Sunday, November 22, 2009

Peer Observation

A reflective approach to teaching involves changes in the way teachers perceive teaching and their role in the process of teaching. Teachers who explore their own teaching through critical reflection develop changes in attitudes and awareness which they believe can benefit their professional growth as teachers, as well as improve the kind of support they provide their students. Reflective analysis of teaching is a valuable tool for self-evaluation and professional growth. Reflective teaching suggests that experience alone is insufficient for professional growth, but that experience coupled with reflection can be a powerful impetus for teacher development. Here is an approach to critical reflection.

Peer observation can provide opportunities for teachers to view each other’s teaching in order to expose them to different teaching styles and to provide opportunities for critical reflection on their own teaching. The following guidelines can be followed.

1. Each participant would both observe and be observed

Teachers would work in pairs and take turns observing each other’s classes.

2. Pre-observation orientation session

Prior to each observation, the two teachers would meet to discuss the nature of the class to be observed, the kind of material being taught, the teachers’ approach to teaching, the kinds of students in the class, typical patterns of interaction and class participation, and any problems that might be expected. The teacher being observed would also assign the observer a goal for the observation and a task to accomplish.

The task would involve collecting information about some aspect of the lesson, but would not include any evaluation of the lesson. Observation procedures or instruments to be used would be agreed upon during this session and a schedule for the observations arranged.

3. The observation

The observer would then visit his or her partner’s class and complete the observation using the procedures that both partners had agreed on.

4. Post-observation

The two teachers would meet as soon as possible after the lesson. The observer would report on the information that had been collected and discuss it with the teacher

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