Self-Assessment for Effective Classroom Instruction

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  • 0:04 A Self-Assessment Practice
  • 0:57 Observations
  • 2:48 Reflection
  • 3:41 Formative Feedback
  • 4:56 Learning Networks
  • 5:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Successful teachers use a variety of strategies to make sure they're hitting the mark in their practice. A highly effective method is self-assessment. This lesson describes techniques educators can use to evaluate and tweak their performance.

A Self-Assessment Practice

Charles is in his third year in education. The first two were a blur of keeping up, learning new curriculum, demands of administrators, and piles of paperwork. He worked hard to make sure his students were getting a quality education, but when he stops to think about it, he isn't really sure if he did. His reviews from administration were fair, and his students and families seemed to be happy. But can he really know whether or not he is an effective teacher?

It seems like Charles is making a simple mistake as an educator. Instead of using a practice of self-assessment, methods to check on his performance as a teacher, he's taking a more passive route. He needs to make time to check on himself as a professional. Self-assessment techniques, like peer observations, self-reflections, and using formative feedback, will all help him grow as an educator. Ever hear of these? Let's take a look at how this works.


One method of self-assessment Charles and other educators can use is observation. This can be accomplished in two ways: peer observation and self-observation.

Peer observation is the practice of one colleague watching another teach, and then sharing feedback. For example, Charles can ask the other math teacher, Debbie, to come observe him teach. She can sit in on a few classes, take notes, and then talk with Charles about what she saw. Charles may have specific things he wants her to look for, like his management strategies, or he may just want general feedback. This can benefit Debbie as well. Watching Charles may give her some strategies or teaching methods she isn't aware of. Charles is really good at redirecting student behavior. By observing him, Debbie can pick up some new teaching techniques to add to her tool box.

Another way to use observation is to self-observe. Sound tricky? Well, it's actually quite easy. Charles can simply set up a recording device before beginning a lesson, then watch it later. Depending on his objective, he may or may not tell the class he is recording. When self-observing, Charles should focus on noticing:

  • How much time he spends teaching compared to allowing students to share
  • The clarity of his instruction
  • What type of conversations and thinking he's requesting of students
  • If he's being equitable with students
  • What his teaching voice sounds like
  • His presence in the classroom

These guidelines will help him cover the basics of teaching behaviors. For example, he may find he relies on certain students to answer all questions, or that he spends the entire class standing in front of the room instead of circulating. He may talk too quickly, or his instruction may be confusing. While it may be uncomfortable for him to watch himself teach at the beginning, Charles will eventually be able to watch objectively and learn about himself as a teacher.


It's important for all educators to teach with intention, or to have a reason and purpose for the process, product, and assessments used. To reach this goal, Charles can be self-reflective before, during, and after teaching. While most people limit reflections to after the teaching is complete, effective teachers know it is a process that can be applied across the teaching spectrum.

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