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Other people can often see aspects of your practice that you might not. Peer observation of your teaching can offer:
– Fresh perspectives on your classroom pedagogy
– Ideas for possible alternatives and enhancements to your current approach
– Foundations for development that benefits both you and your students

PREPARATION: Find a peer observer. Meet to talk over session plans and focus. Agree a date for a post-class discussion.
TIMING: Negotiate to suit purpose, focus and busyness. From 30 minutes to a full 2-hour class.
PEOPLE: Usually one peer observer, but more possible.
EQUIPMENT: Consider a writtenobservation template or a video of the session.
Peer observation of teaching is most insightful and beneficial when it is approached non-judgementally. Whatever approach you take, try to ensure that observation and feedback discussions remain grounded in descriptions of practice and illustrative evidence.
If you are initiating the peer observation, be clear what you wish to gain from the experience. Do you want feedback on:
New content?
Class tasks you have designed?
Student engagement?
The clarity of your explanations?
Your interactions with individuals?
Knowing your purpose enables you to decide on the scope and focus of the peer observation.
Will your colleague sit in on the whole session?
Is it better that they join only part of the session?
Should they focus only on what students do?
Should they focus on specific elements of your practice?4.
The person being observed should take the lead here. Make it clear what you seek to understand and gain from the presence of a colleague in your teaching session.You might ask your colleague to respond only to particular questions that you have about your practice, such as ‘How clear are my responses to student questions?’
Give some advance consideration to where your colleague will sit. Ensure there will be room for them, that students will not be distracted, and that your colleague will be well positioned to see clearly those aspects of your session you have chosen as the focus for peer observation. You may want to explain to your students who the observer is and why they are there.
When you meet to discuss the observation, ask your colleague to describe what they saw. If they offer comments on the success (or otherwise) of a particular practice, ask also for concrete illustrations. As an alternative, have your colleague only ask questions, rather than telling you about the class.
There are many ways to vary how peer observation is done. Use the Education Strategy to inform your focus: e.g., the inclusivity of your practice. Video a section of your class and conduct a peer viewing and discussion, instead of a ‘live’ observation. Pause the video to consider alternative pathways and possible changes.
Download a full colour version of the recipe cards.Recipe Card (PDF)

Links to Online Resources

  1. Guide to Peer Review of Teaching, University of Edinburgh,, Last Accessed January 22.
  2. 12 Tips for the Peer Review of Teaching, University of Western Australia,, Last Accessed January 22

Links to Papers/Books

  1. Bell, Amani, and Rosina Mladenovic. “The benefits of peer observation of teaching for tutor development.” Higher Education 55.6 (2008): 735-752 
  2. Hendry, Graham D., and Gary R. Oliver. “Seeing is believing: The benefits of peer observation.” Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice 9.1 (2012): 7. 
  3. Race, P et al. (2009) Using Peer Observation to Enhance Teaching Leeds Metropolitan University (accessed on 10.01.2022)