Peer Observation – Celebrating Feedback

By Cheryl Philpott, Hair and Beauty at Swale

During my peer observation in a GCSE English lesson there were a lot of opportunities to link an interesting debate with the themes that under pin the concepts of Equality and Diversity. A discussion about New Hope Boko Haram was raised within the class and the consequences of kidnapping. By linking this discussion the students were asked to explain why an offer of a scholarship was an opportunity as much as a risk. Learners were able to make the links between the concepts of Equality and Diversity and why this impacts on the lives of people, of different age, gender and race. Good questioning provided a challenge for the students and was highly effective in checking the learning progress of the students. Sandra used a range of questioning techniques very well to challenge all the students understanding. I discussed with Sandra different ways to increase the level of difficulty when asking a question to stretch and challenge the students’ knowledge further (Blooms taxonomy). Once the learners are able to respond to lower levels skills, ask more challenging questions, which require a response related to evaluation, creativity or analysis. One easy and quick technique that can be used to challenge leaners is use of the word ‘and’ or ‘or’. For example, at the end of a response ask “and?”

By doing so, learners will have to dig deeper for further information. If they are unable to extend their answer, you are then aware of their true depth of knowledge and the support required can be identified. Do not take the first response from learners. Offer the response for others to critique. Check if peers can expand further on the response and if they agree or disagree with the original response. Sandra used this questioning technique to stretch and challenge the students’ knowledge further.

Good visual references were used, for example handouts and power points were available for the learners, it is very helpful for the learners to refer to the resources during the session as there were students with varying needs.

The tutor knows the students well and used detailed and well informed group profiles to plan differentiation ensuring that teaching, learning and support meet the needs of each learner. For example, a student who was very dominate within the group was given the task of being group speaker for the team.

The impact the assessment activities had within the session was effective in showing that the mixed ability group all demonstrated successful learning in the session. The students were fully aware of their progress during the session.

Sandra’s feedback on coaching and peer observation:

“Cheryl provided me with practical ideas both from her own experience and also from other tutors in Swale, including delivering English, and we discussed how I could adapt them to fit with my style of teaching to enhance each session. As most of our meetings were at the latter end of the academic year it enabled me to prepare for the new academic year and I have hit the ground running and this is undoubtedly helped by Cheryl.”

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