Rachel Moll Peer Observation Story

Rachel Moll, Faculty of Education

Coming into my 2nd year on the Teaching and Learning Council I was looking forward to building on the successful lecture series that the group I was in had offered on technology and teaching. However, the focus of our activities was shifted and we were asked to choose one of three topics.

I ended up in the Peer Observation group which didn’t appeal to me at first, but upon reflection, I realized that I hadn’t received any feedback on my teaching from a colleague/peer since teacher’s college!

As an educator who recognizes the importance of both feedback and reflection for improving practice I became intrigued by the peer observation process and what I could learn - about myself!

Throughout the fall and spring semesters I participated in two rounds of peer observation. As an observer I learned that it is hard to make good observations and that it requires practice and discipline to avoid making interpretations and to just record what was going on.

As an observee I learned that participating in this process was an excellent opportunity for encouraging reflection. The bulk of my post-observation meeting, as an observee, involved me talking (not the observer!) about my reflections on how it went.

It was also really interesting to hear someone else tell the story of what happened in my classroom. Engaging in that conversation really helped me to reflect deeply on particular elements of my practice.

In my role as Chair of Graduate Programs in the Faculty of Education, I hope to be able to create opportunities for my colleagues who teach in our graduate programs to meet, discuss and to visit one another’s classrooms.