View Content #25957

Content Type4
TitleDeveloping a Peer Observation Tool that Celebrates Strength and Promotes Growth

This week’s Activity of the Week provides guidance to teachers and departments wishing to develop a peer observation tool, either to engage in a critical friends protocol or to facilitate interactions in a Professional Learning Community (PLC).


  1. Meet as a pair or team, whichever is relevant to your context, to establish goals and expectations for your peer observations (frequency, duration, deliverables). For each round of observations, we recommend that each person involved be observed a minimum of two times, that each observation last a minimum of twenty minutes, and that you follow up each observation with a meeting to debrief.
  2. Identify positive characteristics you wish to look for while you are observing one another. These characteristics will likely be chosen as you engage in Step 1. You may want to work within the 23 Artisan Teacher Themes, a state or department evaluation system that already exists, or within a national set of practices such as the ACTFL Core Practices for World Language Learning.
  3. Develop a three-part handout. In the first section, make a check list of all of the themes and practices you want to observe within the framework you have selected.
  4.  In the second section, make a space to list the observations that you have related to the practices. Be sure that they are entirely objective (e.g., You used the L1 10 times during the 30 minutes I observed) instead of judgement-bearing (e.g., You aren’t using the L2 frequently enough).
  5. In the third section, devote space to 1) articulate the teacher’s strengths and 2) make a suggestion regarding how the strength could be applied to another area of teaching.
  6. After using the peer observation tool for at least one round of observations, meet as a team to discuss if there are any adjustments that you would like to make for the tool.


  • When you and your colleagues meet to debrief your observations, avoid passing judgement and opt for inquiry. In other words, instead of pointing out an observation like You aren’t using the L2 frequently enough, try to ask a question like, I noticed you used the L1 10 times while I was in the classroom. Could you talk to me a little about why you chose to do that? When you ask such questions, you are inviting a forward-moving discussion and a deeper understanding of the many factors at play in the classroom while you were there. This should prompt intentional problem solving to the extent that it is needed.
  • If timing prohibits you from observing another teacher, consider video recording lessons and sharing the video files. While such recordings limit your capacity to observe the entire classroom environment, you will be able to see enough details to engage in a meaningful observation and discussion to debrief the lesson’s happenings.
SourceCASLS Activity of the Week
Inputdate2018-11-02 09:13:59
Lastmodifieddate2018-11-05 04:13:06
ExpdateNot set
Publishdate2018-11-05 02:15:01
Displaydate2018-11-05 00:00:00