Peer observation has
become a widespread mechanism for the professional development of teaching
staff in the UK.
But can it be improved? This paper explores experimental moves towards a more
flexible peer-supported review of teaching and learning activities.
Six UK university case
studies describe the introduction of peer-supported review schemes, which
illustrate that by abandoning the formal requirement to ‘observe’, the
opportunity can be created for teachers to discuss and reflect on any aspect of
the wide range of issues relating to teaching and learning. They show how
powerfully such review schemes can contribute to the professional development
of everyone engaged in them.
The case studies also
reveal how peer review can encompass a broad range of topics, including
e-learning, course design and evaluation, marking student work and postgraduate
supervision. The editors argue that the introduction of formal peer review
schemes is important – not least because it creates the entitlement for staff
to make space to discuss teaching and learning, and also encourages the
dissemination of innovative and best practice.
This publication propounds
a form of CPD which is comparatively novel in the UK and it encourages and supports
all teachers, practitioners and educational developers to experiment with the
ideas within the context of their own institutions.