Module 6: Assessing Teaching and Learning

Assessing Your Teaching:

Peer Review


Another valuable way of receiving feedback on your teaching is through peer review. In their own classrooms, instructors are often so busy presenting information, facilitating discussions, monitoring student groups, answering questions, and keeping an eye on the time that they may not notice issues that can negatively impact learning. Having a peer in the classroom who is expressly dedicated to observation can be invaluable.

In peer review, a colleague sits in on a class and offers feedback from a different perspective. Peer review does not have to involve advice or judgment. Often just having more information on what is going on in class can make a big difference in how an instructor prepares and presents lessons.

In some colleges, formal peer review programs exist, often as a requirement for new instructors and sometimes as a professional development option for tenured instructors. Generally, a team of more experienced instructors make observations and comments on the teaching dynamics they observe in a classroom.

If your college does not have a formal program, informal peer review is another option. This can be as simple as asking a colleague to sit in on a class meeting and take notes on what she sees and experiences. It's best to ask a more experienced colleague, but even a novice can provide valuable feedback. Let that person know what specifically you would like feedback on—presenting information clearly, facilitating groups, or fostering a welcoming community.