Future Directions for Classroom Observation Research Chapter uri icon


  • © Cambridge University Press 2004. This chapter summarizes the work presented in the book, reviews some of the ways classroom observation has contributed to the research knowledge in the field of teacher effectiveness, and discusses some of the important implications of the book for the improvement of teaching and student learning in culturally diverse settings. Some of the criticisms and cautions related to the use of structured observation and techniques are also summarized. Finally, some future directions for observational research are reported and three specific views are described: (a) using instruments that reflect best practices or educational standards, (b) instruments that focus on student behaviors as well as teachers, and (c) combining qualitative and quantitative methods in observation instruments. LIMITATIONS OF SYSTEMATIC CLASSROOM OBSERVATIONAlthough previous chapters have highlighted some of the important purposes of classroom observation, there have also been several criticisms and cautions related to the use of structured observation techniques (Delamont & Hamilton, 1986; Evertson & Green, 1986; Galton, 1988; McIntyre & Macleod, 1986). The criticisms and limitations of using structured observation techniques are categorized into three subsections: (a) Theoretical and Epistemological Criticisms, (b) Methodological Concerns, and (c) Pragmatic Concerns. This section also includes a brief discussion of the implications of classroom observation and some future directions. Theoretical and Epistemological Criticisms Although observational research has produced a substantial body of important findings that can lead to improved teaching practices, there is still a lack of consensus or lack of confidence regarding the research (Nuthall & Alton-Lee, 1990).

author list (cited authors)

  • Waxman, H. C., Hilberg, R. S., & Tharp, R. G.

citation count

  • 5

Book Title

  • Observational Research in U.S. Classrooms

publication date

  • January 2004