Peer Observation and Review

Peer Observation and Review

I've been involved with the University of Auckland Business School's Peer Review Panel for the last few years. This is a small group of folks who are recognised as effective teachers, who go and sit in on other folks classes and then offer some feedback.  

This has been awesome!  Lots of work but awesome.  I have learnt so much about teaching by watching other people teach.  I can honestly say that it doesn't matter if the person I am watching is good, average, mediocre or even terrible.  I learn something from everyone I watch. 

Our process is to meet with the person who has requested the review/observation to discuss how it works and see what they are hoping to get out of it.  We then attend the session we are observing.  Afterwards we meet up for a debrief and work on a report together.

This works really well and I have got a lot of value out of it.  Initially when I joined the panel I thought that the flow of knowledge would be generally one way - from me to the reviewee but in reality the process of observation and review has taught me lots.  

I have found it really useful to see things from a student's perspective.  This has improved my own performance as it has reinforced, to me, the importance of getting the basics right.  For example, testing that the microphone works.  A lot of folks don't do this and sometimes our students can't really hear what the lecturer is saying but feel too shy to point it out.

I also make a point of getting a few folks to come and observe me as I think I should practice what I preach!

It has also increased my network of folks that I talk to about teaching.  The more folks I talk to about teaching the better.  I think it improves my understanding of the issues we encounter.

So my recommendation is go and ask a colleague to come and watch you teach.  Or even better, go and observe a colleague.  You are guaranteed to learn something either way!

Time to CMALT!

Time to CMALT!