Improving Student Learning with Kidwatching

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Improving Student Learning with Kidwatching

Kidwatching is the technique of observing students purposefully or intentionally to learn more about them.

The primary aim of kidwatching is to help teachers understand how students learn. By closely observing student behaviors and actions in classrooms, teachers can identify and gain insight into student interest, strengths, learning styles, behavior, and academic progress.

The information gathered through kidwatching can be used to plan and implement class tasks, strategies and tools tailored to students’ needs and interests. The strategic implementation of effective pedagogic techniques and tools can help enhance student learning and academic performance.

Kidwatching Sessions

Teachers are always “watching students” – that’s true! But true kidwatching is more of a focused observation and record of student anecdotes. The following points can help make these observation sessions more productive and informative for teachers.

When: Teachers can observe students both inside and outside the class to understand how they explore and apply learning. Observe students as they engage in whole-class instruction, group-work, and individual tasks, and pay attention to their interactions with both teachers and peers.

How:  Teachers can structure observation sessions using these points:

  • Plan: Teachers should have a clear plan about whom and when to observe. For instance, teachers can use their student roster to decide which students (two or three) to observe at a time. Similarly, it is important for teachers to plan out when they will observe.
  • Guiding Questions: These questions can help channel the observation to focus on specific points. For example, questions like “was this teaching strategy able to elicit responses from the student?” and, “how do students behave during the lecture?” can help teachers identify areas that facilitate and hinder learning.
  • Recording: After every observation session, it is important that teachers record any observations of the student. A simple way of recording is to follow a two-sided note-taking system. Divide a page into two vertical halves, with student names on one half and comments or anecdotes on the other. During the class teachers can use sticky notes to write down observations, stuck next to the particular student name. These notes can then be compiled, organized and recorded. Some other important points to be recorded include:
    1. date and time of observation
    2. the class during which the observation occurred
    3. the nature of activity in which students were engaged
  • Analyze: Teachers can examine their notes to understand how students learn and consider factors that contribute to their learning. Since observation dates are recorded, teachers can view the notes sequentially to check for progress in learning. The observations can help teachers identify specific strategies and tools that were effective in facilitating student learning. It also helps them to reflect on their teaching behavior and practices and its influence on student learning.

Kidwatching is more than just an observational tool. It is a powerful assessment tool that reveals to teachers how students learn and processes the information presented to them. Kidwatching adds clarity to the teachers’ understanding of their students and enable them to differentiate instruction to specific student needs and thereby promote learning.


Like this article for teachers?

Browse the Professional Learning Board COURSE CATALOG to find related online courses for teachers in your state. Professional Learning Board is a leading provider of online professional development classes that teachers use to renew a teaching license or renew a teaching certificate.

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