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Peer observation of teaching
Peer observation of teaching
A ‘‘collaborative, developmental activity in which professionals
   offer mutual support by observing each other teach;
   explaining and discussing what was observed; sharing ideas
   about teaching; gathering student feedback on teaching
   effectiveness; reflecting on understandings, feelings, actions
   and feedback and trying out new ideas’’.
(Bell, 2005, p. 3)
Used in different contexts
 for different purposes
             • as a developmental tool in the
               training of new teachers or in
               continuous professional
               development;
             • as a management tool for quality
               monitoring or evaluation of
               teachers by their line manager 
               it can be felt to be
               uncomfortable, intrusive or to
               curtail academic freedom.
             • In the context of continuous
               professional learning, then, some
               warn that POT should be
               designed to be “non-judgemental
               and developmental rather than
               evaluative and externally
               required” (Lomas and
               Nicholls, 2005, Hatzipanagos and
               Lygo‐Baker, 2006)
The developmental nature of POT
• For Cosh (1998)
  observation is “an
  invaluable form of staff
  development”, which
  can play an important
  part in ensuring that
  teachers don’t become
  “isolated and
  routinized”, enabling
  teachers to gain
  exposure to other
  teaching styles and
  approaches.
POT in the context of
     blended teaching and learning?
• POT needs to be extended to other media where
  teaching takes place
• It should cover areas such as curriculum
  design, the creation of teaching materials, online
  teaching , and the whole range of what teachers
  do to support learners. (Hatzipanagos and Lygo-
  Baker 2006, Bennett and Barp, 2008 Swinglehurst
  et al, 2008).

• In the context of the OU? In the context of LORO?
POT as “a social tool to enhance
 teaching practice”. (Peel 2005)
                Bell and Mladenovic (2008)
                  highlight the collaborative
                  aspect of POT: sharing
                  enabled participants to
                  have a wider view, as it
                  encompassed issues raised
                  by others; they found it
                  reassuring to compare their
                  strengths and weaknesses
                  with those of others, as
                  often there were issues
                  relevant to the cohort as a
                  whole. Sharing also might
                  have also given teachers
                  other ideas that they could
                  try out in their teaching.
LORO?
• What are the issued around the social and
  collaborative aspects of peer observation in
  the context of LORO?
  – emailing author
  – commenting
  – writing collaboratively
  – reusing and adapting someone else’s resources?
The role of the observer
•   Peel (2005) points out that it is often
    difficult to engage in critical thinking on
    an individual basis. In POT, the role of
    the observer in promoting reflection is
    critical.
•   A ‘critical helper’ can provide a mirror
    onto our teaching, and help us
    understand and question our ideas and
    practices. Brookfield’s (1987)
•   The observer provides feedback which
    can “act as a catalyst in building
    relationships through the development of
    empathy, respect and trust. The
    objective of successful peer observation
    is to harness the insight of critical friends
    to promote personal and professional
    development on a continuing basis,
    within a supportive framework
    (Shortland, 2010).

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Peer observation of teaching

  • 2. Peer observation of teaching A ‘‘collaborative, developmental activity in which professionals offer mutual support by observing each other teach; explaining and discussing what was observed; sharing ideas about teaching; gathering student feedback on teaching effectiveness; reflecting on understandings, feelings, actions and feedback and trying out new ideas’’. (Bell, 2005, p. 3)
  • 3. Used in different contexts for different purposes • as a developmental tool in the training of new teachers or in continuous professional development; • as a management tool for quality monitoring or evaluation of teachers by their line manager  it can be felt to be uncomfortable, intrusive or to curtail academic freedom. • In the context of continuous professional learning, then, some warn that POT should be designed to be “non-judgemental and developmental rather than evaluative and externally required” (Lomas and Nicholls, 2005, Hatzipanagos and Lygo‐Baker, 2006)
  • 4. The developmental nature of POT • For Cosh (1998) observation is “an invaluable form of staff development”, which can play an important part in ensuring that teachers don’t become “isolated and routinized”, enabling teachers to gain exposure to other teaching styles and approaches.
  • 5. POT in the context of blended teaching and learning? • POT needs to be extended to other media where teaching takes place • It should cover areas such as curriculum design, the creation of teaching materials, online teaching , and the whole range of what teachers do to support learners. (Hatzipanagos and Lygo- Baker 2006, Bennett and Barp, 2008 Swinglehurst et al, 2008). • In the context of the OU? In the context of LORO?
  • 6. POT as “a social tool to enhance teaching practice”. (Peel 2005) Bell and Mladenovic (2008) highlight the collaborative aspect of POT: sharing enabled participants to have a wider view, as it encompassed issues raised by others; they found it reassuring to compare their strengths and weaknesses with those of others, as often there were issues relevant to the cohort as a whole. Sharing also might have also given teachers other ideas that they could try out in their teaching.
  • 7. LORO? • What are the issued around the social and collaborative aspects of peer observation in the context of LORO? – emailing author – commenting – writing collaboratively – reusing and adapting someone else’s resources?
  • 8. The role of the observer • Peel (2005) points out that it is often difficult to engage in critical thinking on an individual basis. In POT, the role of the observer in promoting reflection is critical. • A ‘critical helper’ can provide a mirror onto our teaching, and help us understand and question our ideas and practices. Brookfield’s (1987) • The observer provides feedback which can “act as a catalyst in building relationships through the development of empathy, respect and trust. The objective of successful peer observation is to harness the insight of critical friends to promote personal and professional development on a continuing basis, within a supportive framework (Shortland, 2010).