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Peer Observation of Teaching Guidelines and Procedures

Peer Observation of Teaching

The Faculty of Business and Economics will start Peer Observation of Teaching in 2011. All academic staff at all levels will participate in this programme. Information from peer observation of teaching should assist in better informed, more systematic decisions and procedures to help FBE academic staff improve their teaching. Peer observation of teaching helps academic staff examine their teaching for the purposes of self-improvement. Evaluation of teaching at USP is based mainly on student evaluation of courses, this is an alternative. 

At the Faculty Management retreat it was decided to implement formative type of peer observation of teaching. This is for the purpose of ongoing improvement of teaching. This is the professional obligation of all academic staff.

Summative peer observation of teaching on the other hand is to provide evidence to support claims for promotion or course evaluation. This needs to be planned carefully. Peer observation can provide very useful information for staff observation. However in the first few years formative peer observation of teaching will be implemented.

Purpose of Peer Evaluation

  • Helps academic staff examine their teaching for purposes of self improvement
  • Improves the quality of education our students receive
  • Peer observation is one way faculty can document what it is we do as teachers. We have to be accountable and transparent with what we do as teachers
  • Peer observation adds professionalism to the process of evaluating teaching

How does peer observation work?

    • Number of Sessions
    • A minimum of one session per semester
    • Whose teaching will be observed ?
    • All staff with teaching responsibilities
    • Policy on participation
    • It is mandatory
    • Who observations?
    • You choose your own peer observer
      • Could be staff from your own school
      • Staff from different area or school eg for a professor – another professor from another school
      • The Head of School will see that every member of his school has a observer. This list should be submitted to the AD (L&T)
      • The observation is non-reciprocal
    • What sort of teaching/learning is going to be observed? (All forms of teaching can be observed)
    • it could be classroom based
    • it could be a tutorial
    • it could be a laboratory session (SAFT)
    • it could be learning materials, DFL materials, on-line materials
    • design of a course
    • evaluation of a course
    • Pre-meeting with the observer
    • this is to explain context and objectives and to agree on the focus for the observation
    • Feedback agenda
    • Plan date, time and duration of observation and plan for a post-observation meeting to get feedback
    • Feedback should be constructive, focused, supportive and developmental
    • The peer observer must use the template for recording observations and suggestions
    • Post-observation meeting
    • At this meeting on feedback discussion aspects of good practice and development needs will be shared
    • Peer observers role – to assist person observed – in process of observation and reflection and with view of highlighting good practice
    • Peer observation is not a reciprocal process throughout
    • Template/form
    • Be very honest about the session you taught. 
    • Role of Head of School
    • At the end of the semester, HOS collates a record of peer observations a record of peer observations completed by staff. Record includes:
    • Date of observation, location
    • Names of staff observing
    • Names of observed
    • Nature of session – lecture, seminar, tutorials, practicals
    • HOS should compile and share anonymous summary of general areas of good practice and development needs
    • HOS will submit to AD (L&T)
    • Confidentiality must be maintained at all times.
    • Role of AD (L&T) –Closing the loop
    • Notes and addresses development needs
    • Produces report on implementation of peer observation of teaching for consideration of Faculty of Business and Economics
    • Confidentiality must be maintained at all times

Download Peer Observation of Teaching Form


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Page last updated: Friday, July 29, 2011
Faculty of Business and Economics
The University of the South Pacific
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Suva, Fiji.
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