Collaborative Professional Development through Peer Observation
Date: Saturday, May 15th, 2010 Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Speaker: Christopher Stillwell
Teaching has been famously referred to as the 'egg carton profession' because teachers are typically isolated from one another in their classrooms, but teachers are fortunate in that they have a valuable and free resource in their midst -- other teachers. This presentation will provide guidelines for tapping into this resource through peer coaching, with suggestions for 'safe' practices of observing peers and sharing feedback. On the basis of a review of the literature, the presenter will share important ground rules for setting up observations, and techniques for guiding post-observation conferences in such a way as to maximize the benefit for all parties involved, particularly when it comes to the prickly issue of giving peers feedback on their work. Techniques include ways to minimize the evaluative/judgmental aspect of observations, thereby making it easier for observers to see themselves in their peers' teaching and for observees to feel safe candidly discussing the ups and downs of a lesson. Additional benefits of the work include the possibility of gathering peers' feedback on new material being tried, getting a second pair of eyes to find out more about classroom behavior, and having a partner from whom to learn a new style of teaching. Discussion will also focus on how a third party 'conference observer' can promote a deeper level of reflection in post-observation conferences.
Christopher Stillwell has conducted workshops on teacher observation and collaborative professional development throughout Asia and the USA, and he has written on the topic for ELT Journal and an edited volume titled “Reigniting, Retooling and Retiring in English Language Teaching”. He has worked as a teacher trainer at Teachers College Columbia University, where he received his MA. He is currently assistant director of the Sojo International Language Center at Sojo University in Kumamoto.
Organization: Fukuoka Chapter of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (Fukuoka JALT)
Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 1,000 yen
Venue: Fukuoka Jogakuin Tenjin Satellite
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