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Parents observing lessons

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by cooplacherry, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. cooplacherry

    cooplacherry New commenter

    Does anyone have any experience of this in international schools? It is the first time I have come across something like this and I am not too sure about it. To explain, at my new school, groups of parents come in to observe classes of their choice, and then complete evaluation forms. It just stresses me out thinking about it.
  2. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    At all 3 international schools I worked (British Schools in Saudi, Cairo, Dubai) Parents were welcome to sit through all and every after school training session which we took.

    I realise that this is very different to curricular lessons, but we got used to it quite quickly and parents kept their noses out/never questioned what we did. I don't like the idea of evaluation sheets.

    We have had similar in Primary class lessons, but more low key with an ethos of 'show and tell' for parents to feel part of their child's learning rather than checking up on the teacher.

    Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing which is part and parcel of fee paying schools. A lot more accountability.
  3. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    This sounds a bit dodgy. There would be safeguarding issues if it happened in the UK.

    Do you get warned in advance or do they just drop in?
  4. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    Every October our parents are allowed to come into the class for one full morning. It is stressful and unnatural. After the morning is over the parents are asked to fill out a comment form.

    Hopefully we'll be moving on in June.
  5. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    Sounds very dodgey, what exactly are they evaluating? We have an open day when parents and visitors can walk around the school and drop in on lessons, but its a PR and recruitment exercise!
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hmm. I have to say that I have experienced "open days" of various kinds. The whole thing is artificial and contrived, but we have to keep the customer satisfied.
  7. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    We have similar open days at our school though no evaluation forms. Our school allows parents to stay on site all day if they please. There is a 'parent's cafe' that they use.
  8. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    It's perfectly fair as long as the teachers are allowed visit the parents' places of work and evaluate their competence (or otherwise) in accountancy, architecture, supermarket management, bus driving, olive farming, space exploration, brain surgery, etc. etc.
    Anon (2018) and Owen134866 like this.
  9. miss303

    miss303 New commenter

    Parents of prospective students, and sometimes parents of existing students, were welcome in my previous international school. Many parents were expats who had a company covering the cost of education and were spending a very large amount (especially when considering the local currency) to send their children to our school. Although I didn't really like it, I can 100% appreciate why they wanted to see what the fees actually provided.

    An evaluation form is a bit much but there again, it depends on what is being evaluated and how are the forms then used? Parents loved to feel listened too. A headteacher who acts on all the 'advice'...well that's a whole other story!!
  10. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    I have always said that anyone is welcome, at any time, and without notice, to sit in on my lessons. If a teacher is confident that they are delivering quality lessons then they shouldn't have anything to worry about.
  11. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    We never saw the comment forms or what was written on them. It didn't seem to affect anyone's career.
  12. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    You certainly do have a problem if the parent is not competent to judge what a good lesson is. Past school experiences and cultural values weigh very heavily on judgements made by anyone. My idea of competent / good may not be someone else's. Not enough writing, too much writing, not enough teacher instruction, too little teacher instruction, too much talking, not enough talking... And it's not just parents either!
    Anon (2018) likes this.
  13. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Now Mr Mainwaring, what a great idea!. When we had the odd occasion where parents tried to interfere with how we taught, I would say "The thing is, your husband is a pilot for emirates right? Now when I fly with them, I let the pilot get on with thee job in hand, I don't go up and say 'slow down a bit, fly over the Burj Khalifa".

    It would be nice though wouldn't it! great fun
  14. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    If you invite a parent into a UK classroom without the appropriate DBS clearance you will be in serious trouble. Unless it is school policy, I'd also expect parents to complain if you are overseas.
  15. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Like Mr Getling I have always been more than happy to perform in front of visitors but I recognised that some excellent colleagues did not share my confidence or my arrogance. Clovispoint correctly notes that appraisal is a professional function and evaluators should thoroughly understand what they evaluating. Most parents' focus is their own child, not the interests of the class or the school. Miss 303's implication that paying school fees entitles the 'customer' to call the shots is routinely trotted out by the kind of parent who also thinks s/he has a right to decide who teaches little Janet or little John. Good thinking, stopwatch: when I come up on the Euromillions I'm going to buy that plane and make him fly the full length of the Grand Canyon.
  16. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    But, this being the Overseas Forum, the OP is in a school that doesn't have to worry about all that DBS nonsense and paranoia.
    TonyGT likes this.
  17. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    Actually, as it turns out, most of the parents' focus was on their cell phones, which really takes the pressure off.
    Anon (2018) likes this.
  18. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    There's a balance to be struck here. If parents are somehow contributing to appraisal, performance management, or whatever, that's not at all likely to be helpful, to say the least. On the other hand, one might expect schools to be prepared to show what their product is, and the more confident teacher may well be happy to have visitors. If you are choosing an expensive product, you want to be able to examine it in some way - reviews and brochures and word of mouth all help, of course. As a bad parallel, would you buy a house without looking inside? Maybe a balanced offer would be to have open days with guided tours where some but not all lessons and teachers are on show?
  19. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    Oh, dear. Education is a "product" to be "sold"... This link applies to college but much the same is true of schools... https://www.washingtonpost.com/post...stop-treating-it-like-one/?platform=hootsuite
    Teaching is a profession, not a melon to be squeezed and fondled before it is "bought". Would it be appropriate or acceptable for a prospective patient to demand to sit in on an operation before he/she decided whether to "buy" the services of the surgeon?
    Personally, I don't mind parents visiting my class, but always with prior notice and with my agreement. I expect them to participate in the class -- including any prior preparation (homework!) -- and to join in class discussions. I don't think I've had more than three or four visits during the past 45 years...
    And as for having parents rate my teaching on the basis of a 45-minute visit... I don't think so...
  20. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I once had a board of governors like that but it didn't take the pressure off because they were making decisions without listening to the evidence. In the end I banned mobile phones in the board room. Shortly afterwards a phone rang in somebody's brief case. And of course it was mine.

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