Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Advantages and Disadvantages of Peer Observations in the Classroom

Having someone come into your classroom and observe you is nerve-wracking. You feel like you're being put to the test. More often than not, during peer observations your colleagues observing you don't really know what they're looking for. Nor does management help prepare them to observe classes. It can often lead to negatively and teachers thinking they're being compared to others. It's not all bad and below you can find some advantages, disadvantages and further reading about peer observations.

Advantages
  • Both parties can get new ideas.
  • It provides instant feedback.
  • It causes the teacher being observed to re-think their lesson. 


Disadvantages
  • The observer is often biased and may give high marks to avoid confrontation.
  • Is often only done once so there's no way to compare how the teacher has improved.
  • It's often unreliable and unorganised. They're only observing one class and the time of day, class, being nervous, and more can affect the observation. In addition, it's usually not video taped, observers aren't trained, and the feedback form isn't valid.

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