A4 Article in conference proceedings
Guided observation helping teacher students to understand teacher’s work

List of Authors: Tuula Merisuo-Storm, Marjaana Soininen
Place: Prague
Publication year: 2015
Book title *: Proceedings of the 15th International Academic Conference
Number of pages: 10
ISBN: 978-80-87927-08-3
ISSN: 2336-5617


In the autumn of 2014, the first-year-students at the University of Turku at the Department of Teacher Education in Rauma started their studies according to a new curriculum. Compared with the old curriculum a significant difference could be seen in their first teaching practice period in the teacher training school. Now joint guided observations in the classes are an important part of the period. At the beginning of the period, the groups of 10–11 students observe class teachers’ and subject teachers’ lessons in grades 1–9 with the teachers from the department of teacher education. After each lesson, the students and their tutors have discussions focusing on one of the five different aspects: 1) the pupils of different ages, 2) the pupils with special needs, 3) bilingual learning, 4) individualized instruction, and 5) the goals of teaching.

The aim of the study described in this paper was to investigate the students’ (n = 73) opinions on the guided observations and discussions and what they thought that they had learned from them. The students wrote their comments during the lessons and after the discussions. All the students found the guided observations much more fruitful than the observations they did alone. According to them, it was much easier to focus on one aspect at a time than to observe a lesson as a whole. In addition, they wrote that the discussions after the lessons gave them new ideas about teaching.

When comparing the students’ comments during the five different observations, it is obvious that they improved during the period significantly. The comments related to the last observation were much more mature than those given earlier. The students were more skilful at analysing the teachers’ and the pupils’ behaviour and actions during the lessons. According to their comments, they had learned during the period e.g. that it is important to plan the lessons well, to have a clear goal for the lesson, to understand what is essential, to motivate and activate the pupils, to give explicit instructions of the tasks in hand, to use interesting materials, to trust the pupils and give them opportunities to be creative, and to create an encouraging atmosphere in the class. Furthermore, the students found that pupils’ work in pairs and groups is useful in number of ways. The individualising of instruction is necessary in all grades but it is often a demanding task for the teacher.

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 22:04