Part 6 of 10. The process from lesson observations through to the appraisal meetings with the teachers

Meet principal Sven-Erik Berg who has created a
systematic process from lesson observations
to the appraisal meetings

This is about how Sven-Erik Berg at Stenbackeskolan in Uddevalla, step by step since 2014, has created his structure to have both insight and overview of the entire learning process that he is responsible for leading. This is about how he has become more and more focused on, and how he can now personally follow, what really takes place in the students’ learning processes.

In 2014, Sven-Erik began to focus more on the entire teaching process. In 2015, he started to use the Swedish School Inspection’s form for lesson observations to analyse what is happening in the classroom, both from the pupils’ and teachers’ perspective. In 2018 he decided on using BRAVOLesson.

The process from classroom visits to appraisal meetings
    – I have chosen to put the form and documentation for the appraisal meetings into BRAVOLesson to ensure that I can make and analyse feedback from these meetings over time. It is also a very good compilation of the professional conversations along with the lesson observation and there is a portfolio for each teacher inside the system. In the conversation, we link it together with the teacher’s own view and outcome. We reflect together and decide on new individual focus areas for what to improve using the objectives module in BRAVOLesson. 


“. . .  it spread in the staff room when several explained that it felt like you were allowed to participate with your own reflections for real.”

Why did you choose BRAVOLesson?
     – When we learned about BRAVOLesson, it seemed obvious to try to create a core school improvement structure. It gives me, as a legally responsible principal, a tool where I can gather all documentation, objectives, planning and fulfillment for each individual teacher,  says Sven-Erik.
    – I myself choose the focus area for each period or term which is then the base for what observation points that we use. In BRAVOLesson I can also add video clips that we then use in the follow-up conversation with the individual teacher, for a team or for all staff..

How was it to get started with BRAVOLesson?
     – After some communication back and forth before the decision, all that was needed were email addresses for all staff and to choose observation forms from BRAVOLesson’s online library. The platform is easy to understand and easy to use. There is a help function inside BRAVOLesson which I sometimes use to understand how to use the different features.
     – During spring I used an observation form that is based mostly on the Swedish School Inspection’s observation form. All teachers have had at least one visit.

How have the teachers reacted to the system and your focus?
     – At first, some teachers were a bit uncertain, but it spread in the staff room when several explained that it felt like you were allowed to participate with your own reflections for real. All teachers have also been video-filmed to watch each other’s films together as part of collaborative learning.

What has BRAVOLesson led to so far – what effect has it had?
     – I myself have experienced my work more professionally. The structure that BRAVOLesson offers helps me to document, plan and follow up on all employees and their learning and development process. I have done lesson visits when I looked at the teachers’ lesson plan in advance and used an observation form that was mostly designed based on the School Inspectorate form. All teachers have had at least one visit. This has given us a more comprehensive pedagogical dialogue that has led to joint decisions on changes in our processes and classrooms.

“This summer I can go on vacation and feel that my pedagogical leadership is in place. It will be clear and easy to start the next school year in August. ”

Principal Sven-Erik at Stenbackeskolan has a single-user licens
He has been inspired by the BRAVOLesson library with observation templates. 

Related Stories

Part 5 of 10. Improve teaching in every classroom by thinking about the dimensions that make a difference

BRAVOLesson blog May 3rd 
All pupils and students deserve fantastic teaching
and all teachers deserve constructive feedback!
That is the core of school improvement.


 A systematic approach to improve teaching. Our ten part series continues – this is part 5.

Few other professionals get so little feedback as Western teachers according to an article in the magazine The Economist. Surveys in Sweden and our market research in other Nordic countries as well as in continental Europe point in the same direction. ***
Part 5 adresses two things, how schools use an observation template and alternative “thinking” that leads to improvements that affect the students’ learning in all classrooms as of the first semester.

The Swedish Schools Inspectorate’s observation template is the most commonly used observation template for lesson observations in Swedish schools. Their template is based on research on what are the dimensions of good teaching – general-didactic qualities.

Many think and work like this
Many people perceive The Swedish Schools Inspectorate’s observation template as very extensive. This means that those who use it often make notes in the observation template around certain parts individually for a teacher, around other parts individually for the next teacher and partly other parts individually for a third teacher. See the illustration below.

Alternative thinking – a more systematic approach

“Now, all teachers at our school / in our municipality will together become really skilled at some of the most important dimensions of good teaching to support the students’ learning. We will focus on one dimension at a time.”

This approach is based on the following conditions and ambitions

  • Collaborative learning is the objective, but at the same time, the principal is legally responsible for ensuring that the teaching is of high quality throughout the school.
  • If feedback to teachers is a neglected area then let us start with what can make a big difference in a short time.
  • To take the first step in a way where we use reasonable amount of time to make sure that it will happen. 

To carry this out you can develop a plan and use different observation templates for how to take one dimension at a time during a couple of academic years. All observations during one semester have a specific focus and another focus during the following semester. Along this route you also move more and more towards individual teacher feedback.

Possible steps – one dimension at a time

  • The structure of teaching – the beginning and the end of the lesson.
  • Teachers’ leadership in the classroom. Without the leadership and strategies for a learning environment “teaching” and learning does not take place.
  • Teachers’ skills around asking student questions.
  • Teachers’ formative approach in the classroom.

You will find examples for all these four areas in our open library with different templates for lesson observations. Templates that all can be selected and used in BRAVOLesson.

It is, among other things, about how you can write a plan for this thinking that you can read about in our Guide to implement a systematic approach to improve teaching. Download it via the button below.

* The Economist (June 11th – 17th). How to make a good teacher.  : 13, 21-24. 2016.
**    Skolledaren/Lärarnas Riksförbunds lärarpanel. Den osynlige rektorn. 2017
**  Successful Schools Swedens/BRAVOLessons undersökning via  Novus. Konstruktiv feedback kring undervisning. 2016 

We hope you will follow our series! It will continue until the summer of 2019 with one new part every two weeks.

Greetings from the BRAVOLesson Team

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