Observations Policy

  1. Introduction
  2. Observation Overview
  3. Lesson Plan and Teaching Criteria
  4. Sample Observation Planning Form
  5. Sample Lesson Observation: DOS Feedback


Dear tutor

The quality, personalised tuition that you proved our students is what we are justifiably proud of here at Intuition.  As part of our commitment to quality we want to support you with your teaching and CPD.

Our academic management team are available to consult for guidance with lesson planning, age / level appropriate activities, ways to develop your qualifications, suitable activities for your students etc.  They can be contacted at:

Our Director of Studies runs regular training webinars which you are invitied to join live – the link will be sent to you 48 hours beforehand – or you can watch the recorded version.  You can access any of the previous trainings on the ITL portal which cover a range of subjects including skills and exam teaching.

The academic management team will also be in touch with you to arrange an observation of one of your classes.  When you first join the ITL team we will observe your first course and then arrange a yearly observation to coincide with when you have a student.

To help you with your observation we have included the British Council criteria below which you can use to help you prepare and check your lesson plan and teaching.

The academic management team will:

  • Contact you when you are due an observation
  • Send you the relevant lesson planning documentation to complete
  • Arrange to observe live or watch the recorded lesson
  • Meet with you after the observation to discuss the feedback on your plan and lesson

The feedback is used to help inform our series of webinars as well as our annual in person Teacher Development Day.

Please feel free to contact the team if you have any questions about the process or the criteria and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

Best wishes

InTuition Academic Management Team

Observations Overview

Within InTuition Languages, lesson observations are seen as a way of supporting teaching members of staff with continual professional practice and teaching. Lesson observations are essential to maintain our commitment to the quality of teaching and should be seen as a positive experience for all involved.

Aims and Purpose

  • To contribute to teacher’s professional development by providing an opportunity for teachers to reflect on their own teaching practice and effectiveness.
  • To provide an opportunity for teachers to develop their own teaching skills.
  • To provide positive and constructive feedback.
  • To maintain standards set by the British Council as part of an accredited school. Please see the British Council guidelines below.
  • To ensure quality assurance and provide evidence for performance management internally and externally.

Observation Procedure

  • Observations take place for all teachers at least once per year:
  • New teachers are observed during their first course.
  • Other teachers are observed during their first course on an annual basis.
  • Our academic management team contact teachers at least 2 weeks before a booking to be observed, to provide time to prepare for the observation and to provide all the relevant lesson planning documentation.
  • The observation should be completed as a recording during a lesson of the teacher's choice.
  • The lesson should be at least 45 to 60 minutes long and should be recorded using software such as Zoom. Please follow this link for guidance on how to record your observation on Zoom.
  • Along with the recording, the completed lesson plan and reflection sheet  should be sent to dos@intuitionlang.com.
  • If the observation is not completed when requested (without good reason), it may not be possible to place any further bookings with the teacher until an observation is committed to.

What happens next?

  • Once the lesson has been received, our DOS will get back to the teacher within seven days with written feedback. See below for an example feedback form.
  • The DOS will also arrange for an online appraisal, to facilitate a supportive discussion of areas of strength and areas of weakness.

What happens if the lesson does not go well?

  • Should the lesson not go as planned, the DOS will provide detailed feedback for the areas of concern and recommend action points the teacher could undertake to address these areas.
  • The DOS will then request another observation for the teacher’s next booking, in order to help the teacher to develop these areas of weaknesses.
  • If the observation is still found to be dissatisfactory a formal meeting will be held between the DOS and teacher to discuss future action points.

What happens with the feedback form?

  • The feedback form along with the teacher’s recording and reflection sheet will be filed for future reference. The feedback will inform the academic management team of good areas for continual professional development, which can be covered in our monthly webinars.

Lesson Plan and Teaching Criteria

We have used the relevant British Council Criteria to help you plan and teach your lessons.  We have included practical examples which are not exhaustive but intended to help you translate the criteria into relevant ITL scenarios.

Tutor demonstrates sound knowledge and awareness of the use of English and the linguistic systems underlying it, and provides appropriate models of spoken and written English.

Examples of best practice:

  • Models on the board include parts of speech, phonetic script and stress marks.
  • Models of pronunciation provided for individual words and words in connected speech.
  • Examples and explanations are: relevant; concise; memorable.
  • Teachers demonstrate awareness of register (written and spoken).
  • Teachers demonstrate awareness of L1 interference.

The content of the lessons shows that the course objectives, the learning needs and cultural backgrounds of the students have been taken into account.

Examples of good practice:

  • Detailed class profiles showing in-depth awareness of individuals’ strengths and needs.
  • Evidence of sensitivity to learners’ pace of learning and need for further practice.
  • Relevant additional activities provided to challenge able learners.
  • Written reinforcement included to meet visual learners’ needs and account taken of non-Roman script learners.
  • Provision made for students with special educational needs.
  • For young learners, activities involving movement are included

    Lessons lead to relevant learning outcomes, made known to students and achieved through a coherent sequence of activities.

    Examples of good practice

    • Learning outcomes are clear, checked and noted.
    • Obvious movement from familiar to unfamiliar.
    • Potential difficulties identified and preempted.
    • Possibility of varying the plan is acknowledged.
    • Explicit link between student profiles and content/structure of lesson.
    • Lessons appropriately staged.
    • Warmers (if used) are relevant to learning aim or topic; for YLs warmers (if used) motivate and prepare students for learning.
    • Supplementary material provided to support core materials to give sufficient time and opportunities for practice.
    • Activities lead on to relevant homework.

      Teaching techniques are appropriate to the focus of the lesson and to the needs of the group and individual learners.

      Examples of good practice

      • Evidence of confident use of range of techniques when needed, including appropriate elicitation, prompting and concept checking.
      • Regular and integrated checking of understanding of meaning takes place.
      • Teachers demonstrate ability to teach language in relation to different skills with explicit focus on subskills. Reference to VLE for later follow-up work.
      • Evidence of adaptation for students with special educational needs.

        Tutors promote learning by the effective management of the classroom environment and resources.

        Examples of best practice:

        • You model the activity and asks clear ICQs to ensure your students knows what to do
        • Your student has a comfortable seat and table to work at which is well lit and at a comfortable temperature e,g, a quiet room in the house where you won’t be disturbed by other household members
        • You prepare and use visually appealing materials which are error free e.g. the resources on the ITL portal
        • You supplement, omit, adapt or replace any activities in a course book to meet the needs of the student e.g. replacing a reading text in a coursebook with one that is more appropriate to the student’s interests

        Students receive appropriate and timely feedback on their performance during the lesson.

        Examples of best practice:

        • You note down some key strengths and errors to use in feedback after a task
        • You have a clear correction code for written feedback which you’ve explained to your student
        • You use subtle gestures e.g. 3 fingers to indicate the 3rd person or encouraging facial gestures as your student is performing a task so as not to interrupt and encourage accuracy and fluency
        • You give balanced feedback on both positives and challenges that the student has in productive skills activities

        Lessons include activities to evaluate whether learning is taking place.

        Examples of best practice:

        • You use concept checking questions that require short answers, are unambiguous and clearly demonstrate to the tutor that your student has understood the meaning – these can be scripted in the lesson plan
        • You use a variety of assessment techniques that don’t feel like “tests” to help students naturally see their progress e.g. video diaries and comparing the student’s speaking ability at the beginning and end.  Using KWL charts, brain diagrams that “fill up” with knowledge over the course etc.

        Tutors demonstrate the ability to engage students and create a positive learning atmosphere.

        Examples of good practice

        • Teachers demonstrate awareness of, and ability to deal with, L1 needs.
        • Teachers mediate appropriately in potentially problematic cultural topics.
        • Styles of learning (visual/auditory/kinaesthetic) and special educational needs are dealt with.
        • Evidence of knowledge of individuals’ lives and experience (teacher to student and student to student).
        • Teachers demonstrate good balance of student-student and teacher-student talking time; clear instructions; good checking; good voice projection; pacing; good awareness of learners; good use of pair work; good use of names/nomination.
        • Teachers have effective strategies for controlling use of LI. Variety of activities in evidence.
        • Changing groups/interactions takes place seamlessly.
        • Teachers change activity as a result of unanticipated needs.
        • Learners are totally engaged.

          Sample Observation Planning Form

          Teacher: xxx

          Date: xxx

          Type of Course: Super Intensive English for Work


          Student: xxx              Level:         B1

          My student’s background and reasons for doing this course.

          xxx is a native Spanish speaker living in Switzerland. She learned English and German at school and currently works as a House Mistress in an international boarding school.  She has learned a lot of useful English on the job but now feels that she would like to change jobs to one with more sociable hours and so is in the UK to help her build her speaking confidence for an interview as well as her writing ability to respond to job adverts

           Learning Outcomes

          My learning outcomes for this lesson, i.e. the skills / systems the student will have acquired, or be better at, by the end of the lesson. The main learning outcome is listed first.

          Primary focus: xxx will be able to write a job application email

          Secondary focus: xxx will better understand different cohesive writing devices that help signpost the reader

          Lesson fit

          What came before the lesson and what it will lead on to

          • In the previous lesson we started looking at paragraph writing using starting and finishing sentences
          • We have been studying some discourse markers in class
          • We worked on job related lexis in one of last week’s lessons
          • We have done some writing in class and she needs to work on cohesion by building the sentences into a paragraph
          • We will go on to work on reading skills where understanding cohesion will be extremely useful


          Language Analysis:

          Cohesive Devices:


          Cohesive Device

          Example from text

          Form / Meaning


          Discourse Marker -

          Additive conjunction

          …last Sunday and am writing..

          One word conjunction, in this case links clauses which could exist as individual sentences

          Appropriate in formal and informal, written and spoken discourse.  Probably the most universal discourse marker and can be used in a variety of situations including as a temporal, causal or adversative conjunction.  Generally avoided at the beginning of a sentence

          Discourse Marker – Temporal Conjunction

          As you can see from……

          Phrasal conjunction which refers to a specific noun, in this case the attached CV.  In spoken discourse we might point to what we are referring to.  Can also be used with “from + -ing” form of the verb to mean the same e.g. as you can see from looking at the chart…

          Appropriate in (semi) formal written and spoken discourse eg presentations, academic writing but not for a chat with a friend.

          Often used at the start of a sentence

          Discourse Marker – additive conjunction

          as well as

          Phrasal conjunction which joins 2 clauses and eliminates the need to repeat the verb.

          In this case it refers to 2 nouns (degree and ELT qualification) but equally it can be used between 2 verbs where the main verb of the clause in conjugated but the verb following the conjunction uses the –ing form

          e.g. he plays hockey every weekend as well as going to the gym 3 times a week

          Useful in formal and informal speaking and writing.  Can be used at the beginning or in the middle of the sentence


          He plays hockey every weekend as well as going to the gym 3 times a week


          As well as going to the gym 3 times a week, he plays hockey at the weekend

          (note the use of the comma in the second example to separate clauses)

          Discourse Marker – Additive conjunction

          In addition to teaching….I also have…..

          A conjunction that works in 2 parts when “in addition to”  is used at the beginning of the phrase.  It then requires the second part of the conjunction to include the subj + also

          Note the use of in addition to + - ing form of the verb which can be confusing for students

          More frequent in (semi) formal spoken and written discourse.  It sounds slightly pompous when used in informal situations.

          Can be used at the beginning or in the middle of the sentence


          In addition to playing hockey every weekend he also goes to the gym 3 times a week


          He plays hockey every weekend in addition to going to the gym 3 times a week,

          Discourse Marker –

          Additive Conjunction

          Along with YLs and

          Conjunction that can work by itself or with “and”

          Along introduces another idea and collocates with “with”

          When used with a verb it takes the “–ing” form

          Can be used at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence


          He plays hockey every weekend along with going to the gym 3 times a week


          Along with going to the gym 3 times a week, he plays hockey at the weekend

          Discourse Marker –

          Adversative conjunction

          Either in….or…..

          Conjunction that works as a sentence frame to offer 2 positive alternatives.

          Can be used in formal or informal written or spoken discourse


          And am writing…. / and could start

          In both these examples the subject has been eliminated as it was included at the beginning of the sentence and the conjunction renders it unnecessary.  It would be grammatically correct to include it but stylistically redundant

          In both cases of ellipsis, it is perfectly acceptable to use in formal and informal, written and spoken discourse

          How I will evidence that learning has taken place:

          Xxx will be able to write an email using the cohesive devices

          The materials I am using, e.g. my own materials and / or the page numbers of books:

          I will use a Task-teach-Task approach

          Own materials – emails that I have adapted for the purpose of the lesson

          The aims for my own teaching:

          To ensure a writing lesson is interactive and communicative and that my clarification stage is effective 

          I anticipate the following problems for my student and have planned to overcome them as described below:


          Students are taught that in English sentences have Subject – Verb – Object so missing out a subject or verb seems alien to her

          The highlighting stage will bring this to light and then during the clarification stage I will focus on the technique explaining that it is not necessary when in fact it has been included earlier on in the phrase.  During monitoring I will check she is doing it correctly and help where necessary.

          Variety of conjunctions

          We will be looking at several conjunctions with similar meanings e.g. along with, as well as etc

          I will use patterning to show where and how conjunctions can be used so that she can take home a written record (see above)

          “-ing” form

          Using the finite “–ing” form after “to” is also alien to students who are used to using the infinitive.

          During the clarification stage I will draw her attention to it and remind her that the frame is “in addition to” + “ing” not “in addition” + “to +ing” (see above).

          I find this helps students remember the structure better and causes less confusion


           Procedure for Achieving Learning Outcomes






          Welcome- and check homework


          Warmer- my ideal job.  Using different pictures to elicit jobs and the skills they require.  Discuss which one would be ideal and which skills student thinks they have – can she give examples of these skills in action?  Are there any skills missing?  T makes notes of these to use in speaking extension activity


          Task - T gives S application letter with some simple comprehension questions to check meaning


          Teach – worksheet with guiding questions for s to notice cohesive devices.  Inductive approach so s builds understanding of the devices used in terms of Meaning and Form.


          Task – T asks s to write a job application letter using some of the cohesive devices from the lesson.


          Speaking extension activity – Teacher “interviews” student for the job she’s applied for focusing on the skills identified in 1st task. T records the interview using S’ phone.


          If there’s time T reviews recoding with s otherwise asks S to review for homework. T checks objectives with S, explains homework task, thanks S & ends lesson

          My overall impression of the lesson:

          I am pleased with the way the lesson was structured and carried out as a direct response xxx needs analysis. The learning objectives were clear and she was engaged and felt she’d really learned some useful lexis for writing a successful job application.  She also commented on how useful the job interview was and having it recorded meant she could revisit it several times for language, body posture, paralinguistic features etc.

          The lesson outcomes – were they appropriate/challenging enough? Did I achieve them?

          The lesson outcomes were appropriate and achieved.

          What did the student do well and why?

          Xxx was able to use the language from the Teach section well in the letter writing as she was very motivated by her own personal circumstances.

          What did they have problems with and why?

          Xxx struggled to understand some of the syntax in the inductive as she has language interference from her own L1 and German.

          With hindsight, what would I change and why?

          With hindsight, I would use the previous lesson to prepare the student’s cv as this would have helped her be more prepared for the letter writing and interview.

          Sample Lesson Observation: DOS Feedback

          Observation no: xxx





          Course type:    

          Super Intensive English for Work






          Director of Studies

          Things to continue:

          • Lovely rapport and she was happy to ask you for support
          • Clear objectives for the student for the day’s lesson
          • Lovely reformulation and encouragement
          • Good review of the previous day’s lesson
          • She’s doing most of the talking and work J
          • Meaningful and motivating context
          • Clear lesson staging and flow – moved well from controlled to freer practice
          • Good use of student’s answers from Task 1 in the final interview so it feels as though you’ve really listened to her
          • Lovely idea to record so she has a record of the interview to use again


          Things to consider:

          • A quick focus on some pronunciation issues in the final roundup so she’s aware of the phonemes she can work on
          • I agree with your point on the CV

          Overall comments and suggested points for action

          • A lovely lesson xx which was well planned and staged and focused on xxx needs.  You taught everything using a meaningful context which was relevant and level appropriate for the student.  There was also a clear continuation from previous lessons and she obviously felt comfortable and at ease with you.
          • There was a nice mix of skills development together with the cohesive devices and the proportion of STT to TTT was very appropriate.
          • Thank you very much for providing the materials and the recording.