This two-hour Peer Coaching Orientation prepares participants to:

The orientation is followed by two more two-hour workshops in which participants actually read and respond to each other's syllabi (first workshop) and microteach (second workshop). Alternately, these two sessions can be rolled into one six-hour workshop. Either way, these activities are also followed by classroom visits to each other’s classes, with participants working in teams of three or four.

Rationale

As teachers, trial and error can make us all great, but peer coaching is a way to speed up the process. It is based on the premise that teachers have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and that, together with students, “we are the experts.” It is also based on the premise that we can improve our teaching by reading and responding to each other's syllabi, by microteaching slices of classes for each other, by observing each other’s classes, and by interviewing each other’s students.

The orientation time is spent setting up the structure for all these exchanges. It is also spent training participants to be peer coaches by learning to give and receive effective feedback.

The orientation also trains participants to effectively observe teachers in the classroom and interview the students of the teacher observed. During these classroom interviews, students write about what most and least helps them learn, and why; then they share in small groups and report to the whole class. This process is similar to the small group instructional diagnosis (S.G.I.D.). A schedule is then set for each teacher to visit the class of every other teacher in their team (two–three visits total), observe the class, and interview the students.

The workshop is based on a program at New Mexico State University, founded in 1996, and on two published articles about the first efforts at the program here. These are available by request from Tara Gray.

What Participants Say

In this program at other schools, almost 60 percent of the participants judged peer coaching as the most effective teaching improvement strategy. That is, Peer Coaching was rated more effective than teaching workshops and reading about teaching, as well as administrative, peer and student evaluations. Respondents wrote:

“My peer coach provided a sanity check for me...It was nice to hear someone say I was doing something right.”
“I got the opportunity to observe other teachers interact with students and learned invaluable lessons from a student perspective.”
“I felt companionship and support in the difficulties I face teaching large intro classes… the most important part of the program was breaking the silence…”

Who Should Participate

Anyone should volunteer to participate who wants to improve their teaching.

The group size should not exceed 60 participants so that individual attention can be provided to all.

Location

This workshop will be conducted at your school, college, or university, and tailored to your specific needs.


Tara Gray • 575.646.1013 • tara@taragray.com