My very first peer observation experience remains evergreen in my memory. It was in the year 1998. Quite unexpectedly, I received a call from the Bursar of the college requesting a peer observation visit. Obviously, she did not call it peer observation. She expressed her wish that I handle a session in her presence for her batch of students if I was comfortable with the topic she gave. Of course, I agreed, but I had so many thoughts running in my mind.
Why would she ask me, a lecturer of Business Studies to teach Mathematics students? Further, why would the Bursar wish to attend my class? I was wondering if it was an inter-departmental observation or if the Bursar had received negative feedback about my teaching. My thoughts were running wild. Nevertheless, I was both nervous and excited by the opportunity and started preparing for the lesson. The session was a hit and the Bursar asked me to handle two more of her sessions to give further inputs to the students. Moreover, the Bursar appreciated my delivery and style of teaching.
I am not trying to blow my trumpet here. What I intend to say is that all my fears about peer observation were misplaced. When she said she wished to visit my class, I had thought that it was only to check on my teaching efficiency or to give feedback for making improvements. However, that experience made me to realize that there are several other objectives for classroom observation.
Nevertheless, whenever as a teacher I had to go through peer observation, I have varied perceptions and feelings. I am sure, most teachers will carry their own perceptions and feelings.
In this post, I wish to list few perceptions of teachers on peer observation. Of course, the list has both positive and negative perceptions.
Perceptions on Peer Observation
- It is an exercise for enhancing professional development
- Peer observation helps in sharing best practices in teaching
- Teachers learn innovative teaching methods and styles from one another
- It enables increased students’ participation in class
- It helps to identify one’s own strengths and areas for improvement
- Classroom observation allows the teacher to tackle weak spots in teaching strategies
- It is a mundane exercise for the purpose of reporting
- It is a fault-finding mechanism
- Peer observation is merely a component of performance appraisal
- It allows teachers/line manager to show their attitude and authority to others
- It is conducted only for satisfying quality office requirements
What are your perceptions regarding peer observation? Do you like to answer a questionnaire to check your perceptions and practices? Click here to download the questionnaire. Perceptions on Peer Observation - Questionnaire
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