Why do we have a teaching observation scheme at WMS?
Peer observation of teaching is an important and commonly used mechanism in UK Higher Education to promote effective teaching, provide opportunities for professional development for teachers and to allow institutions to demonstrate teaching quality assurance and enhancement.
Who needs to take part in teaching observations?
Opportunities for teaching observation have been in place at WMS for a number of years. All WMS-based teachers are now required to participate in the peer observation of teaching scheme, which is aligned with the University’s requirements for Peer Dialogue on Teaching. Wider participation now provides an opportunity to enhance our teaching through promoting discussion of teaching and sharing good practice.
How does our teaching observation scheme operate?
Teachers invite a colleague to observe their teaching. The observer sits in on a teaching session; they do not take part in the session. The observer and teacher meet before the session so that the observer understands the context of the teaching. They then meet again afterwards to discuss the session and impact on students’ learning; this is a most important part of the process. Students may be asked to evaluate the teaching so that their feedback can also contribute to the teachers’ discussion.
For some WMS staff, contribution to teaching is met through supervisory activity. In such cases, participation in peer dialogue on supervision fulfils the criteria for participation in the WMS scheme.
How do we use the outcomes of teaching observations to enhance teaching and learning?
The teacher and observer work together to agree next steps for further development. Our peer observations are formative and collaborative and are confidential to the teacher and observer, however, participation in the scheme is monitored by the Education Quality Team.
Suggestions for teacher professional development and examples of good teaching and learning practice are collected and used by the faculty development leads to share good practice with other staff and to enhance support for teaching across WMS.