The benefits of peer observation of teaching for tutor development

07 June 2013

Peer observation partnerships can help teachers improve their teaching practice, transform their educational perspectives and develop collegiality (Bell 2005). This paper describes the peer observation model used in the tutor development program in the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sydney, and reports on the effectiveness of this exercise using quantitative and qualitative data from five sources. Results from 32 peer observations reveal both the common strengths and the areas in which tutors need to develop their teaching practice. Ninety four percent of participants found the exercise valuable and 88% said that they would change their teaching as a result of the exercise. This model can be applied in academic development programs in any discipline and suggestions for augmentation and improvement are provided.