Peer Observation for Teaching and Learning

Guidance

The presentations linked below give guidance on how to approach and prepare for your observation, whether your role is observer or observee. There is also a link to a list of useful prompt questions to use during the session, for discussion following the session, and for programme teams to set aims for peer observation.

Observation Forms

The University Teaching Academy has designed a range of observation forms to facilitate taking notes and preparing for conversation about the observed session. The choice of forms, or whether to use another way of recording notes, should be agreed in programme teams to suit the objectives of the programme action plan. It should be borne in mind that some participants may wish to use feedback, or examples of their own observation notes, in claims for professional recognition, and this may influence the choice of form.

Non-teaching activities:

Note: for the purposes of the guidance, any of these will be described as a ‘session’ regardless of the actual nature of the activity. Sessions could include but are not limited to:

  • Development  of personal tutoring systems and the activity of personal tutoring
  • Field trip or other external event            
  • Laboratory or practical class      
  • Lecture, seminar or tutorial       
  • Online course delivery  
  • Programme review and approval activity
  • Review of learning resources     
  • Unit or programme assessment and feedback strategies
  • Unit or programme documentation       
  • Webinar

Examples

The following video follows a member of staff, Rachel Forsyth from UTA, through an observation procedure, showing a pre-observation briefing, the observation itself and the subsequent discussion between reviewer and participant. Rachel has also made available for download her reflection on the observation and the session plan. Rachel says "this example is just an honest account of what happened in a scheduled session which happened to be the only one my observer and the film producer could manage. I’ve shared it to try to demystify peer observations and to show the benefit to both the observer and to the person being observed. It’s not intended to be a perfect session plan, session, or reflection."

 

This film features a different observation, of Dr Paul Smith, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry & Environmental Science delivering a lecture. It also shows the pre-observation discussion, part of the taught session, followed by verbal feedback: