Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Peer observation of teaching

Kelly Farrell
Take a long talk from a sure peer
Teachers must look to each other for honest evaluation, writes Kelly Farrell in the Higher Education Supplement, The Australian, September 19, 2007

University teachers who undertake this process are often surprised that, while they benefited from being reviewed, it was the opportunity to observe, discuss and reflect on their colleagues' teaching that really allowed them to critically reflect on their own teaching and consequently resulted in valuable insights and ideas for their practice

Good teaching is essential to the success of our students.

Peer observation of teaching sessions is gaining attention in universities around the world.

The objective is to develop excellent learning opportunities for students, by using feedback from colleagues who are themselves involved in similar teaching situations.

Feedback from students is already a routine aspect of academic life. SPOT and SURF are well established and they provide valuable feedback to teachers.

Peer observation of teaching will add an expert level of feedback and may also provide material for teaching portfolios and applications for promotion.

The model for our Faculty is based on a formative process, which involves several colleagues working together to develop methods of good teaching practice.

Peer review has been a feature of the research and publication aspects of university life for many years, so it is consistent that teaching should also be peer reviewed.