Over-the-shoulder conferences are not replacements for formal conferences at the teacher's desk, nor for the disciplinary conference outside the door, but rather are brief, less-structured encounters. Over-the-shoulder conferences, loosely defined as the teacher interacting about reading material with a student at the student's seat, are neither unique nor novel. Nearly all teachers have worked with students in this manner. However, few teachers seem to make use of over-the-shoulder conferences in a systematic fashion which maximizes their effectiveness.
Mason, G. E., & Arthur, S. V. (1980). The Over-the-Shoulder Conference: Teaching as Children Read. Reading Horizons, 20 (4). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol20/iss4/4