Classroom observation can take different forms and be done for different purposes. The two most commonly used forms of observation are summative observation and formative observation.–
• Summative observation. This observation is an evaluation, which rates the teacher who is being observed. It can be done for administrative or supervisory reports for the purpose of job retention, promotion, salary increases, etc.–
• Formative observation. The purpose of a formative review is to help teachers become better teachers and more knowledgeable professionals. With peer observation, teachers observe each other’s classes, give each other feedback, and share ideas.–
There are some definite advantages to using peer observation. Observers are familiar with the teaching situation, both its goals and its limitations. Peer observation can also help individual teachers try to improve their skills without the fear of recorded evaluation. Such observation done well can help to create a strong supportive atmosphere among the faculty in a school.–
There are also some potential problems with doing peer observations that must be guarded against. Data collection may be biased due to 1) an observer’s own belief systems about teaching and learning; and 2) personal relationships and peer pressure. Teachers may not be able to observe
others’ teaching objectively, which could have a negative effect on peer relationships. For this reason, it is very important to train teachers well in the use of the peer observation process. The benefits can be well worth the effort.–
In this module, we’ll focus on formative observation, specifically peer observation. Peer observa- tion can be a particularly effective kind of formative observation because it provides the opportunity for faculty self-assessment and improvement, while at the same time allowing for the monitoring of teacher performance in a non-threatening way. It can benefit both the person being observed and the observer. Both can learn. The “peers” in this process can be either equal pairs or one can be in a mentoring relationship with the other. The most successful peer observation contains the following elements:–
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