A fraught question indeed!!
This list from the ROTP project, used in teaching/teacher evaluation:
“The Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) was developed as an observation instrument to provide a standardized means for detecting the degree to which K-20 classroom instruction in mathematics or science is reformed per the national science and mathematics standards.”
- The instructional strategies and activities respected students’ prior knowledge and the preconceptions inherent therein.
- The lesson was designed to engage students as members of a learning community.
- In this lesson, student exploration receded formal resentation.
- This lesson encouraged students to seek and value alternative modes of nvestigation or of problem solving.
- The focus and direction of the lesson was often determined by ideas originating with students.
- The lesson involved fundamental concepts of the subject.
- The lesson promoted strongly coherent conceptual understanding.
- The teacher had a solid grasp of the subject matter content inherent in the lesson.
- Elements of abstraction (i.e., symbolic representations, theory building) were encouraged when it was important to do so.
- Connections with other content disciplines and/or real world phenomena were explored and valued.
- Students used a variety of means (models, drawings, graphs, concrete materials, manipulatives, etc.) to represent phenomena.
- Students made predictions, estimations and/or hypotheses and devised means for testing them.
- Students were actively engaged in thought-provoking activity that often involved the critical assessment of procedures.
- Students were reflective about their learning.
- Intellectual rigor, constructive criticism, and the challenging of ideas were valued.
- Students were involved in the communication of their ideas to others using a variety of means and media.
- The teacher’s questions triggered divergent modes of thinking.
- There was a high proportion of student talk and a significant amount of it occurred between and among students.
- Student questions and comments often determined the focus and direction of classroom discourse.
- There was a climate of respect for what others had to say.
- Active participation of students was encouraged and valued.
- Students were encouraged to generate conjectures, alternative solution strategies, and ways of interpreting evidence.
- In general the teacher was patient with students.
- The teacher acted as a resource person, working to support and enhance student investigations.
- The metaphor “teacher as listener” was very characteristic of this classroom.
From Anton Lawson’s site.
The Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) was created by the Evaluation Facilitation Group (EFG) of the Arizona Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers (ACEPT). It is an observational instrument designed to measure “reformed” teaching.
The initial development of the RTOP is now complete, and the instrument is being widely circulated. Consequently, there is a need for a manual that contains the more technical information about the RTOP that might be used by scholars and researchers. This document is designed to fill that need. The theoretical constructs that guided the design of the instrument are presented here, as are reliability and validity information. In addition, the results of an exploratory factor analysis of the RTOP are presented.
I am reading this in the light of John Hattie’s work, and the wondering: what is evidence based research when it comes to teaching and learning?