EffectiveTeaching: Peer Observation

Developed by Olga Boltneva.

Professional development — An on-going effort and learning process undertaken by individuals (teachers) to improve their teaching and other professional skills

Effectiveness — Degree to which objectives are achieved and the extent to which targeted problems are resolved.

PORTRAIT OF AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER
  1. Personal qualities: humor, flexibility, dependability, empathy, curiosity, friendliness, leadership, active listening, peacemaking, positive attitude, fairness, consistency, self-discipline
  2. Classroom organization: self-access corner, readers’ corner, U or 4desks arrangement, students’ works displays, posters, artifacts, background music.
  3. Teaching techniques: ICT, creative and critical thinking, problem solving, questioning, task-based learning, student-centeredness, collaborating through pair/group/team work, constructive discipline through teambuilding.
  4. Teaching style: well-paced, motivational, effective time and teacher talk management, student-friendly, informal, deep mastery of the subject taught.
  5. Life-long learner: reflective teaching practice through journals, portfolios; doing self-evaluation checklists, peer observation (formative, summative)

Peer observation — Teachers observing each other’s classes in order to improve their teaching ability and get new ideas about teaching.

Summative observation — An observation to evaluate teachers for administrative purpose such as employment, salary, pay rises, promotion, etc.

Formative observation — Teachers observing each other to help improve their teaching and to help them develop professionally.

Observation instruments — Guides, checklists, or other forms, used during the observation process in order to have a reliable, systematic approach to observation.

Debriefing — Getting information about an observation shortly after it is completed.

DISCUSSION
  1. Have you ever been observed or observing?
  2. What were the relationship with the observer/observed: a peer, a supervisor, a mentor, a student teacher, a parent,  etc?
  3. What was done with the information of the observation?
  4. In what ways it was a positive or negative experience?
  5. What have you learned from this experience?
TOP 10 BEHAVIORS OF EFFECTIVE OBSERVERS
  1. Show that you care.
  2. Suit your evaluation to the person.
  3. Know the person’s objectives.
  4. Listen actively.
  5. Personalize your language.
  6. Give positive reinforcement.
  7. Help to become motivated (inspired).
  8. Evaluate the process/result — not the person.
  9. Nourish self-esteem.
  10. Show how to improve.
SUMMARY DISCUSSION

Do you think peer observation could be effective in your teaching institution? Consider these aspects:

  • Areas that could benefit from such a process
  • Reaction and possible support from your administration
  • Teacher reaction
  • Available resources
  • Ways to overcome limitations or difficulties
USEFUL LINKS

http://712educators.about.com
http://www.Questia.com/Effective_Teacher
http://teachers.net/gazette/wong.html
http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/teachtip.htm
http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/teach/index.html
http://www.protocolplus.net/feedback.html
http://englishprograms.state.gov

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