8.1 What are Observers, what do they do? Copy

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The Observers’ role

This short video summarises the role of the Observers.

In Zambia, a team of Observers monitor the training programme. They:

  • Observe school practice: Before the inclusive education teacher training starts in a school, a group of Observers visit the school to see what is happening in classes and around the school. They then visit the school each year to observe changes, successes and challenges.
  • Talk to key stakeholders: Observers interview teachers, head teachers and other key staff, to find out how the training has been received and used. They collect ideas for how to improve or expand the teacher training.
  • Document progress: Observers prepare brief written and photographic reports about their observations and discussions.
  • Provide feedback: Observers act as ‘critical friends’. They provide constructive feedback to the trainers. They also feed back their findings to the lead facilitators, NAD and relevant education officials.

Who are the Observers?

In Zambia, the Observers are drawn from key stakeholder organisations. They include:

  • senior district and provincial MoGE officers and inspectors;
  • senior representatives from disabled people’s organisations (DPOs);
  • representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services;
  • senior university and teacher training college staff.

Training Observers

The training received by Observers includes helping them to understand the action research approaches that Principal Trainers and teachers will be using, and providing an insight into the content of the training modules.

Observers are supported to develop observation checklists and to practise their observation techniques. They are shown how to help improve teacher training by offering a critically constructive perspective. Their role is to support and motivate the trainers’ and teachers’ own reflections and suggestions for improvements. The observers are trained specifically not to act as inspectors who are grading and assessing teachers.

Benefits for Observers

Our observers often participate with great enthusiasm. They are committed to the aims of the programme. Some observers have commented that performing the observer role has contributed not only to their own professional development, but also to them implementing inclusion-focused improvements in their own work settings.

Watch this video. Sharon talks about her role as an Observer and the changes she has seen in schools since the teacher training programme started. She also mentions how being an Observer has brought benefits for herself and positive changes for the place where she works.

You can read a transcript of what Sharon says.

This is the end of section 8.1.
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