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Continuing Professional Development

Peer Review and Enhancement of Learning and Teaching for Apprenticeships

The peer review of learning and teaching is a critical component in the quality assurance of apprenticeship delivery. The observation of in-class learning and teaching is at the heart of this scheme for our apprenticeships, but we recognise that the delivery of a high quality academic experience is based on more than this. 

Staff teaching on apprenticeships must be observed in delivery of learning and teaching in an apprenticeship class at least once annually, subject to feedback which suggests the quality of provision needs improvement. In addition, we ask that a second review is undertaken focussed on one of the following:

  • applications and use of blended learning, and specifically use of Brightspace,
  • the ongoing development of Maths and English in curriculum for all learners, 
  • the delivery of Personal Academic Coaching sessions / Tripartite reviews,
  • design of assessment, formative or summative,
  • provision of assessment feedback. 

 

Conducting reviews and observations

Reviews for apprenticeships must be conducted by one of the following roles, rather than by a peer. The nature of the activity being observed will dictate who conducts the review.:

  • Associate Dean from any School
  • Quality Assurance Manager
  • Senior Lecturer Learning and Teaching Enhancement
  • Associate Director Digital Learning and Innovation
  • Director of Learning and Teaching. 

 

Before the classroom observation, the observee should:

  1. Identify a lecture, workshop, seminar or tutorial for your observation, and arrange this with your PRE partner. 
  2. Complete the Observation of Teaching Template and share this with your partner.
  3. Arrange a pre-review meeting to discuss your delivery and  session and agree the learning you are hoping to achieve from the observation.
  4. Prepare your students, explaining why the lesson is being observed, and who is being observed. 
  5. Agree the time and date for a followup, post-observation conversation with your PRE partner. 

During the classroom observation, the observer should:

  1. Take a seat where you will not be disruptive to the delivery of the teaching, and be on time!
  2. View the session holistically. 
  3. Focus on the learning from the student perspective. 

After the classroom observation, the observer and observee should:

  1. Reflect on the experience. The features to be observed will vary according to the session and for the discipline concerned. Some guidance on the kinds of things you might be looking for in different types of session is given below. But more generally, consider, 
    • what happened?
    • how did you feel?
    • what was good?
    • what could be improved?
  2. Complete the post observation template.
  3. Meet and discuss the observation, beginning with the self-reflections of the observee. The conversation should be
    • constructive
    • respectful of difference and 
    • both parties should remain open minded about feedback. 
  4. Where feedback includes suggestion for improvement, be sure to capture these in a personal action plan, and include suggestions for useful resources and activities.

 

These are prompts for the observer; it is not recommended that all topics areas are covered in the feedback provided. 

Structure and planning

  • Was the purpose of the session made clear to students, including anticipated learning outcomes?
  • Did the session begin and end on time?
  • Was the learning in the session related to previous learning and overall context?
  • Was the session well planned and organised? 

Content

  • Did the content seem up to date?
  • Did the content match the needs of the students and level of learning? 
  • Was the content inclusive, including opportunity to explore diverse perspectives?
  • Did the content include application of theory to practice, where appropriate?

Learning resources

  • Were learning resources professionally prepared?
  • Were learning resources accessible, and made available to students before / after the lesson via Brightspace?
  • Were additional resources signposted? 

Delivery, use of technology and space

  • Were delivery methods appropriate for the content, level of learning and learning outcomes? 
  • Was delivery inclusive, making consideration of diverse learning needs?
  • Did the pace seem appropriate?
  • Were students invited to participate?
  • Was student understanding checked as the lesson progressed?
  • Was technology used to support learning and or promote participation?
  • Did the lecturer make good use of the space available?

Style and ambience

  • Was the lecturer enthusiastic about the learning?
  • Were they audible - and clear?
  • Was there a good rapport with students? 
  • appropriateness and achievement of learning outcomes and session aims;
  • communication of these to the students, and links to prior learning and knowledge;
  • structure of the session, e.g. introduction, organisation into sections and a summary;
  • delivery, including pace, audibility and visibility;
  • communication with students, including signposting, interaction, questioning and activities;
  • the engagement of students in the learning process. 
  • relationship of session to the expected learning outcomes;
  • interaction and communication between lecturer and students, or between students;
  • involvement of all members of the group;
  • encouragement of students;
  • ability to manage the group activities, questioning, listening, prompting of critical thinking;
  • quality of formative feedback;
  • consolidation of learning;
  • support provided to students in becoming aware of their learning. 

Assessment

  • Are the objectives of the assessment appropriate?
  • Is the assessment method appropriate for the learning outcomes and learning being assessed?
  • Is the assessment method inclusive, or will students need to apply reasonable adjustments?
  • What is the rationale for the assessment design? 
  • Does this assessment provide opportunity for students to personalise it?
  • Is this assessment the same as others in the module / course or does it provide opportunity to assess other skills?
  • What activities are planned to help student understand and prepare for the assessment?
  • Has the effectiveness of this assessment been reviewed and been taken into consideration following previous cohort submissions?
  • Is the assessment published with a rubric explaining how it will be assessed and how marking is structured?
  • Is the assessment submitted  / can the assessment be submitted anonymously to ensure and reassure there is no bias?

Feedback

  • How is the feedback structured? 
  • Has a rubric been used to explicitly align the feedback to the assessment and marking criteria?
  • Does the feedback provide students with clear explanations of areas for improvement against the criteria? 
  • How is the feedback released?
  • Will students have the opportunity to discuss their feedback?
  • Have the Brightspace standards been applied? 
    • Does the Module Overview have the module guide added?
    • Are you using a consistent approach to folder and file names across all your modules?
    • Do you have your contact details and availability in the module?
    • Are you using the HTML templates to create easy accessible content item not just uploading documents?
  • Do you add images and descriptions to folders to create a narrative and tell a story through your module?
  • Are you adding descriptions to each file/content item to help students to navigate the module?
  • Do you use tools such as Brightspace quizzes, HP5 or Sli.do to create formative interactivity?
  • Are you using tools such as 'Checklists' to allow students to self check their progress?
  • Where required, do all uploaded documents meet the requirements of the Digital Accessibility legislation?
  • Do you include video in your module?
    • This could be short self recorded lecture catch ups, embedding of external video content (where you have permission).
  • Are you using the Virtual Classroom tool for lectures and seminars to allow synchronous and asynchronous access?
    • Are the Virtual Classroom sessions added inline with the content and not only via the 'Communications' tab?

Giving feedback

We try to give feedback that is constructive and is presented as a coaching conversation. Remember, while yit is good to share good practice, this is about the observee, not the observer. 

  • Feedback discussion should begin with the reflections of the observee.
  • As the Observer, it is better for you to ask for self reflection, rather than tell the observee how it has gone.
  • Your feedback should focus on the agreed outcomes from the pre-observation meeting. 
  • Begin the discussion with a positive observation. 
  • Focus on feedback that relates to behaviours or actions that can be changed, and use specific examples.
  • Make feedback constructive and offer positive suggestions. 
  • Use questions to guide the conversation. 
  • End on a positive note!

Prompt questions / statements

  • What do you think went well?
  • I wondered what you thought when?
  • Did you achieve what you wanted to?
  • If you did this again, what would you do differently?
  • What do you think the students gained from the session? How do you know?
  • What effect do you feel it had when you said ...?
  • How did you think students engaged with the learning?
  • How do you think you could have involved students more in that?
  • How can you address that?

The feedback you receive should be constructive, but it may not always be positive. 

  • Ensure that the type of feedback and areas of focus you want have been agreed in advance. 
  • Be ready to accept honest feedback and constructive criticism.
  • Be self-reflective.
  • If you don't understand - ask for clarification and specific examples. 
  • Attempt to find solutions to address less effective practice.
  • Ask for ideas, resources, examples for other ways of doing things. 
  • Develop an action plan from the feedback you have recieved.
  • Consider how you can share your good practice, perhaps by offering a CPD session or hosting a SoTL event.