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Assessing Information Literacy Instruction

Methods librarians can use to assess and improve their teaching.

About Peer-to-Peer Teaching Observation

Teaching librarians are encouraged, but not required, to invite colleagues to observe their teaching. Observing a colleague teach is an opportunity to a) see different approaches to similar content b) engage in a constructive conversation about approaches to classroom teaching with a colleague.

Goals
To offer a structure as the basis for giving and receiving constructive feedback on teaching. The prompts are talking points for constructive conversation, they may not all apply to every observation scenario.

To encourage teaching librarians to participate we want the relationship between Peer Teaching Observation (an assessment practice) and Annual Reviews (a job performance evaluation practice) to be that primarily we emphasis and get “credit” for participating in both sides of the observation process. That is, asking for and receiving constructive feedback is encouraged, not penalized.

Structure
All observations include a pre- and post-meeting, either in person, via phone or web conferencing. You’re strongly encouraged to notify the subject instructor about the observation, and that the librarian is being observed for a teaching assessment; the instructor and students are not being evaluated.

  1. Pre-Observation Meeting
  2. Class Observation
  3. Post-Observation Meeting

You can download prompts for all three parts of the peer observation process (Word document below), or read them farther down on this page.

Pre-Observation Prompts

  1. What is the subject and structure of the course you’ll be teaching in?
  2. What are your learning objectives for this class?
  3. What are your planned teaching/learning activities for achieving them?
  4. Has the instructor requested anything in particular for this class?
  5. Have students been asked to do anything in preparation for this class?
  6. Will this class be a typical example of your teaching? If not, what will be different?
  7. What would you like for me to focus on during the observation?
  8. Is there anything else I should be aware of prior to the observation?

Observation Prompts

Prompt Notes, Comments & Suggestions 

Instructional Methods

  • Teaching approach well-suited for the content and students.
  • Has a clear purpose.
  • Encourages general attentiveness and considers attention spans in the timing of activities.
  • Emphasizes and summarizes important points.
  • Prompts students to draw on prior learning and experiences.
 

Class Flow

  • Well organized and easy to follow.
  • Transitions cleanly between sections, concepts and/or topics.
  • Introduces, reinforces, and wraps up the class content.
 

Student Engagement

  • Presentation techniques are well utilized (eg movement, tone, volumes, eye contact).
  • Tone of voice indicates interest in subject, students, and questions.
  • Creates a participatory learning environment.
  • Responsive to nonverbal cues, checks in with students throughout the class.
  • Encourages questions and provides clear explanations/answers
 

Learning Outcomes/Goals

  • How well does the content match the goals?
  • Are they communicated to the students?
 

Start/Stop

  • The most effective aspect of the class, and why.
  • One thing that could be improved, and why.
 

 

Post-Observation Prompts

  1. Summarize your observations.
  2. What went well?
  3. What could be improved?
  4. How did the lesson evolve differently than planned?
  5. What will you do differently next time?
  6. Did the teaching approach match the outcomes and content?
  7. Discuss anything else about the session.
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