Are you shopping for Classroom Observation Strategies? Good news! You’ve come to the right place: we have a choice of six. No, wait! Come back! What’s that you say? Too many choices? Surely not… But then again, maybe you’re on to something there.
In theory, we all like to have lots of choices in life, right? And to flip that idea over, there’s a school of thought that defines poverty as ‘the absence of choice.’ Nobody wants that. So could a situation of ‘too many choices’ really arise? Well, according to a feature in The Economist, the answer to that question is a resounding ‘Yes.’ It seems that for many people, having too much choice can be utterly confounding and paralysing.
The Economist reports on a consumer experiment conducted in a grocery store in California. On one day, shoppers were presented with a table of 24 jams. Plenty of people stopped, but only 3% bought a jar. On another day, only six jams were presented. Fewer people stopped, but 30% of them went on to purchase a jar. The lesson drawn from this experiment is that as options multiply, there comes a point where the effort required to differentiate sensibly overwhelms the benefit of having extra choice. The result is that baffled people choose to not choose, for fear of making the wrong choice – even when that ‘wrong choice’ concerns something as trivial as a jar of jam.
Sure, there are some people who embrace endless choices. Drop by an inner Melbourne laneway café and try listening to a hipster’s eye-glazingly detailed specification for his favourite concoction. It’s enough to drive you off to a corner shop for a jar of Maxwell House.
But let’s get back to where we started, with AITSL’s new offering of Classroom Observation Strategies. Our foundation idea is that classroom observation, when done well, results in colleagues collaborating to improve teaching practice and consequently student learning. As we suggested at the outset, there are several ways that you can go about it. Our dedicated web page sets out the choices clearly and simply, while enabling you to drill down to greater practical detail with some engaging video and written resources. We are really pleased with the way these resources have turned out, so we hope that they will add further impact to your professional practice.
I guess that the presentation of choices in some surprising places is not completely new. I remember in my younger days reading a novel called The French Lieutenant’s Woman. It was a great book, but a chief ‘novelty of the novel’ was that it offered three alternative endings for the reader. ‘Don’t like that ending? Here, try another.’ Maybe it was the author’s wry commentary on the consumer society, but I must confess that I did choose one ending and adopted it as ‘my own.’
With AITSL’s new Classroom Observation Strategies, here’s your opportunity to choose some classroom observation pathways and likewise adopt them as your own.
Please do visit the Classroom Observation Strategies page on the AITSL website and let me know your thoughts.