Observation Guidelines

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Observation Guidelines

Some courses require that you complete observations of language classes. These observations are intended to enrich your learning through the experience of seeing language classrooms in action. Please note that you are a guest while observing and must adhere to all requirements of the institution, department, and instructor at all times. These institutions and instructors are allowing you to observe classes as a professional courtesy, and you are representing your university and the School of Education. Thus, your conduct should reflect the highest possible professional standards. The following general guidelines should be followed unless the relevant administrator or instructor tells you otherwise.

Scheduling Observations at FXUA

FXUA’s School of Language Studies (SLS) has made the following requests regarding observations of their ESL classes. Students need to obtain prior approval from the ESL Director and the instructor before observing any classes. You may obtain initial permission to observe by emailing the Program Director of the SLS. To schedule observations with an instructor, you will need to request permission via email no later than Thursday of the week prior to the week in which you would like observe. Unless otherwise instructed, you should await email confirmation of your request before observing. You will not be permitted to observe without having received an email confirmation of your request.

Scheduling Observations Outside of FXUA

Before conducting observations at outside organizations or institutions, you will need to request approval from the program director and possibly from the head administrator at the school. Many program directors prefer that requests for observations come directly to them. Your professor or the director of the School of Education may assist in identifying strategies to find observation sites in Virginia or beyond. It is, however, your responsibility to secure a site for your observations. Upon finding a site that you think is suitable, you should consult with your professor prior to conducting any observations.

Guidelines for Observing a Class

When observing a class, please follow the procedures below to minimize disruption to the students’ learning:

    • Obtain written permission from the instructor at least 48 hours in advance unless otherwise specified by the teacher you wish to observe. Some teachers may require more notice, so you should find out their preferences.


  • If you are unable to make it to a scheduled observation, be sure to inform the instructor via email as soon as possible.
  • Arrive on time, sit where the teacher requests, and remain for your entire scheduled time.
  • Be actively engaged in the observation (e.g., no outside work, no texting, etc.), but interact with the students only if invited to do so by the instructor. Do not interrupt the class to add your own observations or corrections.
  • Do not hold private discussions with students or other observers during the class.
  • Turn off your mobile phone or any other noise-making device before the class begins.
  • Remember to obtain the instructor’s signature at the end of the observed lesson. If an instructor finds your classroom behavior disruptive, s/he is under no obligation to sign your timesheet. 
  • If the instructor requests that you leave the room for whatever reason, please do so without questions.