Peer Review of Teaching and Learning by Zw48Ik7


									Peer Review of Learning and Teaching

       A guide for participants
Introduction and Philosophy
                                           The new policy for Cardiff is flexible
The Peer Review of Learning and            and light touch in approach, but also
Teaching (PRLT) is a familiar aspect       specific in its requirements for both
of good practice in higher education.      Schools and individual staff. The
In the case of multi-discipline,           former must provide confirmation to
research-led universities such as          the University that the policy is in
Cardiff, there is a need for policy to     operation. The latter must inform
embrace a diversity of activities, to      their School of the date and nature of
recognise existing practice and also       their PRLT activity. Fuller details are
foster the good health of teaching.        given below in the Frequently Asked
                                           Questions opposite.
PRLT is a pan-University activity for
all staff whose role directly impacts on   Approached in this open, positive
the student learning experience. It is     manner, PRLT has been shown to
an opportunity for staff to take part in   bring benefits to both teachers and
an annual, scholarly, peer-assisted        students, to support the learning
reflection on the breadth of their         process and to encourage the
teaching/learning support practice.        development of new models of
PRLT differs fundamentally from the        assessment and teaching. The new
narrow, judgemental exercise               policy is aimed at these ideals.
associated with the QAA in being both
a matter of professional development       Appendix 1 defines the key words:
and by its commitment to the               Peers, Reflective Practice, Review,
enhancement of the student                 Scholarship of learning and teaching
experience. It also differs by not being   and Teaching as used in the context
restricted to classroom observation.       of the Policy Framework.

The central tenets of PRLT are             The Policy Framework and support
reflection, development and                resources are available at:
enhancement. It is envisaged that,
through peer-assisted reflective
practice, participants will develop
within their roles and accumulate the
evidence required to support                          Professor Nigel Palastanga
enhancement and other activities.                    PVC Learning and Teaching
PRLT is aligned with initiatives that
support existing and anticipated                                 Cardiff University
requirements for the Continuing                                    February 2006
Professional Development (CPD) of
teachers/learning support staff in
Higher Education.

                          Frequently Asked Questions

Why has Cardiff University adopted        development are valued across the
this approach to PRLT?                    Institution.

The external context.                     Consultation process:

Learning and Teaching within higher       The Cardiff approach to PRLT draws
education institutions (HEIs) is          extensively on staff and student
receiving intensive scrutiny both         responses to an Institution-wide
nationally and internationally. Two       consultation process, and is informed
related issues are emerging: a major      by current literature and practice
policy shift towards improving student    across other, comparable HEIs.
learning and increasing emphasis
being placed upon institutions’           The consultation process identified a
provision of continuing professional      need for the development of a
development (CPD) opportunities for       flexible, enabling policy framework for
all staff involved in the student         PRLT that transferred responsibility
learning experience.                      for specific design and
                                          implementation to local sites.
The White Paper ‘The Future of            Specifically the consultation process
Higher Education’ (2003) proposed         suggested that the Policy Framework
that a national standards framework       should:
be developed for all who teach and         be simple,
support learning in HEIs as a means        embrace the whole teaching role,
of demonstrating the professionalism       be empowering and inclusive,
that staff bring to support the student    promote fair access to
learning experience. In addition, very       development resources for all staff.
many staff within Cardiff University
have externally imposed requirements      How does PRLT work in practice?
to demonstrate personal, ongoing
professional development.                 The University’s approach to PRLT
                                          offers participants the opportunity to
The internal context:                     pause and reflect on their
                                          teaching/learning support practice.
Cardiff University is structured around   PRLT is intended to promote dialogue
distinct communities of practice          focussed on professionalism in
(Schools/Directorates). Each has its      teaching (as underpinned by the
own priorities, language and culture      value statements in Box 1) across the
with respect to learning and teaching.    breath of teaching/learning support
Personal reflective and peer-assisted     roles, and is based upon peer-
reflective practices to inform personal   assisted, scholarly reflective practice.

  Box 1:                                     to support the Policy Framework
                                             [] offer
  In accordance with the University          a range of examples and links to
  Mission, the PRLT process is
  underpinned by the following values.
                                             relevant resources that outline
                                             successful, rigorous and embedded
 An understanding of how people learn       models. While PRLT acknowledges
 A concern for student development          the wealth of existing approaches
 A commitment to scholarship,               within Cardiff University, it is
  professionalism and ethical practice       important that base-line standards are
 A commitment to working with and           achieved. As such, all approaches
  learning from colleagues
                                             should demonstrate the following
 Working effectively with diversity and
  promoting inclusively                      features:
 A commitment to continuing reflection on
  professional practice.                      Confidentially resting with
                                              An initial peer discussion to set the
The Institution recommends the                 context, purpose and scope of
following as the minimum expected              PRLT.
frequency of participation in a formal        Peer-assisted reflective practice
PRLT cycle:                                    that is informed by evidence
                                               collected by the peer partners. The
 All Cardiff University staff whose           PRLT dialogue should not be
  activities directly impact on the            based upon subjective opinions.
  student learning experience will be         Peer-assisted reflective practice
  involved in the PRLT cycle.                  that is supported by related
 All staff with significant learning          discipline-specific or generic
  and teaching duties will complete            literature and evidence collected
  an identifiable PRLT cycle once              during the review cycle.
  per academic year.                          A non-judgemental dialogue where
 Staff whose main employer is not             staff feel safe to reflect on their
  the University, but who have some            established practice and
  teaching related responsibilities,           underpinning values.
  should take part in a PRLT cycle at         Confidential reflections exploring
  least biennially, as agreed across           the benefits of engaging with
  the School/Directorate.                      PRLT, the selected theme and
                                               possible implications for personal
What are the key components?                  A system for staff to disseminate
                                               examples of practice or seek
There are a variety of models of               advice for specific development.
PRLT across the UK and within the             A system that closes the loop and
University. The web-based resources            helps staff see the benefits of the

   PRLT activity and dissemination          Fieldwork learning
   e.g. through Appraisal.                  Module review
                                            Teaching/learning material
Are there specific things we should          development
be ‘Reviewing’?                             Assessment review
                                            Feedback on course work
No. PRLT encourages                         Face-to face teaching sessions
Schools/Directorates and participants       Clinical teaching
to look broadly at the                      On-line discussions
teaching/learning support role. In
Figure 1, the umbrella fabric              How does PRLT link with my
represents the student/staff learning      existing practice?
experience and the spokes the
elements that make-up that practice.
                                           PRLT should be viewed as a positive
                                           opportunity to ‘take-time out’ and
Figure 1: A holistic approach to PRLT.
                                           reflect on and evidence
                                           professionalism in teaching/learning
                                           support and not as an activity ‘bolted-
                                           onto’ daily practice. PRLT does not
                                           detract from the many informal
                                           opportunities for dialogue with which
                                           staff currently engage.

                                           How do I facilitate the reflective
                                           practice of others?
While Schools/Directorates will have
their specific contexts of practice, the   Reflective practice is often viewed as
following examples are provided to         a cyclical, spiral process (see Figure
suggest the potential breadth of PRLT      2 and web-based links) where
foci.                                      individuals use evidence from multiple
                                           sources to review a practice so that
 Engagement with the Assessment           they more forward with a confirmed
  Strategy/Learning and Teaching           and/or reframed approach. While
  Strategy                                 web-based proforma are available as
                                           triggers for discussion, participants
 Implementation of a more
                                           should negotiate the form and scope
  accessible curriculum
                                           of their data collection to suit their
 Engagement with Personal
                                           specific needs. There is no intention
  Development Planning (PDP)
                                           for PRLT to be judgmental or cloning
 Meetings with tutees/clients             in nature. In this context the term
 Post-graduate supervision                ‘review’ simply means: an opportunity
 Curriculum development                   to look at again.

Figure 2: A model of Reflective                 What will be done with the
Practice.                                       information/paperwork individual
                                                staff generate? Is there a hidden
       Professional                             agenda?
       Practice                 Act
                                                No. PRLT is a staff-orientated
                                                process for the mutual benefit of staff,
                                      Observe   students and the Institution. PRLT
            Act                                 aims to ensure safe teaching/learning
                      Reflect                   support practice and to promote
                                                excellence in learning and teaching.
                                                Schools/Directorates require evidence
  Reflect                                       (in the form of a frequency/topic
                                                record) that PRLT has been
                                                completed, but the records of the
Staff are encouraged to utilise the e-          specific dialogue remain confidential
portfolio tool within the Blackboard            to the peer pair/group. Staff will be
Content System to build evidence of             asked to consider how PRLT (in their
their attainments and reflections.              role as both reviewer and the
Further information about this can be           reviewed member of staff) has
obtained from the Information                   influenced their learning and teaching
Services Learning and Teaching                  practice during the Annual Appraisal
team.                                           process, but will not be asked to
                                                produce specific records or
What happens if uncover
potentially discriminatory                      Participants may choose to include
practice?                                       sections of PRLT records or
                                                transcripts within the teaching
Staff are advised to follow the                 portfolio they offer for
relevant University guidance when               promotion/regrading purposes. These
concerned that the PRLT process                 submissions will be viewed by HoS
may be uncovering practises that are            and School Promotion Panels, or
contrary to legislation or their Duty of        similar.
Care to prevent foreseeable harm to
colleagues and students.
                                                Will there be support to help staff
It is important that staff overtly              get going?
discuss issues of confidentiality
with their peer partner/group                   Many of the attributes and skills to
before undertaking any formal                   undertake and facilitate PRLT are
review activity.

inherent in any teaching/learning        Policy Framework. Good practice
support role. It is acknowledged         may include:
however, that participants may value
specific support in key areas such as:       Choosing an annual theme for
                                              whole School/Directorate
  undertaking reflective practice,          Adopting a PRLT format to meet
  facilitating scholarly, reflective         their needs (e.g. peer pairs,
   practice in others,                        triads, small groups).
  topics arising from consideration         Discussing the options for local
   of the Underpinning Values,                peer pairing or small group
  issues surrounding confidentially,         formation. Issues may include
  issues related to responsibilities         the benefits and/or perceived
   under Duty of Care and                     barriers to pairings across staff
   associated legislation and                 seniority levels, within or across
   regulation etc.                            disciplines etc.
                                             Discussing the perceived
While the Human Resources                     conflicts between a formative,
Directorate and Registry will meet            mutually beneficial reflective
generic and local development needs,          process and the need for
staff within Schools/Directorates may         confidentiality in instances of
wish to explore existing or new               perceived risk to staff or
processes to support staff in-house.          students.
                                             Discussing the staff
The web-based resources to support            development needed to help
the Policy Framework                          implement PRLT effectively.
[] offer        Participants will want to have
a range of examples of PRLT in                confidence in the value of the
practice and links to relevant                process and the ability of their
resources.                                    peer partner to do a good job.
                                             Schools/Directorates may wish
                                              to explore inter-disciplinary
How will Schools/Directorates help            partnerships.
us participate in PRLT?
                                         Schools / Directorates have a
Schools/Directorates will need to        responsibility to ensure fair access to
ensure that they are able to meet the    development and enhancement
minimum expectations set out in the      resources for all staff.

Where can I get more information?

For information about general                       HUMRS: Training and Development
courses/programmes of support:            
For information about Blackboard training and       INSRV: Learning and Teaching Team
e-portfolio opportunities:                          Email:
For ideas/options for implementing PRLT to          REGIS: Learning and Teaching Support
suit your local context :                 
For help with developing and implementing a         REGIS: Learning and Teaching Support
local PRLT process:                       
For information about potential legal liabilities   Corporate Compliance Unit
with respect to the PRLT process:         

Appendix 1 - Glossary:

Peers are colleagues normally, but not exclusively, operating within the same or a
similar community of practice. Peers are mutually supportive and will help each
other engage actively in a scholarly, reflective process.

Reflective practice is a means by which practitioners can develop a greater self-
awareness about the nature and impact of their performance, an awareness that
creates opportunities for professional growth and development (Osterman and
Kottkamp, 1993). Maximum benefits from reflection are said to occur when the
process happens in community, in interaction with others; when participants value
the personal and intellectual growth of themselves and others; and when
participants have time to engage in slow, non-assumptive thinking (Rodgers,

Review refers to the opportunity to reflect and visit again any aspect of the
teaching: student-learning interface. The integration of multiple sources of
evidence will provide detailed, descriptive, evidence-based data for peer-assisted
reflection on practice.

Scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) is characterised by: deep knowledge
of the subject or discipline being taught; pedagogical knowledge specific to the
discipline as well as general pedagogical knowledge; reflectivity; sharing and peer
review (Kreber, 2005). Scholarship in research is recognised as a public activity
valued through peer reviewed journals. Similarly teaching can be recognised as a
scholarly, public activity with peer review and student evaluations an automatic
part of CPD (Maier, 2003).

Teaching encompasses the whole breadth of the teaching/learning support role.
This is a deliberate departure from a narrow scrutiny of teaching ‘performance’.


To top