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.
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