher performance based on so little information or evidence.
Above all, however, for me the strongest element of the entire book is Dr. O'Leary's passion for driving improvement through change - a passion which pervades the entire work. It must be noted that since the publication of this first edition, the 'establishment' has expressed an intention to remove the 'numbered' grading system and discuss alternative ways to evaluate teacher performance. To that end, the information contained in this book can be firmly placed in history as a catalyst and driver for positive change.
In order to further facilitate the value of this excellent book, it would be good to see its formal inclusion as part of the recommended reading lists for those wishing to become Teacher Educators as well as for individuals who are currently training to be teachers themselves.