Peer support in reviewing and evaluating online teaching
Reflecting on your own teaching is an important part of the professional development of any teacher, but sometimes it helps to work with colleagues to help continue improving your online teaching.
Finding a critical friend
The words ‘critical’ and ‘friend’ might sound unusual together, but the term refers to a colleague, usually another teacher, who can give you constructive feedback on your teaching and make suggestions for improvement. In Step 2.7 we suggested getting peer feedback on the directions you give in online learning activities; you could also share your learning designs or student feedback, or even ask them to observe a synchronous online session. You can return the favour and give your critical friend the same support. We’ve already discussed the pressure many of us are under at the moment, and having a friend who you can talk to about challenges you’re facing is important too. A problem shared is a problem halved!
Working with your community of practice
The aim of this course is to create a community of practice for teachers across a range of education levels. There are thousands of learners on this course, but you might want to develop a smaller community with teachers within your institution, or with other teachers in your local area.
Hannah Tyreman, Chartered College of Teaching: “Connect with colleagues nationally and globally. Share resources and be open to the idea of developing content together. Jump on a virtual chat with them using a tool like Zoom and discuss how you’re going to teach one of your upcoming subjects. Plan it together and by each delivering something in the same way, it can become a cycle of professional development where you report back on the experience and continually refine your approaches.”
Once you have finished this course you might find that you know more about transitioning your teaching to online than your peers. You can become an online teaching and learning champion or thought leader within your institution. If you are working alone, it can be helpful to join or create a broader teaching community for support and to share teaching and learning resources. For parents and carers working with children, you can contact school parents’ groups on social media to share suggestions for engaging learning activities you have tried with your children.
The Teaching Online educators have also created a group on LinkedIn. This is a place for us to continue the conversation and share resources beyond the course.
How are you planning to use critical friends, your community of practice, and your students to improve your online teaching?