One Teach, One Observe

One Teach, One Support

UDL 5.3

One Teach, One Observe is a co-teaching model where one teacher observes and collects purposeful data while the other teacher is delivering instruction. To implement this strategy, teachers first decide on roles for a given lesson (e.g., instructor/observer) and what types of data to collect. During the lesson, the observing teacher sits to the side of the room or makes rounds in the classroom to discreetly record valuable anecdotal notes about student behavior, participation, and social interactions. This strategy improves accurate data collection on student performance in the classroom, which can then be used to inform future instruction and plan interventions or accommodations for specific students.

Implementation Tips

When to Use
Implement the One Teach, One Observe strategy sparingly and with specific data collection purposes in mind. Teachers can apply this model once a week or when collecting data on an individual student. Teachers should also switch roles for various lessons to ensure that students view both teachers as equal leaders in the classroom.
Data Collection
Choose the type of data to collect during an observation prior to conducting the lesson. Possible data types include: observations of how students approach a specific task, notes for a student’s upcoming Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting, and data related to student participation, social interactions or behavior.
Systems for Recording
Agree on a system for gathering data, such as using a chart attached to a clipboard or a notebook to record behavioral data and anecdotal notes during lessons. Teachers can use an overall class checklist that focuses on student body language, focus, participation, and demonstration of confidence, or teachers can use student-specific observation sheets labeled with each child’s name for easy reference.
Analyzing Data
Find time after the observation occurs to analyze the collected data together. Co-teachers can meet to examine the observer’s notes and identify trends. Teachers can discuss ways to apply learnings from the observation to upcoming lesson plans, discuss and set goals, and prepare supports for specific students.
Position of the Observer
Position yourself out of view from students while collecting observation notes during a lesson. Teachers can sit to the side of the classroom or behind the students to minimize distraction to the students.
Additional Observers
Utilize other adults in the classroom to assist in recording data for different purposes (e.g., paraprofessionals, teaching assistants, social worker). For example, a student teacher can observe while the lead teacher delivers a lesson. This allows the teacher to focus on modeling teaching points while the student teacher gains experience tracking student behaviors.


Student Behavior
A parent might express concern about their child’s engagement during lessons and their social interaction with peers during these times. To deepen understanding of the student’s behavior, the observer can collect data during a mini-lesson, noting the level of engagement, number of redirect cues needed, and amount and type of peer interactions the given student demonstrates. Using this data can help teachers determine accommodations that the child might need in the future (e.g., preferential seating, social skills support, modified assignments).
Observation Notes for Individual Student Behavior and Learning Plans
To obtain essential information when developing and monitoring a student’s Behavior Intervention Plan, completing a Functional Behavioral Assessment, or planning for an Individualized Education Plan meeting, teachers can plan to collect specific data during lessons. The observer might take notes on a specified student’s engagement during a lesson as indicated in the following areas: Positive Body Language -- eyes on speaker, posture, body control; Focus -- remains seated; distractibility; Participation -- raises hand, attends to discussion, follows directions; Confidence -- works independently, solves problems or asks for help, shares ideas. This data provides insight into a student’s most current progress and needed supports.
Student Problem-Solving Methods
When students are solving word problems with partners, the observer can take notes on the strategies pairs use, the types models they create, and the accuracy of their solutions. Meanwhile, the instructor can provide general coaching that does not interfere with the results of the data being collected (e.g., “Remember to read the problem carefully and underline key words/numbers in the problem to help you. Also, remember to keep your work organized.”). Teachers can then use this data to identify students that need additional support to master the concept.
Observing to Inform Student Groupings
During an activity, a teaching team might notice that students are having a difficult time working together and completing assigned tasks in their groups. To better understand why this is occurring, the teachers can decide to collect data on student interactions and behaviors to create more purposeful groupings. During the next lesson, the observer can track which students initiate conversations, ask questions, share ideas, and are able to complete assigned tasks. Teachers can then use this data to re-organize student groups to ensure that they are more balanced in terms of personalities and academic abilities.

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