Peer Consultation in Teaching Program

INTRODUCTION

Teaching has been, and continues to be, one of the most important tasks carried out by a faculty member at KFUPM, as well as at any other higher education institution. Based on this fact, the Deanship of Academic Development (DAD) has made the improvement of teaching at KFUPM as one of the corner stones of its mission, objectives, and services to faculty members. In addition to the numerous workshops that DAD is arranging for the purpose of improving the teaching skills of faculty members, the DAD is now offering teaching consultation to faculty members through a new program called: Peer Consultation in Teaching (PCT). This program is expected to be very beneficial to all KFUPM faculty members, as it provides them with valuable and constructive feedback on their teaching skills and techniques. It is worth mentioning that similar programs currently exist in about 40% of all higher education institutions in North America.

 

OBJECTIVE AND BENEFITS

The main objective of PCT is to provide faculty members with formative feedback on their teaching, intended exclusively for faculty self-development of their teaching skills. The feedback will make KFUPM faculty members better and more effective teachers, leading ultimately to the enhancement of student learning. It is expected that faculty members participating in PCT will benefit in many ways including:

  • Overall improvement in the teaching skills and capabilities of the faculty members as an outcome of peer consultation.
  • Positive and constructive feedback on the teacher performance, highlighting the effectiveness of his teaching approach and techniques.
  • Specific suggestions on how to improve teaching based on the experience of colleagues in the same, or similar fields of specialization.
  • Encouraging faculty members to develop themselves in the field of teaching and to continuously review and update their teaching approaches and methodologies based on new advances in teaching and the expertise of their peers.
  • Providing teachers with an additional source of feedback complementary to self-assessment and students evaluation.

 

OVERVIEW OF PCT

The PCT program will be offered and managed completely by the DAD and its consultants. The main tool of PCT will be class-visits by specially-trained individuals (peer-consultants) who will represent the DAD. The visits will take place upon the request of the faculty interested in getting consultation (client). Every effort will be made to select a peer consultant from a discipline/major close to that of the faculty member. To ensure that, a group of faculty members from various KFUPM colleges and departments have been enlisted as peer-consultants and they have been provided with the necessary training to carry out the class visits effectively.

Due to the voluntary nature of PCT, faculty members requesting visits are assured of complete confidentiality of the outcome of the peer-consultant visits. The oral and written feedback which the client will receive pursuant to the visit will be known only to the client and the visiting peer-consultant. The DAD Director’s office will keep records of the visits and the resulting reports for book-keeping purposes only.

 

PCT PROCESS

1. Application to PCT

Any KFUPM faculty member who is interested in being visited in the class by a peer, can apply by contacting the DAD. A special form is to be filled indicating the faculty member name, course title and number, number of students, location and time of class, as well as other relevant information.

Click here to fill the PCT form

Based on the provided information, the DAD will select one of its peer consultants for the class visit.

2. Pre-Visit Contact

The peer-consultant will contact the client requesting the visit, introduce himself, and discuss all the issues relevant to the visit. This contact will be through a face-to-face meeting between the two, or through the phone (if a meeting can not be arranged). The issues discussed will include: specific date of visit, length of visit, type of class, role of the peer-consultant, interaction with students … etc. It is also highly recommended that the client identifies at this stage any specific aspects of his teaching on which he needs specific feedback (e.g. tone of speech, engaging students … etc.)

3. Class Visit

The class visit will take place as agreed upon between the peer consultant and the client. The client may, or may not, announce to his students the presence of the peer-consultant. But in either case, the presence of the peer-consultant in the class will be as low-key as possible.

The visit should last a complete lecture, which is typically 50 minutes. During the visit the peer-consultant will note his observations on issues such as: defining objectives, clarity of presentation, effectiveness of the teaching method, teacher enthusiasm, interacting with students, managing the class, as well as any specific issues raised by the faculty member during the pre-visit contact.

The last 20 minutes of the lecture are used by the peer-consultant to gather the opinion of the students about the course. This is done in the absence of the client to ensure that students are comfortable in expressing their opinion. The student views are gathered through a methodical process which involves a combination of written and oral comments.

4. Post-Visit Meeting

After the class visit, the peer-consultant and the client will hold a post-visit debriefing meeting. The meeting should be held as soon as possible, preferably within the first 48 hours after the visit. During the meeting the peer-consultant will debrief the client about his observation during the class visit. The debriefing typically includes 3 main components: general observations regarding teaching skills and techniques of the client; aspects of teaching that were found be effective; aspects of teaching that can be improved and the suggestions on how to improve.

The peer-consultant will also inform the client about the general opinion of the students regarding the course progress. The student opinions will be summarized from individual students, groups of students, and the whole class.

In addition to the verbal discussion, a short report summarizing the feedback will be presented to the client for his records. A copy of the report will be given to DAD for its records of the PCT program activities.

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