Peer Observation Enhancing Teaching
Why being observed and observing your peers is important in teacher training? Let’s see Peer Observation Enhancing Teaching through observing and being observed. Peer observation is a key part in any training course, as it allows colleagues to observe each other’s strengths and weaknesses in the work environment and helps continuous development in every aspect of professional life. It is a tool that is used to great extent in teacher training in particular, and in this essay, we will explore the reasons why observation is so important in this area.
Observing other teachers
Firstly, observing other teachers in the classroom is an excellent way to continue your own professional development, as it allows you to observe other methods of teaching and other exercises that can be used in your own lessons. The British Council states that it expects its employees to use observations as a chance to share ideas and give constructive criticism to their colleagues, in order to advance trainee development and improve the experience being offered to students. Furthermore, observations are a great opportunity for teachers who may not have an exact idea of what is expected of them in a classroom to watch more experienced professionals at work and observe all aspects of teaching in action, not just the exercises used but also use of materials, classroom control and use of warmers and fillers. Personally, I found observing other teachers in lessons a key part of my own training, as I had previously had very little experience in teaching, especially in one-on-one classes. Observing more experienced teachers gave me a better idea of how to structure a lesson, how to use the materials provided by my school and also how to keep the student engaged. Without this, I would have been truly thrown in the deep end in my first lesson and as such, I believe that observing other teachers is a crucial part in professional development.
Being observed by fellow teachers
In addition, being observed by fellow teachers is very important, even as an experienced teacher. This is because you can sometimes develop “blind spots” when it comes to your lessons and classroom management. Nelta Choutari, a leading EFL teacher in Nepal states that this is why it helps to have someone in the classroom who is able to see all aspects of learning and teaching taking place. Furthermore, an impartial observer in the classroom is able to give more valid feedback on areas of the lesson that could be improved upon for the next class, and as such, presents a chance for further professional development. From my experience, I have found being observed to be a highly informative, if slightly stressful experience. From my most recent observation, I have learnt that my use of warmers and fillers can be improved and I was also advised to use some different exercises that were then taught to me by my observer. This I feel will greatly help me moving forward, as I am now aware of some issues with my own lessons that I would not have been aware of before.
In conclusion then, peer observation is crucially important in many aspects of teaching, both in the initial training stage and in continued professional development, as it helps teachers to see different practices in action and also makes them more aware of where they can improve themselves.
References for Peer Observation Enhancing Teaching:
- White, G, Peer Observation, 31/01/2010, published on https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/peer-observation
- Israel, M, Teachers Observing Teachers: A Professional Development Tool for Ever School, 30/04/2012, published on http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin297.shtml
- Choutari, Nelta, Observation as a Key Concept for Teacher Development, 01/10/2012, published on https://neltachoutari.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/observation-as-a-key-concept-for-teacher-development/
- Richards, J and Farrell, T, Practice Teaching: A Reflective Approach, 14/03/2011, published by Cambridge University Press