Implementing Departmental Peer Observation of Teaching in Universities
We begin this chapter with a brief review of peer observation and the many benefits it brings. These include not only the direct benefit to the observee of the observer’s feedback but also less tangible benefits such as the reinforcement of collegial culture, and the opportunity for academics from diverse cultures to learn new approaches as well as to share their own traditions. We then present practical guidelines for implementing a departmental peer observation program, emphasising some key elements such as the benefit of preparatory workshops; getting participation from senior management; and integration with existing administrative protocols such as promotion processes. We also discuss some traps to be avoided, such as allowing the wrong impression to form about the purpose of the process.
KeywordsAcademic Staff Early Career Senior Staff Scholarly Community Departmental Program
The authors thank the academic staff members who took part in the original Peer Observation Partnership program in the School of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Wollongong.
- Bell, M. (2012). Peer observation partnerships in higher education, 2nd edn. Milperra, NSW: Higher Educational Research and Development Society of Australasia.Google Scholar
- Bell, M., & Cooper, P. (2012). “Peer observation of teaching in university departments: A framework for implementation.” International Journal for Academic Development, 1–14.Google Scholar
- Bell, M., Gyamtso, D., Raika, N.B. et al. (2011). Student-centred learning at the Royal University of Bhutan. HERDSA Conference, Melbourne, Australia, HERDSA.Google Scholar
- Bennett, S., & Barp, D. (2008). “Peer observation—a case for doing it online.” Teaching in Higher Education, 13(5), 559–570.Google Scholar
- Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-BassGoogle Scholar
- Bryman, A. (2007). “Effective leadership in higher education: a literature review.” Studies in Higher Education, 32(6), 693–710.Google Scholar
- British Council. (2008). “How do you feel about being observed?” http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/polls/teacher-observation. Accessed 8 Sept 2012.
- Crisp, G., Sadler, R., et al. (2009). Peer review of teaching for promotion purposes: A project to develop and implement a pilot program of external peer review of teaching in four Australian universities. Adelaide: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.Google Scholar
- Dzakiria, H., Halim, A., Hisham, B., Malek, Z. A., & Said, S. N. (2007). ‘It is empowering…’ teachers’ voices on action research using Flanders’ Interactional Analysis Categories (FIAC) for peer observation to improve teaching and learning of English language. The Second Biennial International Conference on Teaching and Learning of English in Asia: Exploring New Frontiers (TELiA2), 14–16 June 2007, Holiday Villa Beach & Spa Resort, Langkawi: 1–20.Google Scholar
- Fernandez-Chung, R. M. (2009). Peer observation as a mechanism to identify and promote quality teaching ini higher education. What Works Conference on Quality of teaching in higher education. Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Istanbul, Turkey: 1–10.Google Scholar
- Fischer, M. (2009). Defending collegiality change. The magazine of higher learning, 41(3), 20–25.Google Scholar
- Fullan, M. G. (1991). The new meaning of educational change. London: Cassell.Google Scholar
- Fullan, M., & Scott, G. (2009). Turnaround leadership for higher education. San Francisco: Jossey Bass/Wiley.Google Scholar
- Gosling, D. (2002). “Models of Peer Observation of Teaching.” Learning and teaching support network. http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/resource_database/id200_Models_of_Peer_Observation_of_Teaching. Accessed 9 Feb 2012.
- Gosling, D. (2011). “Peer Review of Teaching.” http://www.davidgosling.net/default.asp?iId=KEMFL. Accessed 9 Feb 2012.
- Gosling, D., & O’Connor, K. M. (Eds). (2009). Beyond peer observation of teaching. SEDA Paper 124. London, Staff and Educational Development Association.Google Scholar
- Gyamtso, D., & Maxwell, T. (2012). “Present practices and background to teaching and learning at the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB): A pilot study.” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 24(1), 65–75.Google Scholar
- Hammersley-Fletcher, L., & Orsmond, P. (2004). “Evaluating our peers: Is peer observation a meaningful process?” Studies in Higher Education, 29(4), 489–503.Google Scholar
- Handal, G. (1999). “Consultation using critical friends.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 79(Fall), 59–57.Google Scholar
- Harris, K.-L., Farrell, K., et al. (2008). Peer review of teaching in Australian higher education: A handbook to support institutions in developing and embedding effective policies and practices. Melbourne, University of Melbourne, University of Wollongong and ALTC.Google Scholar
- Indonesia Australia Language Foundation (2006). “IALF presents at Teacher Training seminar in Singapore.” IALF News 17 August. http://www.ialf.edu/news/august06page2.html. Accessed 23 Feb 2012.
- Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, F. P. (1991). Joining together. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Kemmis, S., & McTaggart, R. (Eds.). (1988). The action research planner. Perth: Deakin University.Google Scholar
- Knight, P. T., & Trowler, P. R. (2010). “Development-level cultures and the improvement of learning and teaching.” Studies in higher education, 25(1), 69–83.Google Scholar
- Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Kolb, D. A., & Fry, R. (1975). Toward an applied theory of experiential learning. In C. Cooper (Ed.), Theories of Group Process. London: WileyGoogle Scholar
- Lewin, K. (1946). “Action research and minority problems.” Journal of Social Issues, 2(4), 34–46.Google Scholar
- Marginson, S., & Considine, M. (2000). The enterprise university: Power, governance and reinvention in Australia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Martin, E., Trigwell, K., et al. (2003). “Variation in the experience of leadership of teaching in higher education.” Studies in Higher Education, 28, 247–259.Google Scholar
- Martin, G. A., & Double, J. M. (1998). “Developing higher education teaching skills through peer observation and collaborative reflection.” Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 35(2), 161–170Google Scholar
- McMahon, T., Barrett, T., et al. (2007). “Using observation of teaching to improve quality: Finding your way through the muddle of competing conceptions, confusion of practice and mutually exclusive intentions.” Teaching in Higher Education, 12(4), 499–511.Google Scholar
- Osterman, K. F., & Kottkamp, R. B. (1993). Reflective practice for educators. USA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to teach in higher education. London: RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar
- Schapper, J., & Mayson, S. (2005). Managerialism, internationalisation, taylorization and the deskilling of academic work: Evidence from an Australian University.In P. Ninnes & M. Hellsten (Eds), Internationalizing Higher Education: Critical Explorations of Pedagogy and policy (pp. 181–198). Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong.Google Scholar
- Scott, G., Coates, H. et al. (2008). Learning leaders in times of change: academic leadership capabilities for Australian higher education. Sydney.Google Scholar
- Shortland, S. (2004). “Peer observation: a tool for staff development or compliance?.” Journal of Further and Higher Education, 28(2), 219–228.Google Scholar
- Simons, H. (1987). Getting to know schools in a democracy: The politics and process of evaluation. London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, P. B., Buckle, A., et al. (2012). “Peer observation of teaching as a faculty development tool.” BMC Medical Education, 12(26): 26. http://www.biomedcentral.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/1472-6920/1412/1426.
- Swinglehurst, D., Russell, J., et al. (2008). “Peer observation of teaching in the online environment: an action research approach.” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24(5), 383–393.Google Scholar
- Webb, J., & McEnerney, K. (1995). “The View from the Back of the Classroom: A Faculty-Based Peer Observation Program.” Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 6(3), 145–160.Google Scholar
- University of Wollongong. (2009). “Peer Review of Teaching at UOW Information Sheet”. http://www.uow.edu.au/asd/PeerReview/informationsheet/index.html. Accessed 24 Nov 2012.
- University of Wollongong Dubai. (2009). “UOWD establishes new Professional Development Centre”. http://www.uowdubai.ac.ae/news/index.php?action=view&id=366. Accessed 5 Sept 2011.