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The Transparent Teacher: Taking Charge of Your Instruction with Peer-Collected Classroom Data

ISBN: 978-1-118-48717-4
176 pages
March 2013, Jossey-Bass
The Transparent Teacher: Taking Charge of Your Instruction with Peer-Collected Classroom Data (1118487176) cover image


A new paradigm for teachers to open their classrooms and cultivate deep professional learning

Teaching is an isolating profession. Most educators receive minimal feedback on their craft, typically limited to one or two short visits from the administrator each year. While some schools do encourage their teachers to observe peers, the usual protocol is for new teachers to watch the veteran, exemplary educators, but those less experienced educators could benefit immensely from having peers observe them in action.

Teacher-Driven Observation is unique in that it places the observed teacher as leader of the work, the one who identifies a personal area for development, engages her colleagues in the collection of classroom data, and utilizes the data collected to inform her ongoing instruction.

  • Offers a new model for collecting data to inform and improve individual instruction
  • Includes a step-by-step process for implementing Teacher-Driven Observations
  • Contains a comprehensive case study that clearly demonstrates the value of the Teacher-Driven Observation model

This book outlines and illustrates a step-by-step process for breaking down professional isolation and cultivating opportunities for meaningful learning through the Teacher-Driven Observation process.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors v

Acknowledgments vii

Foreword xi

Introduction 1


1 Teacher-Driven Observation for Professional Learning 11

2 Preparing for Teacher-Driven Observation 25


3 The Preobservation Meeting 41

4 The Observation 59

5 The Postobservation Debriefing 75


6 Figuring Out the Logistics 93

7 For Principals: How to Implement and Sustain Teacher-Driven Observation 107

8 Teacher-Driven Observation in Action 125

Epilogue: Professional Learning Communities and Teacher-Driven Observation 143

Chapter Summaries and Study Questions 149

Notes 157

Index 159

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Author Information

Trent E. Kaufman, Ed.D., is a principal at Education Direction, a firm focused on improving student outcomes through professional development, school transformation, and strategic planning for states, districts, and individual schools (www.EdDirection.com).

Emily Dolci Grimm is a principal at Education Direction. She has helped hundreds of schools and districts improve student outcomes by implementing the principles found in The Transparent Teacher.

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Press Release

February 26, 2013
The Transparent Teacher: Taking Charge of Your Instruction with Peer-Collected Classroom Data

The Transparent Teacher 

By Trent Kaufman & Emily Grimm 

San Francisco, CA – While teaching is an inherently public profession, it’s one of the few that involves the consistent gaze of dozens of sets of curious eyes because classrooms are remarkably isolate silos.  The walls and closed doors do more than contain the boisterous chatter of students; they create physical and metaphorical barriers that obstruct the deep examining of instruction.  How can teachers be expected to improve when the feedback they get is limited to one or two quick visits from the principal each year? 

THE TRANSPARENT TEACHER (February 2013, Jossey-Bass, available in ebook format) identifies and addresses the fundamental challenges to improving teaching and learning.  It shows administrators, staff developers, and individual teachers how to implement “Teacher-Driven Observations,” a new system through which teachers observe one another, gather data, and engage in conversations that improve instructional practice.

 “When professional learning opportunities exist outside of a teacher’s own classrooms, a teacher encounters the challenge of transferring learning from a training session to the classroom context.  Even more problematic, as teachers apply their learning in their classrooms, they are rarely given focused opportunities to practice and refine their new strategies,” notes Dr. Trent Kaufman, co-author of THE TRANSPARENT TEACHER.  “We know deliberate practice is a critical piece of all learning and yet, teachers’ professional development is nearly void of this essential component.”

Practical and comprehensive, the book outlines the three steps of the Teacher-Driven Observation process and provides protocols and templates that equip teachers and school leaders with the capacity and tools to improve professional learning through peer-collected classroom data.  The replicable practices and real-life examples illustrated in the book provide principals and teachers insight into how they can use TDO in their buildings and classrooms to cultivate improvements in teaching and student learning and equips all education stakeholders who want to improve teaching and learning with the tools to do so. 

Co-author Emily Dolci Grimm explains the role of Teacher-Driven Observation (TDO), the peer observation process outlined in the book, in addressing this critical need.   “When teachers are equipped to lead the collection of data in their own classrooms through Teacher-Driven Observation, they are simultaneously empowered to focus in on areas of learning that are immediately relevant to their daily instruction.  TDO creates the space for teachers to examine their instruction in the context of their own classrooms, moving professional development closer to their daily work.”

THE TRANSPARENT TEACHER offers a new paradigm for teachers to open their classrooms to cultivate deep professional learning.  It’s the must-have book who anyone wants to improve their instruction and gain an understanding of the benefits of Teacher Driven Observation.

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