This paper discusses the conceptual considerations that underpin classroom teaching observations within the research methodology for a project on Higher Education English Studies in ordinarily non-Anglophone contexts. The parameters of the broad project are outlined, and the methodological purpose served by classroom teaching observations therein explained. A survey of the various strands of existing classroom research follows, highlighting the relevant aspects of each for this project. A section briefly considers what sort of initial conceptual understanding of the classroom is suitable, and three frameworks – exploiting notions of spatiality, culture and performance – are recommended. How observer-interference in the classroom may be negotiated is briefly considered in the final section.