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Process Guidelines and Instructions

Recommendations/Timing for Observations:

A new course is being taught, an instructor is teaching a course for the first time, course structure/content has been largely redesigned or upon instructor request.

Planning for Instruction

Instructor and Peer Observer: Consider the following guiding questions related to Planning for Instruction (could be submitted in writing or discussed at a pre-observation meeting, or both).


How does your course ICON site and course syllabus support instruction?

What do you want students to be able to do, to think about, to know, to use as a result of this class session/lab/seminar?

What instructional strategies will you be using in this class session/lab/seminar to facilitate students’ understanding of the content associated with the class session/lab/seminar?

How will you know whether students understand the content?


Observation of Instruction

Peer Observer: In order to provide formative feedback to the instructor, give thought to the following questions while conducting the Class Session/Lab/Seminar Observation of Instruction.


Learning Environment

In what way is the instructor creating a teaching/learning environment that supports individual and collaborative learning, and that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation? 

Instructional Strategies

What instructional strategies are being used to encourage students to develop deep understanding of content and its connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways? 

Application of Content

How is the instructor demonstrating an understanding of how to engage learners in applying content to their life experiences, preparation in their field of study, and “need to know”; creating learning experiences that make aspects of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners? 


What methods of assessment does the instructor have in place to appropriately support, verify, and document learning, including guiding the instructor’s real-time decision making while the Class Session/Lab/Seminar is in progress? 

Post-Observation Reflection and Discussion

Instructor and Peer Observer: Consider the following guiding questions related to Post-Observation Reflection (could be submitted in writing or discussed at a post-observation meeting, or both).

What modifications did you make to your plans for instruction over the course of the class session/lab/seminar?

Are there things you will change in your future instruction of this group of students based on what you learned about your students during the teaching of this class session/lab/seminar?

Why do you think these changes would improve student learning?

What would you change if you were to re-teach this lesson to a new group of students in a future semester?

Why do you think these changes would improve student learning?



Peer Observation of Teaching 

 Name of Instructor being observed:   

Name of Peer Observer: 


Context for observation (e.g., course title, number, type):  

I. Planning for Instruction 

(Instructor) In the space below provide written responses, if any, to the guiding questions related to this pre-evaluation step of the peer observation process. 


II. Observation of Instruction  

(Peer Observer) Provide formative feedback to the instructor using the instructional areas noted below as a framework. The attached “Peer Observation Supplement” provides observation points for each area that may be used to guide this observation of instruction.    

Learning Environment:  


Instructional Strategies: 


Application of Content: 





III. Post-Observation Reflection  

(Instructor) Provide written responses, if any, to the guiding questions related to this post-observation step of the peer observation process.

Peer Observation Supplement: As you prepare for the classroom observation of a colleague, please consider the following as possible observations that might be included in your assessment of each area listed below. Not all points may be relevant to every observation. 

Suggested areas for consideration when appropriate to course

 Learning Environment 

The objectives of the class are clearly stated 

Provides a logical organization for the lesson 

The instructor was well prepared for class 

Shows enthusiasm about the content being taught 

Gains student attention about the topic 

Describes the session topic in terms of students' previous knowledge 

Provides an outline for the class session 

Gives students adequate opportunities to ask questions 

Receives student questions politely and when possible enthusiastically 

The instructor stimulates independent thinking 

The instructor helps students to learn from each other 

The instructor affirms student effort 


Instructional Strategies 

Maintains students' attention throughout the lesson 

Promotes an appreciation of diverse thoughts and perspectives 

The instructor stimulates interest in the course subject(s) 

Covers an appropriate amount of material for the time allotted 

The class remains focused on its objectives 

Asks questions appropriate for the level of the learner 

The instructor responds to questions with clarity 

The instructor’s choice of teaching techniques is appropriate for the goals 

The instructor explains the subject matter clearly 

Repeats and emphasizes major points 

Speaks loudly and clearly 

Speaks at an appropriate pace 

Varies voice pitch and tone 

Visuals are clear and easily seen 

Visuals represent a manageable amount of Information. 

Asks questions of varying difficulty 

Waits at least 5 seconds after asking for a response before resuming 

Asks questions that require more than a one- or two-word response 

Periodically summarizes points 


Application of Content 

Uses appropriate examples 

Points out practical or “real world” applications 

Provides opportunity for students to practice using the content 

Actively involves learners

Provides a “link” to how this lesson relates to subsequent ones



Asks probing questions if a student’s answer was incomplete or superficial 

Encourages students to answer difficult questions by providing cues or rephrasing 

Uses a variety of strategies to determine student understanding of content