Thevalueofpeerobservation

13 days ago
Description.

English subtitle

This presentation is about peer
observation of teaching practice. Please
do email me or contact me by Twitter if
you want to discuss any aspect of it.
As part of our professional development we are all keen to seek feedback about the
effectiveness of our teaching, and to
continually develop our skills as
educators. This will involve a conscious
audit process to compare our current
performance with a particular aim, or
gold standard. We can get information for
this review, reflect, and revise step in a
number of ways: for example, we can
measure the learning gain of our
students by monitoring their performance
in assessments. We can also review
quantitative and qualitative evaluations
of our teaching by students and use our
own reflections on teaching events.
But for really detailed, qualitative
feedback and evidence-based guidance,
I want to advocate the use of a systematic Peer Observation method .
Within communities of educational practice, engagement in peer observation enhances
both teaching quality and enjoyment and
confidence for teachers. It's useful for
all teachers, from novices to curriculum
leaders. Having our own teaching observed
by a trusted colleague can provide us
with essential feedback, and observing
others will allow us to consider new
teaching methods and teaching styles and
new ideas. This quotation from a
colleague sums up the advantages:
'through practice, reflection, and with the help of feedback from our peers, we can enhance
the quality of teaching and the
experience of teachers.' There are a
number of things to consider when
planning peer observation, and the rest
of this presentation will be about the
venue and focus of your observations, and
the systematic documentation of the peer
review process.
It will also be about peer partners and
reciprocal approaches. The principles for
giving and receiving feedback will be
considered in a linked presentation.
So far, images of undergraduate lecture
theatres have been used in my slides and
a classic fifty to sixty minute lecture is a
straightforward event to observe and to
receive feedback on, but almost any other
teaching and learning event
is also a good context for peer
observation such as, problem-based
learning and other small group tutorials,
clinical skill sessions,
anatomy teaching, also clinical
placements and workplace-based teaching,
and even assessments. One thing to be
sensitive of however, is that the smaller
the venue or group is, the bigger the
impact of the observer will be.
Peer observation should be an active process for the teacher being observed.
The choice of venue and the focus of the
observation and the paperwork used
should fit with the observees personal
CPD plan. I don't want to be overly
prescriptive here, but here are some
ideas and questions that the observee may
want the observer to focus on: preparation
and organizational skills.
How well-prepared is the teacher with
respect to their teaching materials and
understanding the wider curriculum. Does
the teacher consider knowledge
construction i.e., do they use stepwise
delivery and link new information to prior
knowledge? Is the content and pace
appropriate? And does the teacher avoid
cognitive overload? Are the students
engaged and focused? Is there evidence of
active learning through the use of tests
and questions. For small group
facilitation such as PBL - are
interventions timely and well judged by
the tutor?
The observee may also want detailed
feedback on handouts or link learning
resources, particularly, if they're
engaged in flipped lecturing. The
objectives and observations collected
from the peer observation process should
be documented in a systematic way.
The forms useful for data feedback
conversations and they'll ultimately be
used for the teachers CPD portfolio. Here
is an example of a typical form but many
other models exist. There are many ways
that a peer observation culture can be
encouraged within module and faculty
teams. But one method that I have always
encouraged for modules that I lead is
reciprocal peer observation. With this
approach, teachers pair up for one
academic year and observe each other's
chosen teaching sessions. They then meet to have an open and honest discussion
about their experiences and pedagogy. I
do want to emphasize the supportive and
enjoyable aspects of peer observation, at
this point. Its strength depends on a
safe, formative and reflective process. At
its heart, the process stems from a
professional relationship with a
colleague and critical friend, and it can
result in the generous exchange of
practical, educational and philosophical
ideas with the potential for growth and
development. It is important to maintain
an appropriate boundary with your
colleague so that the whole process is
professionally useful and valid. This has
been referred to as the appropriate
psychological distance. Anyone who's been an appraiser, or contributed to 360
degree appraisal, will understand this
notion. So here's a summary of the
process of reciprocal peer observation -
Number one: identify a colleague and
agree arrangements. Number two:
be clear about what you want the focus
of your observation to be. Number three:
attend each other's sessions and document
them. And number four: Meet up to reflect
and discuss your observations.
When offering feedback, be that written, or face to face, any suggestion should be
specific and constructive? Do focus on
learning and teaching and do share ideas,
knowledge and resources. In summary, there are a number of practical considerations
to manage and encourage peer observation.
It is widely adopted across all
educational settings because it's a
powerful and supportive technique to use
as part of annual continuous
professional development.