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ERIC Number: ED410286
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Seeing Schools through New Lenses: A Qualitative Approach to Observing in Schools.
Moore, Caroline; Ferguson, Dianne
This paper reports the development and evaluation of an observation guide that draws on qualitative techniques of participant observation and semistructured interviewing to help anyone interested in visiting and understanding schools to develop a "big picture" profile quickly and efficiently. The guide reflects the philosophy of E. Eisner (1991) and his ideas of educational connoisseurship and the five dimensions of schooling. After three pages of introduction and suggestions, the guide is organized into two parts. Part 1 provides structure and space for observers to write notes about their observations while in the school. The guide asks them to note a variety of general information in a way that functions as a semistructured interview and observation guide. Part 2, designed to be completed after the visitor leaves the school, encourages reflection and synthesis of what was learned during the observation into a profile of the whole school. Seventeen people (teachers, students in a master's degree and licensure program, special education administrators, and parents) participated in an evaluation of the guide in use. Fourteen completed only one Visit Guide and three completed at least two. Visitors tended to be reflective and holistic in their descriptions of the schools. For some the Guide was a map, and for others it was a frame. The organization of the Guide directed the observers in particular ways that they felt helped them focus on specific dimensions of the school while constructing a broad picture of its functions. The Guide encourages users to see schools with new lenses and to focus on things they might not have seen otherwise. (Contains 2 tables, 17 figures, and 16 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A