This presentation is designed for primary teachers of English in the central of Vietnam when I worked as a workshop facilitator in the outreach program by the US Embassy in Hanoi, together with Vinh University. Talking about professional development, we may have many topics to cover including keeping journals, developing portfolios, taking training courses, and doing peer and classroom observations. I believe in the power of observation as an active learning tool and in the current practice of primary teachers. To be able to support the teachers, we can not require them to adopt a new approach or to take new actions because it will interrupt their teaching/learning activities. What we should do is to help them TWEAK a little bit of what they are doing now, so that it may result in better results.
That’s the reason why I start with peer observation as a focus of the training session. The teachers often do peer/classroom observation as a part of their teaching job. However, what they are doing appears to satisfy the school administration rather than as a way to help themselves…. The focus of this presentation is to promote another type of observation: informative peer observation with a new framework: EYEs – MIND – HEART. It is natural for human beings to see the mistakes of others while forgetting ours. That’s why there is little empathy and understanding in doing peer observation. Most teachers observing a peer with their own beliefs and approaches and it is common to impose one philosophy on another. That’s the time we forget each person is UNIQUE. Each has his/her own identity, belief, practices and we can not see with a pair of physical eyes and a critical mind. It is important to see from the “heart” , that is, the empathy and understanding.
Thousands of year ago, Aristotle said:
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”