Peer Observation of Teaching Process
Peer observation is the process of an instructor being observed by a colleague with the purpose of encouraging his/her professional growth in the field of teaching and learning. The process can enhance teaching practices, build collaboration and collegiality, and improve the quality of instruction and educational experience for our students
Several factors guided our efforts to establish a peer observation of teaching process at WKU:
- Improve student success by providing a mechanism for improving the quality of teaching and student learning on campus.
- Create a standard for teaching performance using establishing benchmarks supported by empirical evidence.
- Expand the evaluation of teaching beyond SITE evaluations.
- Promote collegiality and collaboration within academic units. Such efforts can highlight individual strengths and identify areas where resources could be allocated for improvement within the unit.
- Provide a source of innovation through the sharing and dissemination of unique and effective techniques and strategies within and across departments.
- Successful observations are primarily used as a formative process, as opposed to a summative/evaluative process, to assist instructors as they grow in their understanding and application of teaching principles.
- Observed instructors should have full control over the use of observation data. They may they elect to use it as a part of their promotion and tenure file, annual review, and/or to develop a teaching improvement plan.
- Instructors should use peer observations along with other data points, such as student evaluations, to evaluate their teaching skills and overall effectiveness. Instructors can demonstrate their teaching skills by triangulating different sources of data/information.
- It is important to have a trusting collegial relationship between the Observer and the Instructor to ensure the process is a positive learning experience for the Instructor and successfully nurtures his/her teaching skills.
If you or your department is interested in participating in the Peer Observation process, please contact CITL to get started.