Peer Observation of Teaching at Aberystwyth

Guidelines

Purpose
Peer observation of teaching at Aberystwyth is intended to be a developmental process undertaken collaboratively between colleagues. The principal aim of the scheme is to reflect on areas of good practice as well as identifying areas for further development . For this reason, while a record that the observation has occurred will need to be signed by staff members involved, it is independent of any process related to appraisal and promotion. 

The peer observation of teaching is a vehicle for continuing professional development (CPD). It is: 

    • an opportunity, for both the observer and the observed, to develop their own reflective practice and improve the quality of the educational experience of students, thus addressing quality assurance.
       
    • a key mechanism of quality enhancement, by identifying and disseminating good teaching practice.
       
    • a process through which staff can maintain, reflect on, develop and evidence their skills and expertise.

Code of Practice

  1. Peer observation is intended to enhance the learning experience of students and staff.
  2. Peer observation of teaching will take place at least once during each academic session.  
  3. Parties involved in the process will respect the confidentiality of the information gathered.
  4. The one observed will decide which aspect or aspects of their teaching will be the focus of the observation.
  5. The one observed will retain control over the way in which the outcomes of the process are reported, and whether or not aspects of the review can be disseminated for the benefit of colleagues.
  6. All parties should be enabled to learn from the process.
  7. All staff with responsibilities for teaching will participate in the process.
  8. Criteria of ‘good practice’ will be discussed and agreed by both parties.

Method

  1. Individuals included in this scheme will include:
    1. All members of academic and academic-related staff, both full time and part time, who are required to teach, tutor or train students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 
    2. Postgraduate teaching assistants who are directly involved in teaching, tutoring and training.
  2. Normally the process will be comprised of:
    1. a pre-observation mentoring discussion,
    2. the observation of teaching, and
    3. the post-observation mentoring discussion.
  3. Confidential feedback on the session observed will be provided within a week of the observation.
  4. After all the observations have been completed within the agreed time-period, the pairs/triads/groups will meet to identify examples of good practice to be reported to the Learning and Teaching Committee.
  5. Records will be kept for 12 months only, and then destroyed
  6. Departmental actions will embed the peer observation of teaching by detailing:
    1. The frequency of observations and the method of allocating observers, in line with their own requirements and needs.
    2. How the process operates within different learning and teaching environments, such as seminars, tutorials, laboratory sessions, studio teaching, and field work.

Departmental Administration & CDSAP

  • All departmental peer observation policies must include a reporting structure, through the departmental Director of Learning and Teaching and Head of Department, to enable basic statistical information to be gathered and filed with the Centre for the Development of Staff and Academic Practice (CDSAP). This information will be used only for return and reports on the progress of the scheme generally and not that of individual participants.