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Peer Review of Teaching

Peer review of teaching is a process for gaining feedback and input on any or all aspects of teaching face-to-face, blended and online, for a range of purposes. It is a collaborative process in which a teaching staff work together in mutual mentoring partnerships or as mentor and mentee. When new and experienced teaching academics observe and model pedagogic practice the likely hood of meaningful learning and reflective practice increases (Nicholls, 2001). Bandura’s concept of observational learning and the subsequent informing and strengthening of self-efficacy and confidence (Bandura, 1997; Bandura, 1989) supports the application of peer review processes in higher education teaching (Donnelly, 2007).

There are two main types of peer review: formative and summative.

Formative reviews are focused on gaining information for the purposes of ongoing improvement of teaching (quality enhancement).

Summative peer observations, on the other hand, are mainly focused on quality in support of processes such as promotion or formal teaching evaluation (quality assurance). This approach can be used for finding the source of a perceived problem, or for exploring solutions to issues that are causing you concern

There are several benefits from using peer observation:

  • maintaining and enhancing teaching quality and therefore improving student learning experiences;
  • reflecting on various aspects of your teaching practice and developing self-awareness about a variety of instructional aspects;
  • identifying your own professional development needs and providing evidence of quality teaching practice for promotion applications;
  • recognising and identifying good practice in others; deepening understanding  of the work of colleagues in and across teams, departments and faculties;
  • networking with colleagues to discuss various learning and teaching issues; and
  • increasing the sense of collaboration and enhanced trust through allowing colleagues to observe and comment upon each other’s teaching.


The following resources provide more information and ideas on peer review of teaching.

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