LTSE Evaluation & Feedback Peer Review of Teaching

Peer Review of Teaching (PRoT)

As reflective educators we are continuously monitoring our students progress and adapting our practice to ensure our students success.

One of the strategies that we can use to assist our reflections is Peer Review of Teaching (PRoT). Peer review of teaching is a deliberate process of evaluating your own teaching practice with the help of a collegial peer.

What is involved?

In short, a conversation, an observation of your teaching practice and a reporting back of what is observed. The key for a successful PRoT is the planning.

Here are some hints for making the most of PRoT

Concentrate on one small area of your teaching or subject delivery that you feel could be improved or is providing challenges for you. Beginning small allows you and your peer to develop a good partnership (Shortland, 2010) where both are comfortable with each other and enables you to achieve an outcome alongside your other responsibilities.

Face-to-face teaching such as lectures, tutorials, and/or workshops can be reinvigorated along with the online aspects such as LearnJCU site structure, videoconference sessions, discussion forums, and learning resources (written, audio, video) and activities.

Take the time to reflect on your teaching and to think about what you would like to achieve, and to identify some of the barriers which might affect your practice. Set some goals and take the time to discuss this with your peer, so that you have a shared understanding.

If possible, partner with someone outside of your discipline. This can help to put, and keep the focus on you and your goals, not the discipline content.

Being individuals we bring different values and experiences to our interactions. This diversity can be a valuable resource that can help us understand the diversity of our student cohort, their experiences and expectations.

Ensure that you and your peer understand the details of the observation, including what, how, when, criteria and expectations, so that you can operate effectively as a partnership to support each other.

Make meetings visual (face-to-face over coffee or video conference). This will help to develop the relationship and enable a more positive environment for discussing the feedback and opportunities for improvement.

Peer observation works best when the feedback is honest and transparent and both partners feel free to acknowledge their feelings, while being open to the message through a shared discussion of experiences and solutions enabling forward movement (Shortland 2010).

At the end of the process reflect on what you have learned and the strategies you have discussed with your peer. From this, develop an implementation plan which should also include any professional development activities you might need to undertake to achieve your goals.

The benefits of peer observation are not restricted to a single instance, in this ever-changing world, learning is a life long journey in which much can be learned and applied. Your best approach is to make peer-to-peer support a regular tactic in your professional development toolkit.

The planning conversation

The initial conversation you have with your peers involves establishing:

  • The Scope of the review. You may want to concentrate on a small area of teaching practice or subject delivery that you feel could be improved or you may want a review of your entire teaching practice.
  • Where/when/how the review will happen and the ground rules such as criteria and expectations.
  • When you will get back together to converse about what was observed and next steps from there.

JCU have developed a PRoT Guide that contains several forms to support you and your collegial peer through the process. The Peer Review of Teaching process:

  • Form A: The Review Plan
  • Form B: The Review
  • Form C: Reflection and Action

The observation or review

This is where your collegial peer records their observations about the part of your teaching practice you agreed on during the planning conversation.

Reporting back

After the observation at an agreed time/place you and your collegial peer will have a collaborative reflective conversation where your collegial peer provides constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Who is a peer?

Collegial peers can be disciplinary and inter-disciplinary colleagues, LTSE colleagues, Heads of Discipline, Learning and Teaching Chair, or Associate Deans of Learning and Teaching.

Consider partnering with someone outside of your discipline, if possible. This will help keep the focus on you and your goals and not the content.

More information

Contact your Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching through the contact page for Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement (LTSE).

Literature

Carbone, A. (2011) Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme, ALTC Fellowship Final Report, https://ltr.edu.au/resources/Carbone_Fellowship_report_2011.pdf

Shortland, . (2010) Feedback within peer observation: continuing professional development and unexpected consequences, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(3), 295-304. doi: 10.1080/14703297.2010.498181.