Peer Observation of Teaching

Peer observation of teaching is critical to the reflection and enhancement of learning and teaching at Swansea University. The approach provides all staff with teaching responsibilities opportunities throughout the year to reflect on and improve their teaching practice through a process of working together with colleagues to provide constructive feedback on areas they could improve and things they are doing well.

Observers, and those they are observing, are encouraged to use the peer observation process to identify and share good practice and this can be used to demonstrate performance for progression and professional recognition.

Peer observation is mandatory and must take place at least once during each academic year for all staff delivering teaching[1]. Staff are encouraged to undertake peer observation more frequently to enable them to both receive more feedback and to observe a wider range of teaching practices to inform their own development.

Managers should confirm during the Professional Development Review process whether peer observation has taken place, and staff are encouraged to share their observations with their line manager to demonstrate reflection on and enhancement of their teaching practice.

Observers should be University teaching staff members from a cognate discipline, should change each year and the process should not be reciprocal, to ensure the process is fair and effective. Observation from teachers external to the university (e.g. from other institutions or from practice) where desirable must be undertaken in addition to the University’s internal process.

The University’s approved peer observation form must be used in order to ensure there is a consistent approach to peer observation and reflection.

The process is intended to be two-way with active contribution from observer and observed. The observer is expected to remain present for the whole session and to provide detailed comments. Peer observation can cover the full range of teaching activities including lectures, seminars, field trips, and practical classes.

Confidentiality

The process should be confidential and any information should remain confidential between the observer and the observed, unless the member of staff being observed chooses to share the outcomes. Staff who have been observed are encouraged, however, to share observations with their line manager.

[1] Staff delivering teaching should include all staff employed on any contract which includes teaching. Staff on other contracts delivering more than 4 hours of teaching per year should be observed.

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