Enhancing Performance of Teachers through Peer Observation: A Critical Review for Implementation In Bangladeshi Colleges

 

Ashim Kumar Paul

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0027-897X

Department of English, Ishwardi Government College, Pabna, Bangladesh

*e-mail:  [email protected]

 

Article Information

 

ABSTRACT

Received: November 10, 2020

Revised: December 11, 2020

Accepted: December 12, 2020

Online: March 01, 2021

 

 

The research purpose of achieving quality education is that enhancing teachers' performance is a must since it determines students' learning and academic achievement. On the other hand, peer observation (PO) is a practical tool used in a classroom where two peers work together and observe each other's teaching, and accordingly, the observer gives constructive feedback to the observed teacher, helping bring about positive changes in the instruction.  Therefore, this paper seeks to explore the effectiveness of peer observation and formulate a framework for its implementation for improving the teaching performance of Bangladeshi college teachers. In this regard, the researcher used a secondary data analysis method in which around 75 papers, including journal articles, conference proceedings, and research reports of different authors and organizations, were studied, analyzed, and discussed in this paper. Besides, two more case studies in international contexts were elaborate to review. After analyzing the documents, the researcher divided the issue into several themes and sub-themes. The result found that the PO's implementation would enhance the teachers' performance, and consequently, the students' success would be augmented.  Later, deliberating on different PO models, an implementation plan for PO in Bangladeshi colleges context was devised and developed.

Keywords

 

peer observation, quality education, teachers' performance, Bangladeshi colleges

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Quality teachers' role in ensuring quality education aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is vividly immense (Irvine et al., 2016). Therefore, Bangladesh's government is now focusing on developing teachers' performance through various initiatives (Chowdhury et al., 2018). In this regard, peer observation (PO) can be chosen since it is an efficacious approach to increasing teaching capacity, improving teachers' confidence to teach, and learning more about enhancing teaching practices (Bell et al., 2008). Besides, it promotes a culture of acceptable teaching practices accomplished by experienced teachers for the teaching performance of novice and relatively less experienced teachers (Donnelly, 2007; Ali, 2012). According to Donnelly (2007), the PO is a formal process that identifies, disseminates, and enhances teachers' good teaching practice in teaching-learning activities. Robinson, n.d. (2010) opines that the PO refers to a teacher closely observing a lesson to understand some features of instructional methods and classroom interaction. On the other hand, Fletcher (2018), Kinchin (2006), and Tosriadi et al. (2018)  expound that PO is a common approach between two colleagues in the classroom where they willingly work in collaboration to find the strength and the weakness of their teaching for enhancing their instructional practices. PO is an approach of appraising education through feedback to help the teachers improve their reflective teaching practice (Hammersley et al., 2004).

 

Background of the Study

The concept PO is not familiar to the teachers working in tertiary colleges in Bangladesh, and accordingly, it is not practiced elsewhere. Currently, the researcher has been working in a government college offering tertiary education for more than four years as a Lecturer in English. Here, he found the college is yet to be familiar with PO, let alone implement it. Even he talked to many teachers who are also working in different colleges across Bangladesh, but they shared that they were not acquainted with the PO process. Therefore, the urge for improving teaching practice and its evaluation cannot aptly be determined. However, Annual Confidential Report (ACR) used to measure an employee's competitiveness in Bangladesh Civil Service (Haque, 2012) acts as a mirror of monitoring and evaluating the government colleges' teaching performances in Bangladesh. Generally, the principal of the particular college authorizes the ACR of the teachers concerning their job performance, gives marks (ranging from 01-100) with necessary comments, and submits to the Ministry of Education. Although the ACR marks can influence the promotion and transfer of the teachers (Purohit et al., 2016), this process is, by no means, comparable to PO since the principal does not know and observe how the teachers teach in the classroom and whether their teaching requires further improvement or motivates the students to learn. In truth, the ACR marks entirely depend on the principal's personal bias towards an individual teacher (Stafyarakis et al., 2002). Therefore, ACR does not reflect the basic features of the PO.

 

The rationale of the study

Teaching performance involves a teacher's pedagogical practice, coupled with his/her competence to ensure students' learning achievements and obtain levels of excellence in education (Garton et al., 1999). According to Suarez & Toro (2018), students' academic achievements can be augmented by good teaching performance. In this regard, teachers should reflect on their pedagogical performance (J. C. Richards, 2017). In other words, teachers should be reflective in developing a comprehensive idea of their teaching performances (Gálvez Suarez et al., 2018). On the other hand, Wenglinsky (2002) opines that a strong connection exists between an academic institution's assessment culture and teachers' performances. More specifically, the teachers who go through an assessment culture demonstrate better understanding. However, in Bangladeshi colleges, such evaluative culture to enhance teaching performance is absent.  As a result, the new and less experienced teachers cannot know whether their teaching practice needs improvement or modification. Accordingly, they do not feel the need to improve their teaching practice and fall back on conventional teaching approaches that cannot guarantee better student learning outcomes (Anglin et al., 2008).

Hence, to ensure and enhance teaching performance, teachers' individual needs should necessarily be addressed (Wilson et al., 1995). Similarly, the teachers also need to reflect on their teaching to identify their teaching practice's strengths and understand the areas to be improved (Tice, 2004). Without identifying the areas of teaching skills to develop, it cannot be possible to provide the exact remedy for improving teaching performance (Osamwonyi, 2016). In this regard, the PO has long been deemed a reflective approach focusing on teachers' needs and allowing learning from and giving colleagues feedback (Hammersley et al., 2004). Besides, it helps teachers evolve their practices to better students' learning outcomes (Fatemipour, 2013). Above all, PO offers the teachers a developmental learning opportunity to enhance their teaching performance (Tosriadi et al., 2018).

 

Review of Literature

Peer Observation and Teaching Performance

PO can play a significant role in improving the performances of teachers  (M. Bell, 2012). Through PO, the observer can refine his teaching performance by watching a teacher's performance, and the observee can find focused and specific feedback useful for enhancing his teaching practice (Wankat et al., 1993). In short, both the observers and the observers see the prospect of mutually developing their teaching performance (Carbone, 2014). Notably, the new teachers find PO beneficial in boosting their confidence (Carroll et al., 2014). According to Bell et al., (2008), PO helps develop collaboration between teachers. As a result, teachers can learn new skills and instructional approaches and receive feedback from each other, contributing to making changes in them and building self-efficacy and trust. Accordingly, it substantially brings about good influences on teachers' professional development (Tenenberg, 2016). It further improves teachers' self-awareness, self-criticality, self-reflection, and self-esteem regarding curriculum, teaching practice, and students' learning outcome encompassing professional experience and performance (Hammersley et al., 2004; M. Bell, 2012; Bowers, 2000).

 

A Precious Tool for Professional Development

PO can function as a valuable developmental tool for both observers and observers (Tosriadi et al., 2018). The PO process promotes a culture of sharing acceptable teaching practices amongst the teachers (Whitlock et al., 2004). Thus, those who undergo the PO process can hone their teaching performances (Byrne et al., 2010). However, while the experienced faculty members appreciate the PO as a reflection tool, the new instructors consider PO to develop their instructional practices (M. Bell, 2001). The PO helps both the observer and observee understand their job role and spot the areas in their instructional way for further improvement (Blackmore, 2005).

 

An Opportunity of Learning by Observing

PO offers the learning opportunity by observing a colleague's teaching (Thomson et al., 2015). This 'learning by observing' opportunity might help the teachers reflect upon their current teaching practice and opt for new ideas relevant and necessary for developing teaching performances (A. Bell et al., 2010). More specifically, in the PO process, the observers get more benefited by enhancing their instructional approach than they can do about developing the observees' instructional practice (Kohut et al., 2007).

 

Developing Collegiality

PO contributes to promoting a spirit of cooperation (M. Bell, 2012). According to Richards et al., (2005), PO motivates teachers to nurture a collegiality culture to share and discuss their teaching prospects and concerns. On the other hand, the teachers who participated in the PO process acknowledge that PO enhancing their professional relationships helps them ward off stress and seclusion connected with the teaching job (Atkinson et al., 2010).

Thus, the PO is appreciated for offering the unique opportunity to share best teaching practices and collaborate, enhancing more respect for the colleagues and their teaching approaches (A. Bell et al., 2008).

 

Providing Reflective feedback

In post-observation sessions, the PO aims to impart constructive feedback to the observee to ensure further instructional practice improvement (Cosh, 1999). In other words, reflective feedback lets the observee know whether his teaching strategies work well or need improvement (Gosling, 2002).  However, if the observer feels coerced into giving merely positive remarks, the aim of feedback would be ruined (G. Jones, 1993).

Contrary to applause or reproach, thoughtful feedback addresses definite issues and provides the observed teacher with sufficient information for development. Hence, the observer should be a critical friend instead of a 'critical' or 'friend' since it builds mutual respect and trust between the observer and the observee (Shortland, 2004).

 

Guidelines for using Peer Observation

Although there are various ways to use PO, the most commonly applied model is centered on clinical supervision, emphasizing pedagogical strategies' development through the direct observation of instruction (Gaies et al., 1990). It comprises a three-step process: pre-observation stage, observation stage, and post-observation stage (Chism, 2007; Marczely, 2002; Shortland, 2010). This three-stage process maximizes the teachers' professional performance and promotes reflection and collaboration (Wilkins et al., 2011; Munson, 1998)

Pre-observation Stage

In a pre-observation meeting, both observee and observer come to terms regarding the initiation of PO. This stage allows the observer to share with the observer teacher about contextual information regarding the course, instructional strategies and philosophy, assessment procedures, and specific focus areas during observation (Davis, 2011). On the other hand, the observer shares the observation process with the observer (Sullivan et al., 2012). Thus, this stage clarifies the PO process's goal, and the observer's and the observer's roles establish assessment criteria and build rapport between both teachers (McMahon et al., 2007).

 

Observation Stage

The observer should reach to be familiar with the classroom environment and let the students know about the observation process to help teachers' professional development and not assess the pupils (P. J. C. Richards et al., 2005). During the observation stage, the observee should focus on teaching practices, time management, dealing with quiet students, motivating and overseeing students for learning activities. However, the observer should overlook the observer's presence in the classroom (J. C. Richards et al., 2011). On the other hand, the observer should focus on the students' motivation, listening, and learning (Martin et al., 1998). While writing the observation note, the observer is also advised to focus on the instructional practice and use of teaching aids of the observee  (P. J. C. Richards et al., 2005). The language used in the observation note for giving feedback should be objective, specific, and non-judgmental so that the observer can be motivated rather than demoralized.

 

Post Observation Stage

The post-observation stage stands out as a vital part of the PO process leading to enhanced teaching (Chism, 2007). According to Donnelly (2007), the post-observation stage should focus on three key themes: a review of the criteria and agreements, a review of learning outcomes of the watched lecture, and an analysis of the lesson plan. Here, the observer provides the observer with feedback on the watched lesson, and they will discuss, analyze, and apply the essence of the feedback in the future (Gosling, 2002). According to Shortland (2010), the feedback should be insightful, specific, unbiased, and reasonable. The more non-judgemental feedback is, the more likely the teacher is to incorporate feedback into his future teaching.  However, the observer should reflect on the feedback to bring about necessary instructional strategy changes (J. C. Richards et al., 2011).

 

Best Practices

In this section, two case studies taken from foreign contexts as the best practices were discussed, analyzed, and connected to Bangladeshi colleges' present milieu.

 

Case Study 01: Developing Higher Education Teaching Skills through Peer Observation and Collaborative Reflection

 

Overview of the study

The authors of the article (Martin et al., 1998) chose the department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bradford to carry out a pilot scheme that commenced early in the summer term of 1995. The pilot scheme aimed to provide a structure for teachers involved in teaching at higher education institutions to get constructive feedback on their instructional practices to develop teaching and learning.

 

Identifying the key issues

Although the researchers intended to include all department teachers in the scheme, one-third of the total teachers prevented themselves from participation, raising some causes like insufficient time, unsuccessful getting partners, and validity of the PO process. On the other hand, most of the teachers in the scheme who were experienced felt worried about being observed. Their anxiety was also in line with Chamberlain et al. (2011), where the participants showed disinterest and felt wary of participating in the PO process, terming it as overly bureaucratic. Nevertheless, during the implementation stage, while the more experienced teachers tended to be very cautious of the PO process, the younger teachers accepted the experience. Hence, in this study, the participants were given the liberty to select partners for participation to reduce their nervousness. Even the teachers had the autonomy to choose the sessions to be observed. Moreover, it followed the three-stage process, including pre-observation meetings, observation, and feedback meetings to ensure collaboration between the teachers (Huston et al., 2008). Additionally, the feedback session was made private between the observee and the observer (A. Bell & Mladenovic, 2008).

 

Analyzing the Findings of the Study

The results of the pilot scheme had mixed reactions amongst the participants. While most participating teachers found the pilot scheme rejuvenating (Adshead et al., 2006), some teachers felt uncomfortable or somewhat nervous about being observed (Chamberlain et al., 2011). Similarly, most of the observers' responses were optimistic about the observers' role in attending classes and commenting on teaching practices like evaluating instruction, constructive feedback, and building confidence (Day, 2013; Norbury, 2001). Conversely, a few participating teachers felt uneasy at the observers' presence (Todd, 2017).  Nonetheless, most observers lauded the opportunity to observe their colleagues' teaching practices and felt that watching the teaching practice would generate new ideas for their teaching practices. The pilot scheme also let the participants revisit their instructional practices from a collaborative standpoint (A. Bell & Mladenovic, 2008). More importantly, the participating teachers who were dedicated got more out of the scheme and shared the most positive opinions about the PO process.

 

Connecting the Case Study to Bangladeshi Colleges Context

The findings of this pilot scheme can be aligned with the context of Bangladeshi colleges. Firstly, most of the experienced teachers here do not reflect upon their teaching performances. Therefore, they follow the same teaching strategies years after years and do not think about their teaching and modify their instructional practices. Secondly, when colleges' authority wants to send them to any external training program, most of them show disinterest in attending. They feel that they are already experienced in teaching practices, and so, following the training session can be deemed a waste of time. Thirdly, the new teachers in Bangladeshi colleges show much interest in joining the training program and consider it an opportunity to enhance their teaching practices.

 

Case Study 02: Peer observation of teaching: Engineering new skills and collegiality

 

Overview of the study

The researchers of the article (Cooper et al., 2009) attempted to conduct a pilot program regarding the efficacy of peer observation in a school of Engineering at the University of Wollongong with the critical objectives of improving teachers' performances and augmenting collegiality among the colleagues. In this regard, they designed a peer observation partnership program, and it included seven phases for implementing the pilot program: Preparatory workshop, Initial Observation Sessions, Partnership groups formed, Planning meetings, Observations, Feedback meetings, and Evaluation.

 

Identifying the key issues

The researchers arranged 'Preparatory Workshop' & 'Initial Observation Sessions' to provide the teachers with sufficient information about PO and reduce their concerns and fears regarding PO. These sessions were rated as useful by the participants. The researchers' intention of organizing such sessions was to provide a solution to the possible problems arising from a holistic approach applied in an institution since Lomas and Kinchin's (2006) observation shared that some departments still lack the necessary information PO, which hampered the aim of PO process. The researchers used the 'Partnership groups formed' phase where the interested teachers privately sent e-mails to the coordinator with their preferred colleagues' names for formulating groups. This step was aimed to establish a collaborative relationship between the observed and the observer since it includes confidentiality and, therefore, increases collegiality among the colleagues. Moreover, while the researchers used an external coordinator in the 'Preparatory Workshop' and the teams' information, the external coordinator was also invited to some groups' feedback meetings. It is worth-pointing that the researchers introduced an external coordinator in the PO process. External coordinator use was lauded because it helped the participants understand the entire program more effectively by facilitating the pre-observation and post-observation stages. Additionally, the Evaluation phase was an added value to seek the perceptions of the participants about the efficacy of the program since through the evaluation, the researchers could know whether the program worked well or needed changes for more efficacy

 

Analyzing the Findings of the Study

The researchers documented the findings of their pilot program through quantitative and qualitative data from twelve participants. Nonetheless, about the effectiveness of PO in developing skills, the participating teachers found the program worthwhile for developing skills and ideas for giving and receiving feedback useful for effective teaching, increasing confidence in teaching, and promoting a collegiality culture.

Furthermore, the Evaluation phase was an added value to seek the participants' perceptions about the program's efficacy since through the evaluation, the researchers could know whether the program worked well or needed changes for more efficacy. Here, the participants added that they considered the program useful for enhancing particular skills such as crowd control, time management, preparing lesson plans, giving feedback on students' assignments, organized instruction, developing learners' concentration and focus. The young teachers mentioned the positive change in their approach to senior academics (Karabağ, 2000). However, different opinions came from only experienced teachers as they thought to be already confident in teaching (Blackmore, 2005).

 

Connecting the Case Study to Bangladeshi Colleges Context

Like the first case study, this pilot program's findings also resemble Bangladeshi colleges' context to some extent. The experienced teachers in Bangladeshi colleges and academic contexts are not easily approachable to the new ones since the hierarchy system prevails in our context. Hence, the newly joined teachers cannot consult with the experienced teachers about their teaching strategies and concerns. As a result, the collegiality between the experienced and novice teachers cannot develop. However, the researcher feels if PO is introduced in Bangladeshi colleges context, the gap between the experienced and novice teachers hampering professional development will be reduced.

 

METHODS

This study applied the secondary data analysis method and reviewed the current teaching practices in Bangladesh, academic and research articles published from home and abroad, and online resources selected at random to develop its concepts, strategies, and drivers.

On the other hand, it also reflects the personal experiences and observations of the researcher. Lessons from the several empirical studies and best practices of foreign context and the researcher's professional understandings offer circumstantial evidence for the challenges of implementing PO in Bangladeshi colleges.

However, some possible solutions to the PO's implementation discuss in light of available literature and personal experiences and observation. Nonetheless, the researcher developed this paper for the following objectives to achieve:

1.    To investigate the effectiveness of peer observation on the teaching performances of the teachers

2.    To explore the best methods to implement a PO program in Bangladeshi colleges offering tertiary education.

3.    To seek possible solutions to some potential challenges regarding the implementation of the PO.

 

RESULTS

After reviewing various research publications and the researcher's personal and professional experiences and insights, the following actions plan and strategies for implementing peer observation in the Bangladeshi colleges have been devised and elaborated.

 

Implementing Peer Observation in Bangladeshi colleges

As many colleges are located in semi-urban areas, training opportunities for enhancing professional development are not often available for the colleges' teachers. In this regard, the PO can be an effective process that offers opportunities like 'learning by observing' enhancing teachers' professional development (Thomson et al., 2015). More specifically, when PO is introduced, the teachers will get the opportunities to observe one another's teaching strategies, which will help them reflect upon and bring about necessary changes in their current practices for further development. The newly appointed teachers can significantly enhance their teaching performance by observing their experienced teachers (M. Bell, 2001). Since PO helps both the observer and observee to understand their job role and spot the areas for further improvement in their instructional practice (Blackmore, 2005), the novice teachers can improve their teaching performance by observing other teachers' instructional strategies and receiving feedback on their teaching practices from the peer teachers.

On the contrary, the experienced teachers of Bangladeshi colleges can find PO as a reflection tool (M. Bell, 2001). When observing other teachers' teaching practices, they can evaluate the teachers' instructional practices with much more insight developed through experience. Accordingly, provide constructive feedback useful for enhancing teaching practices of new and less experienced teachers (P. J. C. Richards et al., 2005). Besides, the experienced teachers can update their teaching performances by observing other teachers' instructional practices cutting-edge educational technology and approaches in the classroom. Thus, the PO process will allow experienced teachers to modernize their teaching practices and share their experiences and reflective feedback with other teachers.

Moreover, the majority of teachers come to college from their house. So, they are often in a hurry to leave the campus as soon as their classes are over. Hence, they cannot discuss and share the issues and concerns revolving around their instructional practices. As a result, a positive relationship of collaboration among the teachers cannot grow. In this regard, the PO offers a unique opportunity to make collegiality among the colleagues (A. Bell et al., 2008) and develop their current teaching practices accordingly.

 

Peer Observation Action Plan in Bangladeshi Colleges

Since the principals can decide regarding the implementation of PO in their respective colleges, they should initially be informed and convinced about the PO's effectiveness in the college context. Upon their consent, steps for the implementation of the PO can be taken. In this regard, two case studies and literature review findings will guide the implementation of PO in Bangladeshi colleges.

 

Step-1 Preparing teachers for participation:

The teachers do not know about the PO process and its implementation stages of making them informed, prepared, and motivated. A preparatory workshop or in-house training session in the respective college where an expert or a pool of experts on PO will conduct the session will be arranged where the purposes, benefits, and implementation stages of PO and the teachers' responsibilities will be elaborately discussed. Because lack of understanding of PO's purposes and benefits and their roles in the process, like observing, and giving constructive feedback, would prevent the teachers from participating and contributing to the process effectively (Lomas et al, 2006).

 

Step-2 Selecting the peers:

The teachers should be given the freedom to choose their partners for the PO process since it will ease their nervousness and develop a mutual understanding of constructive feedback (Shortland, 2004). Hence, the teachers will be inspired to select their partners. In this regard, to maintain confidentiality and collegiality among the colleagues, the program coordinator can seek the teachers' preferred names to work with and then form the groups. 

 

Step-3 Pre-observation Meeting:

Following the preparatory workshop and partnership formation sessions, the implementation of the PO process shall begin in the respective departments. In this regard, the department head will lead the program and allocate a schedule for each pair of teachers. Before initiating the observation process, a pre-observation meeting between the observee and the observer will be held where the observee will inform the observer teacher about the course, teaching strategies, evaluation process, and preferred areas to focus during observation (Davis, 2011). On the other hand, the observer will let the observee know about the procedure to observe the lesson to establish a mutual understanding (Sullivan et al., 2012). Since the classrooms of all departments in our college are enriched with multimedia facilities, the video camera can be used for recording the entire class for it will help the observer evaluate the lecture and give feedback precisely.

 

Step-4 Observation Stage:

This stage will be accomplished according to the pre-observation meeting's decision between the observee and the observer. However, before initiating the observation process, the students will be informed about the PO program so that their anxiety and uneasiness do not ensue because of observer and fear of evaluation (P. J. C. Richards et al., 2005).

 

Step-5 Post-observation Meeting:

After observing the class, the post-observation meeting will be held in a private and comfortable environment. This meeting will involve the observee's self-appraisal and the observer's constructive feedback (Wilkerson et al., 1988). Although the observer will discuss the critical aspects based on initial observation and notes on the observee's class (Chism, 2007), the observer can provide detailed and more specific feedback after watching the class's video-clip recording. On the contrary, the observer shall reflect upon the observer's feedback to cause necessary changes in the teaching strategies, if required (M. Bell, 2001).

 

Step-6 Assessment procedure:

Initially, the PO process applied in the respective college departments will be evaluated through formative assessment. However, at the end of the year, a summative assessment can be done where the head of the departments' feedback reports on the PO process held around the year will be discussed, analyzed, and resubmitted to the principal. A study involving a questionnaire and interview regarding the teachers' perceptions and experience about the PO process will also be administered. Since the assessment reports are written against a set of criteria determining the improvement of teaching performances (C. A. Jones, 2005), the review of assessment reports and the findings of the study will help the principal of a particular college decide whether the teachers can change their attitudinal and experimental improvement as well as get reflective necessary for enhancing teaching performances (Lange, 1990; Dillon et al., 2020).

 

DISCUSSION

The above review convincingly illustrates the significance of employing PO in Bangladeshi higher education, especially tertiary colleges. Various models on implementing PO in enhancing teachers' professional development and empirical studies about the PO were discussed and analyzed.

However, while the PO has been deemed a practical tool to improve teaching performances, it also demands some crucial factors to consider for the implementation and involves some challenges in implementation.

Strengths required to support the implementation of Peer Observation

The following are some areas of strength required to implement PO in Bangladeshi colleges.

 

Enthusiasm to learn

The new and less experienced teachers should nurture a spirit of enthusiasm for learning. They need to be dedicated and committed to their profession and endeavor to upgrade their teaching quality. In other words, their enthusiasm to learn and develop their professionalism is one of the major strengths for introducing the PO process in Bangladeshi colleges.

 

Experienced Teachers

From personal experience and learning from senior colleagues, it is assuming that Bangladeshi colleges enrich many experienced teaching staff who have higher degrees from home and abroad and extended professional experience. With their qualification and experience, they can perform well as observe and observer teachers from whom the novice teachers can learn a lot.

 

Principal's Dedication and Aspiration

Apart from performing his administrative duties, the principals of Bangladeshi colleges are also expecting to bring out affirmative changes in the institution's teaching-learning environment. They need to be ready to offer any sort of help for enhancing teaching performances and learning outcomes. The principal's dedication and aspiration are the sufficient strength required for implementing the PO process.

 

Potential Challenges and Solutions to the Implementation of Peer Observation in Bangladeshi colleges

In this section, some potential challenges and their possible solutions have been described based on research.

 

Lack of Time

Time will be a critical issue that might impede the PO's implementation (M. Bell, 2001). Apart from taking classes and evaluating answer scripts, teachers of Bangladeshi colleges have to perform many other duties like working in various committees, conducting internal and external exams, invigilating examination halls, and more. So, it will be challenging to manage time for attending the PO by the teachers. Although there is no distinctive research available on the teachers of Bangladeshi colleges' problems, The authors feel the class time should not collide with the teachers' schedule of other duties.

 

Political Interference

Student politics is active in almost all Bangladeshi colleges. Often the political leaders of student wings intervene during the classes and get them out of the classroom to join the political rally (Alam et al., 2008).

Hence, the teaching-learning process in the classroom is interrupted (Islam, 2013), and accordingly, the implementation of the PO process will hold back to overcome this challenge. The colleges' authority should discuss with the leaders of student wings and prohibit any political program during class time to ensure a college's congenial environment (Nasrin et al., 2019).

 

Creating boredom

While the PO process involves embedded learning opportunities, it may give rise to boredom among the observers and observe teachers (Todd, 2017). Especially if both the observee and observer are required to involve themselves in the PO process regularly, they might feel bored very soon (M. Bell, 2001).

If the teachers are motivated to perceive the PO as an essential practice for improving their teaching performances with well-defined plans, they are likely to override the time pressures (Adshead et al., 2006). Moreover, to avoid boredom, the PO process should be conducted two days a week, and these days, the observer and observee's role will be reciprocal.

 

Problem with feedback

If the observer is superior to the observer, the observer might feel anxious to comment on the observer's class (Day, 2013). As a result, the purpose of the PO will hamper. A culture of 'constructive' feedback should foster understanding the importance of 'constructive' feedback for enhancing their teaching performances (Cole, 2003; Borich, 1999).

 

Problem with being observed

One of the PO's significant purposes is to improve teaching performances (Hammersley et al., 2004). Therefore, observing one's class lecture is essential. However, some teachers might feel uneasy about taking classes in front of other teachers (Chamberlain et al., 2011). Hence, they might not agree to attend the PO process. Those who might feel uneasy in teaching before other teachers receive counseling and are trained to conduct the class like regular motion should not take the observer's presence into cognizance (Todd, 2017).

 

CONCLUSION

Although peer observation (PO) is deemed an essential issue for the teachers' teaching performance, the tertiary colleges affiliated with the National University of Bangladesh are yet to take any pragmatic step to introduce and implement PO in their context. The current teaching practices in Bangladeshi colleges mainly follow the traditional approaches that do not challenge the teaching strategies and do not encourage teachers to reflect on their teaching. Accordingly, they do not feel the urge to improve their teaching practices, and the expected students learning outcome cannot be yield. Hence, to enhance students' learning outcomes through the reflective teaching practice, the existing teaching practice and evaluation process need to be changed. The teachers should be inspired to be reflective, and their teaching performances should be critically challenged and improved. 

Hence, in this study, the PO has been chosen to explore its effectiveness in enhancing teachers' teaching performances in Bangladeshi colleges in Bangladesh. The review of available literature suggests that the PO has positive effects on teaching performance through which students' learning achievement can ensure. Two case studies highlighting the application of PO in the higher education arena of international contexts have been discussed and analyzed to obtain more insight into PO effectiveness. The results and analysis of case studies show that the PO successfully enhances teaching performance and motivates teachers. Moreover, the researcher analyzed the strengths of colleges required to support the implementation of PO and possible benefits of implementing PO in the colleges to gain more insight. The researcher was convinced that the PO's application in Bangladeshi colleges would improve the teaching performance. Accordingly, he also designed and developed an implementation plan for introducing PO in Bangladeshi colleges. However, the researcher discussed and portrayed some potential challenges that the teachers might confront during and after implementing the PO. In this regard, he put forward possible solutions to the potential challenges. However, following the review, analyses, and implications of the PO process in the higher education context, the researcher advocated implementing PO in Bangladeshi colleges affiliated with National University, Bangladesh.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The researcher would like to thank his academic supervisor Dr. Hjh Shamsiah Banu, Assistant Professor, Centre for Academic Partnerships & Engagement (CAPE), the University of Nottingham, Malaysia, who helped him understand the context.

 

REFERENCES

Adshead, L., White, P. T., & Stephenson, D. A. (2006). Introducing peer observation of teaching to GP teachers: A questionnaire study. Medical teacher, 28(2), e68–e73. https://doi.org/10.1080/01421590600617533

Alam, G. M., & Shahjamal, M. M. (2008). The role of technological transformation in education at network age for human resource development. Edu. Policy. Fall. Retrieved from https://in.nau.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/135/2018/08/The-Role-of-Technological-Transformation-in-Education-at-Network-Age-for-Human-Resource-Development-ek.pdf

Ali, S. A. (2012). Peer observation of teaching (POT) for quality assurance in EFL context. New York Science Journal, 5(11), 15-22. http://www.dx.doi.org/10.7537/marsnys051112.04

Anglin, L., & Anglin, K. (2008). Business education, teaching, and the millennials. Proceedings of the Academy of Business Disciplines. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1064654

Atkinson, D. J., & Bolt, S. (2010). Using Teaching Observations to Reflect Upon and Improve Teaching Practice in Higher Education. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(3), 1–19. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ906466

Bell, A., & Mladenovic, R. (2008). The benefits of peer observation of teaching for tutor development. Higher Education, 55(6), 735–752. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-007-9093-1

Bell, A., Mladenovic, R., & Segara, R. (2010). Supporting the reflective practice of tutors: What do tutors reflect on? Teaching in Higher Education, 15(1), 57–70. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/13562510903488139

Bell, M. (2001). Supported reflective practice: A programme of peer observation and feedback for academic teaching development. International Journal for Academic Development, 6(1), 29–39. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/13601440110033643

Bell, M. (2012). Peer Observation Partnerships in Higher Education. Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) - Papers. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/asdpapers/402

Blackmore, J. A. (2005). A critical evaluation of peer review via teaching observation within higher education. International Journal of Educational Management, 19(3), 218–232.  https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540510591002

Borich, G. D. (1999). Observation Skills for Effective Teaching. Upper Saddle River. Prentice-Hall. Retrieved from https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/observation-skills-effective-teaching-gary-borich/10.4324/9781315633206

Bowers, D. L. (2000). Teachers' use of peer observation and feedback as a means of professional development. 1. Retrieved from https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=5478314

Byrne, J., Brown, H., & Challen, D. (2010). Peer development as an alternative to peer observation: A tool to enhance professional development. International Journal for Academic Development, 15(3), 215–228. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2010.497685

Carbone, A. (2014). A peer-assisted teaching scheme to improve units with critically low student satisfaction: Opportunities and challenges. Higher Education Research & Development, 33(3), 425–439. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2013.841644

Carroll, C., & O'Loughlin, D. (2014). Peer observation of teaching: Enhancing academic engagement for new participants. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51(4), 446–456. https://doi.org/10.1080/14703297.2013.778067

Chamberlain, J. M., D'Artrey, M., & Rowe, D.-A. (2011). Peer observation of teaching: A decoupled process. Active Learning in Higher Education, 12(3), 189–201. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787411415083

Chism, N. V. N. (2007). Why introducing or sustaining peer review of teaching is so hard, and what you can do about it. The Department Chair, 18(2), 6–8. https://doi.org/10.1002/dch.20017

Chowdhury, R., & Sarkar, M. (2018). Education in Bangladesh: Changing Contexts and Emerging Realities. In R. Chowdhury, M. Sarkar, F. Mojumder, & M. M. Roshid (Eds.), Engaging in Educational Research: Revisiting Policy and Practice in Bangladesh (pp. 1–18). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-0708-9_1

Cole, R. E. (2003). New organizational designs for sustainable quality improvement. Proceedings from the 6th International Conference on Quality Management and Organisational Development (QMOD). Retrieved from  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228911960_Evaluating_Teaching_Quality

Cooper, P., & Bell, M. (2009). Peer observation of teaching: Engineering new skills and collegiality. Faculty of Engineering - Papers (Archive), 924–930. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/engpapers/526/

Cosh, J. (1999). Peer observation: A reflective model. ELT Journal, 53(1), 22–27. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/53.1.22

Davis, T. S. (2011). Peer observation: A faculty initiative. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 3(2), 106–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cptl.2011.01.009

Day, R. R. (2013). Peer Observation and Reflection in the ELT Practicum. Online Submission. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED546863

Dillon, H., James, C., Prestholdt, T., Peterson, V., Salomone, S., & Anctil, E. (2020). Development of a formative peer observation protocol for STEM faculty reflection. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 45(3), 387–400. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2019.1645091

Donnelly, R. (2007). Perceived Impact of Peer Observation of Teaching in Higher Education. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 19(2), 117–129. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ901290

Fatemipour, H. (2013). The Efficiency of the Tools Used for Reflective Teaching in ESL Contexts. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 93, 1398–1403. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.051

Fletcher, J. A. (2018). Peer Observation of Teaching: A Practical Tool in Higher Education. The Journal of Faculty Development, 32(1), 51–64. Retrieved from https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/magna/jfd/2018/00000032/00000001/art00008

Gaies, S., & Bowers, R. (1990). Clinical supervision of language teaching: The supervisor as trainer and educator. Second Language Teacher Education, 167–181. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2307/3587097/pdf

Gálvez Suarez, E., & Milla Toro, R. (2018). Teaching Performance Evaluation Model: Preparation for Student Learning within the Framework for Teacher Good Performance. Journal of Educational Psychology - Propositos y Representaciones, 6(2), 431–452. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1196230

Garton, B. L., Spain, J. N., Lamberson, W. R., & Spiers, D. E. (1999). Learning Styles, Teaching Performance, and Student Achievement: A Relational Study. Journal of Agricultural Education, 40(3), 11–20. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/bryan_garton/publication/252730374_learning_styles_teaching_performance_and_student_achievement_a_relational_study/links/54d8d8880cf25013d0402333.pdf

Gosling, D. (2002). Models of Peer Observation of Teaching. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_Gosling/publication/267687499_Models_of_Peer_Observation_of_Teaching/links/545b64810cf249070a7955d3.pdf

Hammersley‐Fletcher *, L., & Orsmond, P. (2004). Evaluating our peers: Is peer observation a meaningful process? Studies in Higher Education, 29(4), 489–503. https://doi.org/10.1080/0307507042000236380

Haque, M. A. (2012). Performance Appraisal System of Bangladesh Civil Service: An Analysis of its Efficacy. International Public Management Review, 13(1), 38–60. Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/234704891.pdf

Huston, T., & Weaver, C. L. (2008). Peer Coaching: Professional Development for Experienced Faculty. Innovative Higher Education, 33(1), 5–20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10755-007-9061-9

Irvine, K., Weigelhofer, G., Popescu, I., Pfeiffer, E., Păun, A., Drobot, R., Gettel, G., Staska, B., Stanica, A., Hein, T., & Habersack, H. (2016). Educating for action: Aligning skills with policies for sustainable development in the Danube river basin. Science of The Total Environment, 543, 765–777. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.09.072

Islam, M. (2013). English Medium Instruction in the Private Universities in Bangladesh. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(1), 126–137. https://doi.org/10.17509/ijal.v3i1.195

Jones, C. A. (2005). Assessment for learning. Learning and Skills Development Agency. Retrieved from https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/id/eprint/7800

Jones, G. (1993). What to do before the session: Some guidance on observation of teaching in higher education. Observing Teaching, 31–33. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED376756

Karabağ, S. (2000). Attitudes of teachers and administrators towards peer observation. Doctoral Dissertation, Bilkent University. Retrieved from http://repository.bilkent.edu.tr/bitstream/handle/11693/18261/0008383.pdf?sequence=1

Kinchin, I. M. ; (2006, April 3). Evolving diversity within a model of peer observation at a UK university. Education-Line. Retrieved from  http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/153411.htm

Kohut, G. F., Burnap, C., & Yon, M. G. (2007). Peer Observation of Teaching: Perceptions of the Observer and the Observed. College Teaching, 55(1), 19–25. https://doi.org/10.3200/CTCH.55.1.19-25

Lange, D. L. (1990). A blueprint for a teacher development program. Second Language Teacher Education, 245–268. Retrieved from http://www.sciepub.com/reference/220523

Lomas, L., & Kinchin, I. (2006). Developing a peer observation program with university teachers. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 18(3), I204-214. Retrieved from http://isetl.org/ijtlhe/pdf/IJTLHE18(3).pdf#page=53

Marczely, B. (2002). Supervision in Education: A Differentiated Approach with Legal Perspectives Instructor's Manual. R&L Education. Retrieved from https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780834219106/Supervision-in-Education-A-Differentiated-Approach-with-Legal-Perspectives-Instructor's-Manual

Martin, G. A., & Double, J. M. (1998). Developing Higher Education Teaching Skills Through Peer Observation and Collaborative Reflection. Innovations in Education and Training International, 35(2), 161–170. https://doi.org/10.1080/1355800980350210

McMahon, T., Barrett, T., & O'Neill, G. (2007). Using observation of teaching to improve quality: Finding your way through the muddle of competing conceptions, confusion of practice and mutually exclusive intentions. Teaching in Higher Education, 12(4), 499–511. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562510701415607

Munson, B. R. (1998). Peers Observing Peers: The Better Way to Observe Teachers. Contemporary Education, 69(2), 108–110. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/20365e782aeea6f4ec8fd9f5f93abefc/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1816594

Nasrin, S., & Rahman, M. M. (2019). Politicization of student politics in Bangladesh: Historical experiences and contemporary trends. Journal of Social Science Studies, 6(2), 17–42. Retrieved from http://www.macrothink.org/journal/index.php/jsss/article/download/14385/11373

Norbury, L. (2001). Peer observation of teaching: A method for improving teaching quality. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 7(1), 87–99. https://doi.org/10.1080/13614530109516823

Osamwonyi, E. F. (2016). In-Service Education of Teachers: Overview, Problems and the Way Forward. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(26), 83–87. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1115837.pdf

Purohit, B., & Martineau, T. (2016). Is the Annual Confidential Report system effective? A study of the government appraisal system in Gujarat, India. Human Resources for Health, 1(14), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-016-0133-8

Richards, J. C. (2017). Teaching English through English: Proficiency, Pedagogy and Performance. RELC Journal, 48(1), 7–30. https://doi.org/10.1177/0033688217690059

Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2011). Practice Teaching: A Reflective Approach. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://trove.nla.gov.au/version/50207390

Richards, P. J. C., Richards, J. C., Farrell, T. S. C., & Farrell, P. T. S. C. (2005). Professional Development for Language Teachers: Strategies for Teacher Learning. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pornapit_Darasawang/publication/249251998_Professional_Development_for_Language_Teachers/links/53ead65b0cf28f342f44edbf/Professional-Development-for-Language-Teachers.pdf

Robinson, S. R. (n.d.). Peer observation of teaching: Barriers to successful implementation. Occasional Papers on Learning and Teaching at UniSA-Paper, 11., 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ijern.com/journal/2017/February-2017/21.pdf

Shortland, S. (2004). Peer observation: A tool for staff development or compliance? Journal of Further and Higher Education, 28(2), 219–228. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877042000206778

Shortland, S. (2010). Feedback within Peer Observation: Continuing Professional Development and Unexpected Consequences. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(3), 295–304. Retrieved from https://srhe.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14703297.2010.498181

Stafyarakis, M., & Eldridge, D. (2002). HRD and performance management. MSc in Human Resource Development Reading, 5. Retrieved from

Sullivan, P. B., Buckle, A., Nicky, G., & Atkinson, S. H. (2012). Peer observation of teaching as a faculty development tool. BMC Medical Education, 12(1). Retrieved from https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&issn=14726920&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA534165971&sid=googleScholar&linkaccess=abs

Tenenberg, J. (2016). Learning through observing peers in practice. Studies in Higher Education, 41(4), 756–773. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.950954

Thomson, K., Bell, A., & Hendry, G. (2015). Peer observation of teaching: The case for learning just by watching. Higher Education Research & Development, 34(5), 1060–1062. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2015.1034349

Tice, J. (2004). Reflective teaching: Exploring our own classroom practice. Teaching English Site, British Council, 1–3. Retrieved from https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/reflective-teaching-exploring-our-own-classroom-practice

Todd, M. A. (2017). Peer observation as a tool for professional development. Retrieved from https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1103&context=engl_etds

Tosriadi, T., Asib, A., Marmanto, S., & Azizah, U. A. (2018). Peer Observation as a Means to Develop Teachers' Professionalism. International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding, 5(3), 151–158. https://doi.org/10.18415/ijmmu.v5i3.140

Wankat, P. C., & Oreovicz, F. S. (1993). Models of cognitive development: Piaget and Perry. Teaching Engineering, 264–283. Retrieved from https://engineering.purdue.edu/ChE/aboutus/publications/teaching_eng/chapter14.pdf

Wenglinsky, H. (2002). The Link Between Teacher Classroom Practices and Student Academic Performance. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 10(0), 12. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v10n12.2002

Whitlock, W., & Rumpus, A. (2004). Peer observation: Collaborative teaching quality enhancement. Educational Initiative Centre Guide. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324482186_Peer_observation_of_teaching_A_practical_tool_in_higher_education

Wilkerson, L., & Lewis, K. G. (1988). Classroom observation: The observer as collaborator. A Handbook for New Practitioners, 95–98. Retrieved from https://cte.tcu.edu/services/classroom-observations/

Wilkins, E. A., & Shin, E.-K. (2011). Peer Feedback: Who, What, When, Why, and How. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 76(6), 49–53. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/c02bce6ac703272969995d3c2a3633a1/1.pdf?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=25066

Wilson, L., & Easen, P. (1995). 'Teacher Needs' and Practice Development: Implications for in‐classroom support. British Journal of In-Service Education, 21(3), 273–284. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305763950210304