Classroom Observation and Feedback by Peers

We ask peers to review our research and writing, but why not our teaching? While classroom observation—in real time or video—is intimidating, when conducted thoughtfully, peer observation and feedback provides an invaluable opportunity for reflection and new teaching ideas.

Getting Started

Deciding who will observe

  • Take time to select a peer that best matches the kind of feedback you need
  • For feedback on course materials, a peer in your field can provide invaluable feedback on the content and organization
  • For feedback on teaching and classroom observation, a peer who is not necessarily in your field but is non-judgmental and supportive would be best

Establishing a Plan

  • Meet with your peer to discuss your goals for the observation
  • Establish ground rules for constructive feedback
  • Have your peer observe your teaching at least twice over the course of time
  • Arrange for a dedicated feedback session
  • Take time to reflect on the feedback and plan for implementing changes

Selecting a Focus

  • Choose a specific area or two on which you would like to focus
  • Possible classroom observation choices might include: how conducive is the physical classroom environment for learning; how well is class material organized; what type of interactions take place between faculty and students
  • To get a comprehensive view of your teaching, you would ideally get feedback on several facets over a period of time.

Selecting documentation

  • While many do not like to see or hear themselves on recordings, videotaping provides the opportunity to review teaching practices and validate feedback
  • Some combination of checklists, rating scales and written analysis can help to initially collect and summarize information