Peer observations for professional development

As you may have heard, last month’s Springboard get-together was a success. We’ve got a framework for running a teacher-to-teacher peer observation process, aimed at providing professional development for teachers.

It’s an idealistic endeavor, to provide this as a free service. But my hope is that teachers will benefit immensely. What came out of last month’s chat was that teachers can and want to do this already. What they need is a process through which to realize it. I recognize it as an opportunity that is lacking in other places, and I anticipate that teachers will take advantage of it in order to add significant value to their career.

What’s also unique about this, is that the person observing is not evaluating the person who is observed. It’s not a check to see that you’re doing your job correctly or not. It’s an opportunity for the person observing and the person who is observed to grow professionally in a friendly and inclusive learning environment.

The observer shares their experience, but is a learner in the process as well. Also, the person observed sets areas that they themselves want to be focused on. In the end it’s mutually beneficial. We’re sharing successful teaching approaches and as a result, will identify and solve common problems.

Sound interesting?

Once there are enough willing participants, the process is largely self-sufficient. Two teachers find times when they can observe each others’ lessons, get in touch by email, and meet for 15 to 30 minutes afterwards to discuss what happened.

The result is what’s at the heart of this network and blog: Springboarding into better teaching.

Check out the plan here, and comment below to add your lessons to the calendar, and to find times when you can sit in on others’ lessons.

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4 thoughts on “Peer observations for professional development

  1. Hello,

    It is my first visit here. I was prompted by an email I received informing me that Ben is following…. my blog:)
    I have read some of the posts and find that our blogs share some common elements. I have been teaching English in France for the last 12 years. I work for the private sector and feel really isolated from what’s out there. Peer observation sounds like a very good idea, I would be willing to participate in it myself. Is it limited to Switzerland or does it extend further away? Mind you, I am from Savoie, which is relative close by, and on top of that we also have mountains and lakes. The school I work for is a very interesting place as well, so if anybody wants to drop by feel free.

    I don’t want it to sound as if I was using your blog to promote mine, I simply wanted to add a short comment about the similarities I mentioned earlier: I created my blog in order to compare the different teaching contexts, methods, qualifications etc. that exist in teaching English throughout Europe. I am just beginning, and obviously looking for those who want to share their experiences. If that is the case, do not hesitate to visit:
    https://englishteachersineurope.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/hello/

    Thank you and all the best,

    Ania

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey! Great to see you here! I read about your project in the ETAS newsletter (great job, Markus!) and had a look today. I didn’t have time to fill in the questionnaire today but I put it on my list for next week. I think it’s a great idea and I hope more people will click the link in Ania’s comment and answer the questions.

    As far as joining us, yes, of course you’re welcome but proximity may make things a little tough. We’re in Bern which is about 3-4 hours away by car. However, ETAS (English Teachers Association of Switzerland) does have a Geneva regional group and they organize some activities from time to time, the next one’s on 2 February: https://www.e-tas.ch/node/1712

    I hope you keep following our blog and maybe we’ll find a way to collaborate somehow. In the meantime, good luck with your project and I’ll mention it at our next meeting!

    Cheers,
    Ben

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  3. Hello Ben,

    Thank you for your kind words and interest. It does give me some reassurance. I am also grateful that ETAS wanted to help by placing a link in their newsletter. I will obviously be dropping by to see what’s new on your blog and am also open to collaboration projects.
    Big thanks again for your support and am looking forward to reading your answers.

    Best wishes,

    Ania

    Like

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