Information on Observing a Classroom
Observation occurs through the one-way observation available in several of our rooms. The observer, researcher, research supervisor or course instructor must make arrangements for the observation with our director, Howard Baker, and a cooperating head teacher.
How to Arrange an Observation
Please contact Howard Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-736-2200 to arrange an observation for a course or other educational purpose.
You will be asked to supply a brief letter or email explaining the purpose or goals of your observation.
Your letter or email may simply state:
- Your name and contact information, the purpose of the study and whether you wish to observe or be a participant observer (PO). POs are people who wish to engage in activities with children. POs who wish to observe more than once need to fill out our employment application.
- That the observer guarantees the anonymity of the children and teachers observed in any written material, including information shared with a class or professor.
- That the observer guarantees that s/he will not photograph, videotape or tape record while observing unless permission to do so has been given. For this, you will need to use Appendix IV: Application for Recording (pdf) and Appendix V: Sample Letter for Consent to use sound or image recording (pdf).
During Your Observation
We are happy for you to observe a class in order to learn more our program and our children. Prior to your observation, you may find our website helpful for obtaining background information. You can also find brief staff bios with photos to help you recognize us when you come.
Please read these guidelines carefully.
- Please do not take photos or record of a child or children with any electronic or video device without prior permission. To get this release prior to your visit, contact our director, Howie Baker. In some circumstances recording a child will require permission from parents.
- Information gathered during your observation is confidential. Please do not discuss your observations of the children in public spaces where anonymity might be compromised. When writing or speaking about the children observed, please identify them by a pseudonym, such as their first initial or some other made up identifier.
- Dress casually and neatly. Dress knowing that you will be with young children in a school where paint and clay are frequently used. You may also observe while the children are outside and you should have on clothing that will keep you comfortable for doing this for 45 minutes or more.
- On the day you are scheduled to observe, please arrive on time. If you will be delayed or unable to attend email email@example.com or call our office (781-736-2200) and leave a message.
- The Lemberg Children’s Center’s doors are always locked. Our main and only entrance is on Old South Street and it requires a staff member to open the inner door for you. If necessary, in the entry there is a phone with directions to gain access. Please sign-in as a visitor and one of us will bring you to meet the Head Teacher in whose classroom you will start your observing. S/he will show you where to put your coat and bags, as well as help you find an appropriate place from which to observe. S/he will give you an information sheet with classroom demographical information.
- When we know the goals of your observation, we will show you our observation windows, suggest a place in the classroom to sit apart from activities, or put you with a group, so you maybe a participant observer engaged in activities.
- During your observing time, the head teachers will be busy with the children, supervising teaching assistants or speaking with parents. They may not be able to speak with you for more than a moment. If you would like to clarify something, please keep this brief. To do an interview one of them, please arrange for this with our office staff, Karen or Howard or call 781-736-2200.
- During the observation, when a child approaches you and asks who you are and what you are doing, please keep it brief and simple. Tell the child that you are here to learn about their classroom, and you will be writing notes. If a child asks you to help him/her with something (e.g., tie their shoe, put on a coat, pour their drink), if you can do so without disrupting your observation that’s fine, but it is usually best to direct them to their teacher or teaching assistant (TA).
Information for Course Instructors
If you are a course instructor wishing to arrange observations for a number of students in your class, you will be asked to use a schedule form in which students post their names and email addresses.
Additionally, please supply your students the following information:
- Guidelines for doing research, recording or observation
- Information for when you observe in the classroom (pdf)
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for your students.