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Divisions > Academic Policy & Innovation > Programs > Leadership Learning Series
Purposeful Observation of Instruction to Increase Student Achievement

Maryland State Department of Education

Division for Leadership Development


Leadership Learning Series:

Purposeful Observation of Instruction

to Increase Student Achievement



Participants will:

  1. Analyze classroom instruction with a focus on student learning behaviors.
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of instruction based on evidence of student learning.
  3. Communicate through specific oral and written feedback the relationship between teaching behaviors and student learning.



The content of Purposeful Observation of Instruction is based on the “Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework,” Outcome #4:  Improve Instructional Practices Through the Purposeful Observation and Evaluation of Teachers.  Purposeful Observation of Instruction focuses on providing participants with skills, tools, and strategies for observing classroom instruction to determine if student learning has occurred and on providing teachers with purposeful feedback that will make their instruction more effective.




One of the purposes of the observation process is to give teachers constructive feedback that they can apply to improve their instructional practices and student achievement.  This feedback provides a valuable opportunity for individual professional development for the teacher, and as such, is some of the most powerful instructional work that the principal will do.  The focus of the observation process has shifted from feedback given to the teacher based solely on the actions of the teacher and a description of what the teacher did during the lesson to giving specific feedback to the teacher based on the evidence of student learning.  By effectively analyzing instruction and providing specific feedback to teachers, highlighting the cause and effect relationship between the teacher and students, the principal has a great impact on teaching and learning.




Participants will have opportunities to discuss the cause and effect relationship between teaching and learning as it impacts student achievement.  They will analyze classroom instruction by viewing a videotaped lesson and determining how instruction might change based on examining the cause and effect relationship between the teacher’s behaviors and the students’ learning behaviors.  They will practice writing specific feedback statements which include the causal relationship, evidence of student learning, guidance, and a learning goal for the teacher’s individualized professional growth.   The participants will discuss how the observation process also becomes a professional growth opportunity for the principal. 



Contact Information
Paul Dunford, Director of Cross-Divisional Initiatives
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  410-767-0793
Fax:  410-333-3867
Email:  pdunford@msde.state.md.us
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