Lessons learned through reflecting on a classroom observation

  • Susan Elaine Hopkins Liverpool John Moores University
Keywords: Non-participant observation of classroom teaching, pilot of non-participant observation, educational research


Using non-participant structured observation of classroom teaching as a method of collecting data was experienced; during a one hour session, the researcher noted who was speaking at 5-minute intervals.  Preparation of a chart for 7 expected students became unwieldly when some 20 students attended, which was not anticipated.  It soon became obvious that 5-minute intervals were too long, as many students spoke up but not at the points where speaking was recorded, so the final chart was unrepresentative of the classroom behaviour being observed.  In addition, the researcher became involved in answering a question themselves, something that should not occur when using a non-participant approach. 

Author Biography

Susan Elaine Hopkins, Liverpool John Moores University

At the time of writing this article, I was a registered adult and child nurse working as a Senior Lecturer. I had worked in nurse education since 1983.

My main interests have included mentorship and student nurse education, particularly study skills. For my Masters in Advanced Educational Practice (MAEP) dissertation I wanted to carry out research to explore if embedding study skills sessions in a module of study had any positive effects on students' learning and achievements. As part of my MAEP, I studied a research module, which involved experiencing different methods of collecting data for research, to help me to decide which methods I might eventually choose. This article is my reflection on the experience of one of these data collection methods.