22 SES 07 B, Teaching, Learning and Assesment in Higher Education
Higher education teaching and learning in Europe faces challenging times and deep changes, largely due to many reforms originated by the so-called Bologna process (Moore et al, 2008; Leite, 2007; Vieira, 2005). The objective of this paper is to present the results of a training & research project that was proposed by a Teaching and Learning Lab (TLL) set up jointly by the Faculty of Educational Sciences (FPCEUP) and the Faculty of Engineering (FEUP) at the University of Porto. Its underlying strategy aims to improve the quality of teaching and the quality of learning, and at the same time to capture information about teaching and learning practices used within the university.
Our training scheme follows the peer observation model presented by Gosling (2002), whose proposed solution differs from evaluation or developmental models (Hammersley-Fletcher & Orsmond, 2004; Cosh,1998 ) . According to Gosling (2002, p. 5), on a peer-observation model, teachers observe each other with one clear objective – to discuss their teaching activities through self- and group-reflective exercises. One main feature of our model is that it offers a symmetric distribution of power between the observer and the one being observed; it focus the observation on teacher performance, on the class, and on the learning content, and is followed by constructive, non-judgemental feedback.
The training & research instrument used in our TLL was inspired on similar work done at other universities (Leicester, Nottingham, Southampton, Queens at Belfast, Imperial College at London), and includes three stages: prior, during, and post observation. At prior-observation the observers obtain information about all relevant facts / data using documents and through an interview with their colleague that will be observed. The post-observation stage is related to the constructive feedback and reflective discussion. During observation a regular class is attended by the observers, who use an observation grid adapted from the model used at Southampton University. The observation scheme requires that all observers be observed as well, and also that each team member observes one class at FEUP and another class at FPCEUP.
A total number of 40 observation sessions were organised during the first semester of 2009 / 10, divided equally between FEUP and FPCEUP. The results that will be presented are based on these 40 observation grids, which were analysed with the objective of improving our knowledge about the teaching and learning practices at these two University of Porto schools.
Cosh, Jill(1998)'Peer Observation in Higher Education -- A Reflective Approach, Innovations in Education and Teaching International,35:2,171 — 176 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1355800980350211 Gosling, David (2002). Models of Peer Observation of Teaching. http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/id200_Models_of_Peer_Observatio ... www.davidgosling.net/userfiles/Publications(2).pdf Hammersley-Fletcher, Linda and Orsmond, Paul(2004)'Evaluating our peers: is peer observation a meaningful process?',Studies in Higher Education,29:4,489 — 503 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0307507042000236380 Leite, Carlinda (2007).“Que lugar para as Ciências da Educação na formação para o exercício da docência no ensino superior?”. JM. Sousa. Educação para o Sucesso: Políticas e Actores. Actas do IX Congresso da SPCE. (pp.131-140). Funchal: SPCE. Moore, Sarah, Walsh, Gary & Rísquez, Angélica (2008). Ensinando na Universidade. Extratexias eficaces e princípios clave. Vigo: Universidade de Vigo. Vieira, Flávia (2005). Transformar a Pedagogia na Universidade? Currículo sem Fronteiras, v.5, n.1, pp.10-27.
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