This assignment encourage us to critically evaluate the peer observation of teaching (POT) exercise. Using the feedback received from colleagues and our own critical reflections we were tasked with identifying our strengths, weakness and opportunities to develop our teaching practice.
It also gave me the opportunity to reflect on the experience of partaking in POT itself. The process of being observed was intimidating at first (take a look at my initial reflections to observation one). However, by assignment two there nerves had settled, in part due to the positive feedback received to my first observation. The feedback across both observations was largely positive, and anything critical was also very constructive. What was even better was that the weaknesses identified by Sarah and David point to a similar key issue with my teaching, which keeps cropping up.
My teaching is currently too teacher focused, and instead should be more student centric. Although my teaching often involves practical, participatory activities, session also contain long periods of transmission based delivery which can be disengaging for students. Instead I need to transmit this information in more engaging, participatory, holistic ways. I need to design and integrate activities into my teaching which encourage students to engage with the subject matter, promote self reflection and check for understanding.
The process of observing is also really beneficial. I observed David, who is an associate lecturer in the School of Writing and Journalism. Whilst it is an entirely different teaching context, there were some really innovative teaching practices I can introduce into my own teaching. Namely how David achieves that student centric approach, by designing tasks that engage students in conversation, discussion and debate – and how he uses teaching resources to do this.
I think it would be beneficial to continue engaging in POT. It would be good practice to observe other technicians, particularly within design and fabrication based courses. As well as teaching on Crafts at Falmouth I am also a graduate of the course. Therefore, all of experience of learning and teaching Craft has come from one institution, therefore I think it would beneficial to observe or engage with teaching of my subject but at a different institution. I have identified the the Pilchuck Glass School, which take on teaching assistants as part of the summer programme, as an opportunity to do this.
Here is the assignment…