Observation of Teaching

teaching observation

Observation of Teaching, where it works well, impacts on the performance of the individual teacher or the observer and is well suited for those new to teaching. However, it is beneficial to consider teaching quality in the context of student learning, which goes beyond the individual performance, hence the University is adopting a revised scheme for annual teaching improvement: Peer Enhancement for Teaching Excellence. Check with your Head of School for clarification of which scheme applies to you.

Why observe teaching?

Image of teaching session in progress

The process of observing teaching provides both the observee and the observer with the opportunity to learn from each other. It also provides an opportunity to disseminate good practice amongst colleagues by sharing thoughts on teaching practice and supporting each other’s development of teaching skills.

It can be beneficial to observe colleagues from other departments, to enable staff observing and exchanging teaching practices with colleagues from cognate disciplines.

How do I go about the process?

A Record of Observation of Teaching has been designed to assist you with this process. Your College may have particular requirements for observing teaching so please contact your Learning and Teaching Committee member.

In 2018-2019, the Observation of Teaching scheme operates for all teaching staff (both on campus and distance learning) who are not participating in the Peer Enhancement for Teaching Excellence scheme. An exception are colleagues on probation for whom arrangements for the monitoring and assessment of teaching are already in place.

A briefing session schould be scheduled between the paired members of staff before the observation to discuss arrangements, areas and methods of observation. Observees use Section 1 of the Record form to document the focus of the observation and share it with their observer.

The Record of Observation of Teaching outlines the following areas for consideration, whether the observation is of a face-to-face session or an online teaching event:

  • preparation and planning
  • classroom management
  • feedback and assessment (inside the classroom)

The observer will use Section 2 of the Record form during the observation. Observees need to ensure that students are informed of the reason why another member of staff is attending the class.

A debriefing session is held promptly (no later than 48 hours) after the teaching observation where the observer provides feedback on the teaching session and the observee has the opportunity to reflect on the session using observations noted in Section 2 of the Record form.

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