Coaching Observation

Coaching observations focus on using objective classroom data to identify the impact of a teacher's actions on student learning
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About This Strategy

Observational feedback should not be advice or criticism. Instead, observational feedback should be specific information, based on objective and observable evidence, about the impact of a teacher's efforts to reach a student-facing goal. Feedback can feel very personal, but using objective data makes feedback feel less about the person whose actions are being observed and more about the impact of those actions. When you record and share objective observation data and a non-judgmental description of what occurred in the classroom, the teacher can interpret how their actions impacted the desired student-facing outcome. This instructional leadership strategy provides an instructional coach with a variety of ways to focus a coaching observation on objective data. The resources here provide examples, models, and easy-to-follow tools and advice on how to prepare for, structure, and record a coaching observation.

Implementation Steps

15 minutes
  1. Before observing the teacher, establish a collaborative dialogue about the goal of the observation using sentence stems such as these from Diane Sweeney's "Coaching Questions & Sentence Stems to Support Open-Ended Dialogue."

  2. Set a purpose for the observation. Identify what evidence, or "look fors," you will be observing for during your classroom visit. These observable look fors should be a desired result of the teacher's actions.

    • Tip: Use the sentence stem, "Students will be..." 

  3. Record observations in a collaborative log such as this one from the Ohio Resident Educator Association. In your observation notes, focus on specific observable teacher and student behaviors, work output, and actions that can be objectively described. 

Tech Tools


  • Screencastify makes it easy to record your own video lesson leveraging resources you have organized in your web browser (slide deck, websites, Google Docs, etc.). Pointing, highlighting and even writing over content is possible while displaying your video and audio as well.
  • Screencastify can support this strategy by providing you with an easy way to record a lesson by using the webcam function. The video can be used later on to analyze teachers and students actions and summarize feedback. It can be very helpful if your are coaching someone remotely or if you cannot attend the particular moment of a lesson that a teacher has been working on.