The FORMs of Formative Feedback
Cromwell Center for Teaching and Learning
Workshop on generating formative feedback by using the WAC Peer Observation Form.
What are you working on? What do you hope to do next? These familiar questions we know from scholarship, research, and creative practice should also apply to our teaching practice. It makes the sharing of our pedagogical work with colleagues a normal and productive encounter.
Pre-observation questions on the Peer Observation of Teaching Form: What are the goals for the class? How do the goals fit into larger course? What specific areas would you like observer to focus on?
During the observation, describe and report back what you see and observe in the classroom: what the instructor is doing, what students are doing. These are things not always known or visible to the instructor.
Observation prompts on the Form: Describe the instructor’s organization and use of class time. Describe the ambience in the classroom. Examine the degree to which student engagement occurs.
As you observe and record, you can also make note of questions and ideas that emerge relative to what the instructor has identified as objectives and/or things they are working on. Think of questions, not judgments or corrections.
Observation questions on the Form: Are the instructional objectives of the class made clear? Does the instructor provide multiple strategies to support student learning? Does the instructor demonstrate equitable concern for all students? Does the instructor encourage student development of critical thinking?
A Chair or senior colleague has this role; but a junior colleague can also provide support and mentoring based upon what they observed as well as shared and different experiences they have had in the classroom.
Post-observation discussion questions on the Form: What went well? What challenges were encountered/observed? What might the instructor change or continue to develop in the future?
For further reading and resources on peer observations:
- Benchmarks for Teaching Effectiveness (University of Kansas)
- Faculty Peer Review: Adapting to your Context (Northeastern)
- FORM of Formative Feedback (Cromwell CTL)
- Getting Started with Peer Observation (Cambridge)
- Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (ASCB)
- Peer Observation of Teaching (Elon)
- Peer Review of Teaching (Vanderbilt)
- Teaching Observation (Texas A&M)
- University of Maryland (3 observation templates)