How can I evaluate my teaching practice?
The word ‘evaluation’ has different meanings in different contexts.
Evaluation can be a formal process: a periodical appraisal of teaching performance that may involve evaluation of data from student surveys, and in-class observations by senior members of staff.
Evaluation can also be informal and teacher-driven, undertaken as a part of everyday teaching practice. In this sense, evaluation might be defined as:
- An ongoing process a lecturer engages in to inform improvements to their own practice
- A responsive, embedded part of teaching
- A cycle that involves the gathering and evaluation of evidence and making informed adjustments to practice
While formal evaluation has its place, evaluation of one’s own teaching practice has greater potential to lead to improved practice over time.
AUT encourages a multi-faceted approach to evaluation of teaching practice. Evidence might be drawn from four key sources: students, peers, self-reflection and scholarship.
Five Top Tips
- Evaluation is a holistic process that is akin to reflective practice. At times you may be simultaneously evaluating evidence from all four sources shown in the diagram above.
- Evidence from Students: Use in-class polls, ask students for feedback, and evaluate their assessment evidence. This will help you determine how well your teaching is helping students meet their goals.
- Evidence from Peers: Find a peer to team up with and take a collaborative approach to observing each other’s teaching occasionally. Regular, informal chats over coffee can also resolve teaching challenges and provide new inspiration.
- Evidence from Self: Reflection on teaching and learning may occur on a walk from the lecture theatre to the office, or in a quiet space in the library. You may call it problem-solving. Work out how, when and where you reflect to best effect, and keep doing it.
- Evidence from Scholarship: Grow awareness of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) over time, and be willing to draw on that evidence base to inform improvements to practice.
To support understanding of a multi-faceted approach to evaluating your practice:
- This article (Fletcher, 2017) provides a clear explanation of the benefits of Collaborative Peer Observation.
- Short video clips of Dr. Te Taka Keegan, Matthew Thompson and Haruko Stuart self-reflecting on their teaching practice. All three are previous recipients of the Ako Aotearoa Prime Minister’s Award.
- Useful publications for exploring the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning include:
Brookfield, S. (2017). Becoming a critically reflective teacher (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.
Fletcher, J. (2017). Peer Observation of Teaching: A Practical Tool in Higher Education.
Journal of Faculty Development, 32(1), 51-64. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.19455.82084.