Peer Observation for Teachers

Published: 12/5/2016 11:14 AM

Peer observation is designed to provide useful formative feedback (704 KAR 3:370 Section 5(2)(b))  and foster collegial conversations among teachers about real issues related to teaching and learning. Peer observation is a required component of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) because it provides powerful, formative support for reflection and continuous growth in ways that impact student learning.

The peer observation process can be a rewarding and fulfilling journey of professional growth and collaboration for both the peer observer and the teacher being observed. When implemented well, peer observation supports the professional growth of educators because it is teacher-driven, formative, supported by principals, and collegial.
 
Educational research reveals a need for deeper professional learning, such as the integrated use of peer observation processes, to increase educator effectiveness (Measure to Learn and Improve (MLI) survey, February 2015)*. According to Joellen Killion, Senior Advisor of Learning Forward, (2008), “… A form of professional learning, peer observation is a set of purposeful, planned actions and the support system necessary to achieve the identified goals…”

Teacher-Driven
Teachers guide the peer observation process. Sharing instructional techniques empowers educators to identify personal learning needs and improve classroom practice that leads to increased student learning. An authentic, embedded form of professional learning, peer observation provides the opportunity to review methodology and share promising instructional practices between and among educators.
          
Best Practice
The PGES regulation, (704 KAR 3:370 Section 5(2)(b)), requires teachers to have one peer observation during the summative cycle. This minimum requirement should not dictate the frequency of peer-teacher contact. In the Overview of State Teacher Fellows Program in Kentucky, the Hope Street Group's finding was that teachers preferred more frequent peer observation.
 
Peer Observer Training
State regulation requires certification training every three years (704 KAR 3:370 Section 6(9)) for all educators serving as PGES peer observers. The district certified evaluation plan (CEP) provides detailed local requirements. Peer observation training is also useful and available for any educator interested in working with peers to improve their teaching. 

Peer observation training options: 
  1. On-Line Training (Instructions)
    This updated, online platform provides self-paced peer observer training. To complete the full course, individuals will invest approximately two hours. Upon successful completion, a printable certificate generates. This training replaces the PBS Learning Media’s Professional Learning for Peer Observers.
  2. Off-Line Training Package (Instructions)
    The off-line training package allows a certified peer observer or administrator to conduct face-to-face trainings. Follow the linked instructions to request training materials and certificates.
  3. Regional In-Person Training Sessions (Criteria)
    Regional face-to-face sessions facilitated by KDE staff may be requested. Submit inquiries to teacherleader@education.ky.gov. Certificates will be awarded at the conclusion of the training.
*The MLI survey results are currently housed within the department’s database and available upon request.
Christine Meisberger
Office of Teaching and Learning
Division of Next Generation Professionals
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-1479
Fax (502) 564-6470