Classroom Observation and Feedback by Peers

We ask peers to review our research and writing, but why not our teaching?  While classroom observation – in real time or video – is intimidating, when conducted thoughtfully, peer observation and feedback provides an invaluable opportunity for reflection and new teaching ideas.

Getting Started

Deciding who will observe

  • Take time to select a peer that best matches the kind of feedback you need
  • For feedback on course materials, a peer in your field can provide invaluable feedback on the content and organization
  • For feedback on teaching and classroom observation, a peer who is not necessarily in your field but is non-judgmental and supportive would be best

Establishing a Plan

  • Meet with your peer to discuss your goals for the observation
  • Establish ground rules for constructive feedback
  • Have your peer observe your teaching at least twice over the course of time
  • Arrange for a dedicated feedback session
  • Take time to reflect on the feedback and plan for implementing changes

Selecting a Focus

  • Choose a specific area or two on which you would like to focus
  • Possible classroom observation choices might include: how conducive is the physical classroom environment for learning; how well is class material organized; what type of interactions take place between faculty and students
  • To get a comprehensive view of your teaching, you would ideally get feedback on several facets over a period of time.

Selecting documentation

  • While many do not like to see or hear themselves on recordings, videotaping provides the opportunity to review teaching practices and validate feedback
  • Some combination of checklists, rating scales and written analysis can help to initially collect and summarize information