The observation of teaching is an emergent commonplace in higher education that provides valuable knowledge for improving teaching and learning. Observation of teaching can include several goals, and be undertaken by a diverse set of observer profiles. However, in the last decades, there has been a focus on peer observation in Higher Education contexts (Gosling, 2002; Peel, 2005).
There are several peer observation of teaching (POT) models in the literature, with Gosling’s (2002) probably being the most used. This author distinguishes between three different observation models: evaluation model (observation by a senior peer focused on evaluation or performance appraisal), peer review model (observation by a colleague, and each participant is observed and observes) and development model (observation by an educational developer). Both the management model and the development model take on a unidirectional approach, even if they include a diverse set of goals. However, the peer review model assumes a bidirectional stance, allowing for the exploration of a wide set of advantages for both participants (Bell & Mladenovic, 2015; Tenenberg, 2016).
When this perspective is valued, POT is considered to be a powerful tool for providing feedback to individual teachers, disseminating disciplinary good practices and fostering a local evaluative enhancement culture (Yiend, Weller & Kinchin, 2014). According to Bell and Mladenovic (2015, 25) POT is a “collaborative partnership between two or more academics who observe each other teaching, offer each other constructive feedback on their teaching and reflect on their teaching based on both what was observed and their colleague´s feedback”. This way, it allows the participants to identify and discuss, characteristics of their professional practice that used to be neglected.
Peer observation can be a mutual gift, as a collegial process, between the observer and the observed where both gain in self awareness, perspective, an introduction to new techniques and fresh enthusiasm for their craft (Carroll & O´Loughlin, 2014). POT provides a space to reflect on teaching and also to help teachers to enhance professional teaching practice.
In fact, peer observation in Higher Education fosters the development of a learning environment, where giving and receiving feedback promotes critical reflection about pedagogical practices, supporting the participants’ professional development. This way, we are nurturing the identification and sharing “good” practices and further promoting a culture of institutional quality.
In this context, the present contribution intends to present and discuss the implementation of a POT program implemented at the University of Lisbon (UL) with the “Observar e Aprender” project (Observe & Learn). This project is inspired by a similar initiative from the University of Porto – the “de par em par” project (Mouraz et al., 2013).
The Observe & Learn project intends to promote the improvement of teaching practices in Higher Education, being established as a space for experimentation and support for the participants, within and interdisciplinary context. There have been 6 editions of the project since the 2013/14 academic year (one each semester) with the active participation of over 100 instructors from 14 different faculties from the University of Lisbon (participation is voluntary, anonymous and confidential). It should also be noticed that many participants have enrolled more than once, emphasizing the projects’ interest.
Bell, A., & Mladenovic, R. (2015). Situated learning, reflective practice and conceptual expansion: effective peer observation for tutor development. Teaching in Higher Education, 20(1), 24-36. Carroll, C., & O’Loughlin, D. (2014). Peer observation of teaching: enhancing academic engagement for new participants. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51(4), 446-456. Gosling, D. (2002). Models of Peer Observation of Teaching. LTSN Generic Centre Learning and Teaching Support Network, York. Kennelly, R., & McCormack, C. (2015). Creating more ‘elbow room’ for collaborative reflective practice in the competitive, performative culture of today's university. Higher Education Research & Development, 34 (5), 942-956. López Gómez, E. (2016). La formación docente del profesorado universitario: sentido, contenido y modalidades. Bordón. Revista de Pedagogía, 68 (4), 89-102. Mouraz, A., et al. (2012). De Par em Par na UP: o potencial formativo da observação de pares multidisciplinar. Revista Portuguesa de Investigação Educacional,12, 79-99. Mouraz, A., Lopes, A., & Ferreira, J. M. (2013).Higher education challenges to teaching practices: perspectives drawn from a multidisciplinary peer observation of teaching program. International Journal of Advanced Research, 1 (6), 6, 377-386 Mouraz, A. et al. (2014). Multidisciplinary Peer Observation as a strategy to promote a curriculum development awareness among lecturers in Higher Education (HE). Paper. European Conference on Educational Research, Porto. Nevgi, A., y Löfström, E. (2015). The development of academics’ teacher identity: Enhancing reflection and task perception through a university teacher development programme. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 46, 53-60. Peel, D. (2005). Peer observation as a transformatory tool? Teaching in Higher Education, 10(4), 489–504. Tenenberg, J. (2016). Learning through observing peers in practice. Studies in Higher Education, 41(4), 756-773. Torres, A. C., et. Al. (2015). What catches the eye in a class observation? - Lecturers' perspectives in a program of multidisciplinary peer observation of teaching. Paper. European Conference on Educational Research, Budapest. Van Waes, S., Van den Bossche, P., Moolenaar, N. M., De Maeyer, S., y Van Petegem, P. (2015). Knowwho? Linking faculty’s networks to stages of instructional development. Higher Education, 70 (5), 807-826. Yiend, J., Weller, S., & Kinchin, I. (2014). Peer observation of teaching: The interaction between peer review and developmental models of practice. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38(4), 465-484.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.