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Local Peer Observation of Teaching
Local peer observation of teaching provides a framework for formative and summative peer discussion and self-assessment of teaching strategies
At the 2015 summer RTA conference in Pullman, Washington, this working group was tasked with generating a useful and workable system of local (AKA institutional) peer review/observation. The primary goal of this entire process is to enhance teaching.
Our group developed:
Two straightforward instruments designed to facilitate the peer observation process
A set of guiding principles, or best practices, to facilitate implementation of local peer observation
Emphasis is placed on “observation/reflection” rather than “evaluation” of teaching. We have attempted to navigate the narrow passage between a useful, expedient system of peer observation and yet another unsolicited mandate on faculty time and creativity.
The two instruments we created include one for didactic lectures, laboratories and discussions, and the other for clinical and small group teaching. These instruments are comprised of three subcomponents focused on a pre-observation meeting, the actual observation of teaching itself, followed by a post-observation discussion. The instruments are designed to be both formative and summative, to both assist the maturation of instructors and to provide a focused synopsis of their teaching acumen.
We developed a set of best practices to guide implementation of local peer observation. We are aware that adoption of a local peer observation process is institution-specific. What works for one institution will not necessarily work as well at a different school.