Listed below are a few benefits that peer observation can have on our teaching. It helps in:
- Providing us with opportunities to reflect on and review our teaching skills with the help of our colleagues, both through observing and being observed in teaching sessions
- Identifying good practice and needs that we can address to ensure our continued personal and professional development
- Assisting us in continuing to learn from each other, towards developing shared understandings of best practices in assessment, learning, and teaching
- Providing us with opportunities to continue to learn from each other, towards developing shared understandings of best practices in assessment, learning, and teaching
- Increasing confidence of all involved, derived from feedback on being observed and good ideas picked up while observing others’ teaching.
BEFORE THE OBSERVATION
Peer observation should occur as frequently as possible, be kept confidential, and encourage all colleagues participating to learn from one another. You must be the focus of attention for peer observation to be effective (the teacher being observed). When creating your own learning agenda, however, you must think carefully and always keep the requirements of the learners in mind.
Consider your own teaching style as well as the requirements of your students. What are your upsides? What are you hoping to get feedback on? If you’re unsure, who could you turn to for help in honing your observation skills?
DURING THE OBSERVATION
If you’re the observer, your job is to keep track of everything that happens during the lesson. The method you pick must capture the data you’ll need for the observation focus and subsequent feedback discussion. Carefully evaluate which recording method to adopt.
For example: ethnographic style, checklists, case study, video camera setup etc.
AFTER THE OBSERVATION
Remember that you are working as peers, so don’t feel obligated to be the expert. Giving the teacher you observed a chance to comment on the lesson first would be a good idea. It might be beneficial to incorporate what you’ve learned into your own teaching practice. You must ensure that the feedback is objective. Instead than focusing on the person, concentrate on the act.
Rather than emphasizing just on what the teacher does during the session, you might want to monitor what the students do. This means that your feedback will be centered on the learners’ behavior.
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