What is peer observation?
Many universities have set up a peer observation scheme for their academic staff, as a means of encouraging colleagues to share their practice. The choice of peers is significant. It is believed that the most honest and open exchange of ideas will take place when both participants are in much the same position, and where the focus is on finding ways to develop rather than on making final judgements about competence. The developmental nature of peer observation may be particularly useful for established staff.
Usually participants will work in pairs, and each will observe the other 's teaching and will discuss it, usually beforehand and certainly afterwards.
Some principles to guide peer observation
The following principles help to make peer observation productive for all concerned:
The purpose of peer observation is to assist in the evaluation and development of teaching and learning approaches, not to make absolute judgements about teaching quality Observation will focus on whether teaching is likely to result in effective student learning All processes will be agreed between participants before observation commences Any outcomes of observation, whether spoken or written, are confidential between pairs of participants, unless both agree to make some or all of the outcomes public.
The description of the observation process earlier in this document is equally applicable to peer observation