Introduction: Purposes and Perspectives on Classroom Observation Research
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Cambridge University Press 2004. The purpose of this book is to provide researchers, scholars, and educators with examples of recently developed classroom observation instruments based on current research on effective teaching practices, many developed explicitly for use in today's culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. The chapters describe several new instruments and include examples of how they have been used to examine effective instruction, schools, and school-based reform models in classrooms and schools with diverse students. Although most observational research in culturally and linguistically diverse settings has been qualitative, systematic classroom observation research has been widely used during the past three decades (Waxman, 1995; Waxman & Huang, 1999). And, although findings from that research have led to a substantive knowledge base on effective teaching practices (Brophy & Good, 1986; Waxman & Walberg, 1982), many critics have argued that systematic observation lacks a theoretical/conceptual framework and merely focuses on discrete categories or small segments of observable teacher behaviors that can be easily measured with observation instruments (Ornstein, 1991). Indeed, most of the early observation instruments focused on direct instruction and easily quantifiable behaviors associated with basic skills instruction, rendering them inappropriate, or when used alone inadequate, for examining today's diverse classrooms. Today, researchers and educators need instruments based on the most recent theoretical/conceptual work and empirical research on effective pedagogy (Tharp, Estrada, Dalton, & Yamauchi, 2000; Waxman & Walberg, 1999). This book presents a rich variety of such instruments.