Peer Observation and Review of Teaching (PORT)
These Guidelines have been developed to ensure that academic staff who wish to participate in PORT have a suggested process and supporting resources and materials for successful implementation of the program.
The main purpose of the manual is to set out a method for peer observation (adaptable for review) and, to provide the prompts, criteria and recording sheets that may be of use in the peer observation and review process.
Using PORT to improve teaching and student engagement - A case study
Participants: Mr. Anthony Whitty, Dr. David Opar & Dr. Christian Lorenzen, School of Exercise Science - Victoria
Outcome: Better student engagement, improved teaching.
After attending the Learning for Life showcase in 2015, which introduced the Peer Observation and Review of Teaching project, Anthony Whitty and his colleagues from the School of Exercise Science decided to use the PORT process to improve their teaching practice. The trio planned to form a ‘three ring’ group to review and discuss their teaching methods. This, it was hoped, would lead to better teaching practice and improved student engagement.
Firstly, they met to discusswhat they were looking to achieve from participating in the PORT process. Part of this discussion included expressing their fears and apprehensions about the process. This helped to overcome any notions of the process going wrong. It was decided at the outset that each semester they would focus on a specific aspect of learning on teaching, starting with student engagement.
All three participants observed each other’s teaching and used the PORT templates to suggest ways each could improve their own teaching by incorporating ideas they had observed into their units and courses.
After the sessions were completed, the participants met to debrief and discuss their experiences and what they could do to improve their teaching. It was discovered that by watching their peers teach in this safe and supportive environment, the observers also learnt techniques to improve their teaching.
In this case Anthony and his colleagues have been able to harness the power of peer observation to improve their own teaching methods and increase student engagement.