Module code: GCAM020

Module Overview

Teaching observations are an integral part of practice in professional and higher education. There are a range of different types of teaching observations depending on context and purpose. Whilst the literature highlights the observation process, there is very little attention given to the feedback stage of teaching observations. This module aims to critically evaluate the notion of ¿effective¿ teaching which underpins teaching observations, and to critique a range of teaching observation types including purpose, process and criteria. The module will also highlight the critical role that feedback on observation plays in the development of teaching knowledge and practice.

Module provider

Surrey Institute of Education

Module Leader

HERON Marion (Sy Inst Educ)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 93

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 25

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:  Characterising effective teaching  including the development of personal theories of teaching, and criteria for evaluating teaching appropriate to the disicplinary / professional context. An introduction to teaching observations including key types of observations, concepts / theories and challenges relating to the observation process, and consideration of what effective observation involves. Characterising effective feedback on teaching  including key concepts / theories and a consideration of what effective feedback might look like.  Reflections upon the teaching observation process including evaluation of key areas of development/changes in understanding, development of personal theories of teaching and criteria for evaluating teaching. 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Critical analysis of post observation feedback talk 40
Coursework Critical Evaluation of an observation process (pre / while / post) 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to: provide participants with the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes. The module design is underpinned by the concept of constructive alignment to ensure that the learning and teaching strategies and assessment task align with the module learning outcomes. Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: 1. A critical reflection of post observation feedback talk. This involves recording and transcribing a post observation feedback session (either peer observation or supervisory observation), analysing the talk according to discourse analysis conventions and reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the feedback session. (LO2). 2. A written assignment requiring a critical evaluation of the teaching observation and post observation feedback process within the participants¿ context that draws upon relevant literature. (LO1 & 3). The choice of focus for the assignment will be negotiated according to an aspect of participants observation related area of interest and teaching context. Examples of the type of assignment topic that might emerge from the synchronous seminars could be:  a critique of an institutional peer observation strategy;  a protocol or guidelines for teaching observations in a particular insitution, or as part of a teacher development programme e.g. PGCert.  small-scale evaluative study investigating the impact of teaching observations on professional practice Formative assessment: Formative criteria for teaching observation. Formative teaching observations. Formative ideas for summative assessment.  Feedback: Participants will receive oral feedback from tutor and peers on both assignments when they submit drafts. Each online interaction will be informed by the results of independent study tasks, which will be posted online and on which peers will be encouraged to reflect and comment either synchronously or asynchronously. Participants will receive tutor and peer feedback on criteria for their chosen teaching observation which they have developed within the first half of the module. In addition, the final synchronous seminar will provide participants with a chance to outline their ideas for the summative assignment and receive peer feedback on these ideas. During the final synchronous seminar participants will receive tutor and peer feedback to inform the development of their ideas. The approach of the module is participatory and collegial, to demonstrate best practice in feedback, therefore the weekly synchronous seminars will support continuous feedback on ideas, plans and outcomes.

Module aims

  • Critically evaluate the role of teaching observations, including feedback, in the development of academic practice appropriate to the disciplinary / professional context.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Engage critically with key concepts and theories of teaching observations in higher and professional education. KC
002 Critically reflect upon teaching and feedback practices to identify development needs. CP
003 Synthesise the scholarship on teaching observations with self-evaluative inquiry for the purpose of informing and enhancing practice. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: Enable participants to critically evaluate the role of teaching observation and feedback on teaching in the development of academic practice appropriate to their disciplinary / professional context. This will be achieved by introducing participants to self-evaluative inquiry-led approaches to investigating and reflecting critically on their practice and their feedback talk. . In addition, the learning and teaching strategy reflects the SIoE values through encouraging respect for each others experiences and values, valuing dialogue and open-mindedness. Furthermore, through the learning and teaching strategy participants are encouraged to be honest, reflective and critical. Captured content The captured content supports a flipped learning approach where participants will have access to pre-recorded short videos and different supporting resources such as pdf slides, short articles and resources on self-reflection. The captured content aims to develop understanding of key concepts and theories. As part of the flipped learning approach, articipants will be expected to engage with the captured content in order to engage in the interactive activities both online and in the synchronous seminars . All the captured content will be accompanied by a guided learning worksheet. In order to maximise the learning opportunities from the captured content, and to make links to the in-session material, participants will be expected to engage with the captured content prior to the synchronous seminars. Engagement with the captured content and other online resources support the development of participants digital capabilities and ability to work autonomously. Weekly synchronous seminar sessions The synchronous seminar sessions will build on the captured content and will allow participants to explore issues and reflect on their own educational and disciplinary context, as well as their own experiences of teaching observations. It is expected that participants will bring their completed guided learning worksheet to these sessions. These synchronous seminar sessions will involve interactive tasks either whole class or in break out rooms, quizzes and presentations. The aim of the seminar sessions is to critique HE practices in the field of teaching observations. To maximise the potential for sharing ideas and learning from others, participants will be expected to engage in whole group and smaller group activities and discussions based on the pre-session and in-class material. Discussions and other interactive activities with classmates supports the development of global and cultural awareness and understanding of how to work in multilingual contexts. Guided study The guided study comprises a number of reading activities drawing on the key literature in the field. All readings are accompanied by a reading comprehension worksheet which will allow participants to read key texts and engage with theories in their own contexts. Guided study aims to encourage independent work and develop planning and monitoring skills. Topics will include: Topic 1: Development of personal theory of teaching and criteria for undertaking teaching observations. Topic 2: Developing personal criteria for undertaking a teaching observation to incorporate evidence- informed criteria. Topic 3: Reflect upon what constitutes effective post observation feedback and incorporate into the development of observation documents / proformas / templates. Topic 4: Carry out two observation processes depending on context and purpose e.g. supervisory observation, peer observation etc. Topic 5: Write a brief reflective piece on the experience of the observation process, including the post observation feedback sessions, identifying key areas of learning / development / challenges / frustrations. Topic 6: Prepare an outline of ideas for the summative assignment.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: GCAM020

Other information

The MA in Higher and Professional Education is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow participants to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas: Digital capabilities: Participants will be expected to engage with all the online materials and resources through Surrey Learn. Participants will be engaging in regular synchronous seminar sessions as well as contributing to the online discussion boards. The module takes a flipped learning approach and as such participants will be engaging with captured content in a variety of different modes. Participants will work in collaborative groups in Teams break out rooms. Employability: A strength of this module is the focus on employability and transferable skills. As part of the participants¿ role in Higher and Professional Education, they may be expected to be involved in teaching observations and give feedback in a leadership context. They will be able to use the scholarship and the practice from the module to support them in their career trajectory from teacher to leader. Skills in giving feedback are also transferrable to other context such as feedback on work, feedback on general performance and feedback on project outcomes. The opportunities to give and receive peer feedback will also provide strong skills transferable to their own teaching contexts. These skills fully reflect the activities undertaken by professionals in educational contexts and therefore prepares participants for undertaking such roles on completion of the programme. Global and cultural capabilities: As part of the module, participants will engage and interact with each other through a variety of different tasks, including giving and receiving feedback. Participants may be working with diverse cultural, educational and linguistic backgrounds. This will raise awareness of how to work with colleagues from different backgrounds. The first summative task of analysing feedback talk also raises awareness of the role of talk in learning and appropriate language. Resourcefulness and Resilience: Participants will be giving and receiving feedback on their teaching practice. This may be difficult for some, but it will develop the skills to overcome these challenges and work with others to provide and receive feedback. Participants will develop the skills and understanding to enact the feedback to further enhance their work and develop their resilience in dealing with what might, at times, be negative feedback.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.