Teaching has often been described as a lonely profession. We can be surrounded by students but isolated in our experience and pedagogical decision-making. Stephen Brookfield famously advocates for teachers to support one another, as a source of support that can innoculate us against the roller-coaster of life and emotions both in and out of the classroom. He suggests team teaching as one of the strongest vehicles for this, but we know that this is a rarity. So what can we do? How can we find support, guidance, collegial chats and, most importantly, perspective?
Teaching can feel very lonely; therefore, peer feedback is more than welcome to (re)build confidence and continue personal and professional development.
Dr Kotryna Fraser, Sydney School of Health Sciences, Peer Review for Teaching Reviewee 2022
Fortunately for all teaching staff, the University of Sydney has a new university-wide Peer Review for Teaching program. If you are teaching in 2023, you are eligible to receive a peer review of your teaching from two accredited cross-faculty peer reviewers. The process is personalised, friendly and most importantly – private.
There are many known benefits to peer review however, one of the biggest barriers for staff engaging in this is the concern that it will be used as a form of surveillance and weaponised in cases of performance management. The Peer Review for Teaching program at Sydney avoids this. Instead, we protect educators by placing control of the review with you, the reviewee. This allows us to use peer review as a collegial support mechanism that recognises effective teaching practice and, in a post-review coffee, allows you to chat about what you want to improve and how you might want to do it. It is open to all teachers at the University, whether you are working full or part-time, permanent or casual.
Additionally, if you get a really positive review you can use this written feedback as you like. For example, quotations from your reviewer can be used in teaching cases such as applications for educational fellowship, awards or promotion. It is up to you how you use this. But as an accredited university-wide process, the Peer Review for Teaching program carries additional weight and wider recognition. This means those assessors or panellists know that this is a cross-faculty expert-informed review process that has some equivalence to peer review in research, minus the reviewer 2 comments.
The program is the first institution-wide one at Sydney. It can help you gain new perspectives, improve your teaching, increase collaboration, provide support, and engage in professional development.
I highly recommend the program, because it doesn’t matter about your experience or role in learning and teaching – it is about learning from one another and always keeping the student experience front and centre.
Associate Professor Rachael Hains-Wesson, Work-Integrated Learning, University of Sydney Business School, Peer Review for Teaching Reviewee 2022
How do I sign up for a review?
To participate and be matched with two* of the accredited reviewers, simply:
- enrol in the MPLF Canvas site: https://canvas.sydney.edu.au/enroll/MGEWBA and
- complete the application form on Module 12 Finding a Peer Reviewer page.
In addition to taking part in the peer review process, you may also be interested in completing Module 12 – Peer Review of Teaching of the MPLF. This will only take ~20-25 minutes of extra work asynchronously online.
*each review request is matched with two accredited reviewers to enable you to get different perspectives on your teaching
Find out more
Read more about Sydney’s Peer Review for Teaching program in our earlier post: Using peer review as evidence and improvement of your teaching
If you have any questions about the program, please contact us at [email protected]