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The QCAA QKLG online professional development materials have been updated to align with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST).

Observations to guide decision making

Overview

Module 4 focuses on the importance of observation as a tool to:

  • know and understand individual children
  • plan meaningful experiences that support children's learning
  • document children's learning progress
  • make learning visible to children and their families.

Section Participants Time

Explore

Exploring observation

Participants will:

  • reflect on the process of observation and why it is important
  • consider skills required for effective observation
  • explore ways of documenting observations (including samples and templates).

Teachers

Early years educators

Directors/leaders

Support personnel

20 mins

Examine

Examining observation practices

Participants will:

  • engage in reflection using a case study of one teacher's observational practices
  • identify processes for interpreting and analysing observations to support children's learning.

Teachers

Early years educators

Directors/leaders

Support personnel

40 mins

Engage

Observation in practice

Participants will:

  • document, analyse and reflect critically on an observation
  • complete an action plan to further develop observation skills.

Teachers

Early years educators

Directors/leaders

40 mins

Extend

Engaging partners in observation

Participants will:

  • consider how to engage partners in observation, in particular the role of parents in observation.

Teachers

Early years educators

Directors/leaders

20 mins

National Quality Standard

Module 4 supports teachers to meet these National Quality Standards:

1.2
Educators and co-ordinators are focused, active and reflective in designing and delivering the program for each child.
1.2.1
Each child's learning and development is assessed as part of an ongoing cycle of planning, documenting and evaluating children's learning.
1.2.3
Critical reflection and evaluation of children's learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, is used as a primary source of information for planning and to improve the effectiveness of the program and teaching strategies.

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Module 4 supports teachers to meet these Australian Professional Standards for Teachers:

5
Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning.
10
Engage in professional learning.

 

 

 

 

 

Explore

Exploring observations

Suggested time: 20 mins

  1. Read the document. Examine its key messages about the importance of effective observation and the skills required to effectively observe and record children's learning. How do these skills relate to your current practices?

  2. Read the document. Consider the reflection questions on the final page.

  3. Read the overview, which describes the features of each observation template.

Allow additional time to explore these templates, which are available in the Resources. There are also samples of the templates in use, which may be adapted to suit your ways of working.

Additional reading

Observation samples 1–5 demonstrate how teachers record and analyse observations and use them to inform future planning for learning.

  • Samples of completed observation templates

The following resources provide additional advice on using and managing photographs in the observation and documentation process.

Examine

Examining observation practices

Suggested time: 40 mins

  1. Listen to the audiovisual segment of a teacher sharing her experiences of observing young children’s learning.

  2. Answer the focus questions.

  3. Read the document, which explores observation tools in terms of time, audience, practical and ethical considerations. These are key elements that underpin teachers' decisions about how and what to observe.

  4. Analyse the completed observation samples and consider these in terms of ease of use, the intended audience and the role of partners in documenting observations.

Engage

Observation in practice

Suggested time: 40 mins

  1. Watch the video segment.

  2. Using one of the templates available in the Resources, observe, record and analyse the learning you noticed in this scenario.

  3. Analyse your observation by answering the questions in the document. Add the document to your professional practice folder.

  4. Complete the document to help you plan ways to improve the quality of your observation and documentation skills. Add it to your professional practice folder.

Note: It is important to review, reflect on and revise your action plan regularly.

Extend

Engaging partners in observation

Suggested time: 20 mins

Record your ideas in your Professional learning log.

  1. Read the document, which provides questions to help teachers critically examine the assumptions and beliefs they hold about the role of partners in the observation process.

  2. Consider the following focus questions. If possible, discuss with a colleague/s.

    Focus questions

    • What is valuable about the approaches to observation that are used in our service context? Consider the approaches in terms of the:

      • teacher

      • children

      • families.

    • What aspects of involving families in observation and documentation of children’s learning do we need to build understandings about?

    • Which new observational practices can we share across the service?

 

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