Peer Observation as a Professional Development Intervention in EFL Pedagogy
A Case of a Reading Lesson on Developing the Top-down Processing Skills of the Preparatory Year Students
Most research on peer observation as a professional development intervention in EFL contexts focuses either on teachers' perceptions about its usefulness or the methodical frameworks. There are a few studies which report real-time incidence of a peer observed lesson. To fill this gap, the present study arranged a peer observation for a reading lesson on top-down processing skills to reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson as well as develop the reading literacy of the students. The peer observation method included a pre-observation stage with the teacher and the observer deciding on the modalities of observation. The second stage was the lesson which was peer observed followed by the post-lesson reflection stage. The results obtained through teachers' reflection on different aspects of the lesson and the peer observer's report revealed that most stages and activities of the lesson went as planned except for the final where issues of activity management, teacher feedback, and coherent lesson progression came up to the fore. The study has significance for EFL practitioners interested in initiating self-directed professional development through peer observation in particular and for researchers of professional development studies in general.
Alderson (1984). Reading in a foreign language: A reading problem or a language problem. In J.C. Alderson & A.H. Urquhart (Eds.), Reading in a foreign language, (pp. 1-27). London: Longman.
Angosto, A., Sánchez, P., Álvarez, M., Cuevas, I., & León, J. A. (2013). Evidence for Top-Down Processing in Reading Comprehension of Children, Psicología Educativa, 19, 83-88. https://doi.org/10.5093/ed2013a14
Bell, A., & Mladenovic, R. (2008). The benefits of peer observation of teaching for tutor development. Higher Education, 55, 735-752.
Bell, M. (2002). Peer-observation of teaching in Australia. Learning and Teaching Support Network, Generic Centre.
Bell, M. (2005). Peer observation partnerships in higher education. Milperra, NSW: Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia.
British Council. (2012). A guide to continuing professional development - peer observations. Retrieved from http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk
Castles, A., Rastle, K., & Nation, K. (2018). Ending the reading wars: Reading acquisition from novice to expert. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 19(1), 5-51.
Crookes, G. (2003). A practicum in TESOL. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Day, R. R. (2013). Peer Observation and Reflection in the ELT Practicum. Journal of Language and Literature Education, 8, 1-8.
Fatemi, A. H., Vahedi , V. S., & Seyyedrezaie, Z. S. (2014). The Effects of Top-down/Bottom-up Processing and Field-dependent/Field-independent Cognitive Style on Iranian EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension, Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(4), 686-693. https://doi.org/10.4304/tpls.4.4.686-693
Fayol, M. (2004). Text and Cognition. In T. Nunes & P. Bryant (Eds.), Handbook of Children’s Literacy (pp. 181-197). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Gosling, D. (2002). Models of peer-observation of teaching. Learning and Teaching Support Network, Generic Centre. Retrieved from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources
Harmer, J. (2001). The practice of English language teaching, Pearson-Longman, Harlow.
Hunt, B. (2009). Teacher Effectiveness. A Review of Research and Evidence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Johnstone, R. (2004). Language Teacher Education. In Davies, A., & Elder, C. (eds.). The Handbook of Applied Linguistics, (pp. 649-671). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470757000.ch26
Kuhi, D., Asl, M. H., & Yavari, M. (2013). The Relationship between Awareness Raising Activities and Students’ Proficiency in Reading Comprehension of Culturally Bound Materials. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 4(3), 515-522.https://doi.org/10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n3p515
Malderez, A. (2003). Key Concepts in ELT: Observation ELT Journal, 57(2), 179-181. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/57.2.179
Martinez-Flor, A., & Uso-Juan, E. (ed) (2006), Current Trends in the development and teaching ofthe four language skills, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
McMahon, T., Barrett, T., & O'Neill, G. (2007) 'Using observation of teaching to improve quality: finding your way through the muddle of competing conceptions, confusion of practice and mutually exclusive intentions', Teaching in Higher Education, 12(4), 499-511. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562510701415607
Montgomery, D. (1999). Teacher Appraisal through Classroom Observation. London: David Fulton.
Motallebzadeh, K., Hosseinnia. M., & Domskey, J. G. H. (2017). Peer observation: A key factor to improve Iranian EFL teachers’ professional development, Cogent Education, 4, 1- 12. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2016.1277456
Mousavi, S. M. (2014). The Effect of Peer Observation on Iranian EFL Teachers' Self-Efficacy. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 136, 181-185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.05.311
Nation, K. (2019). Children’s reading difficulties, language, and reflections on the simple view of reading, Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 24(1), 47-73. https://doi.org/10.1080/19404158.2019.1609272
Omaggio, A. C. (1986), Teaching language in context: proficiency-oriented instruction, Boston:Heinle& Heinle.
Poumellec, H. H., Parrish, B., & Garson, J. (1992). Peer Observation and Feedback in Teacher Training and Teacher Development. The Journal of TESOL-France, 12(1), 129-140.
Prediction. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved July 17, 2019, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prediction
Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2005). Professional development for language teachers. NewYork: Cambridge University Press.
Richards, J. C., Platt, H., & Platt, J. (1992). Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics, Longman, Malaysia.
Saha, L., & Dworkin, A. (2009). Introduction: new perspectives on teachers and teaching. In Saha, L., & Dworkin, A. (Eds.). International Handbook of Research on Teachers and Teaching(pp. 3-11). New York: Springer.
Shortland, S. (2004) Peer-observation: A tool for staff development or compliance? Journal of Further and Higher Education, 28(2), 219-228.
Stillwell, C. (2009). The collaborative development of teacher training skills. ELT Journal, 63(4), 353-362. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccn068
Suraprajit, P. (2019). Bottom-up vs Top-down Model: The Perception of Reading Strategies amongThai University Students, Journal of Language Teaching and Research,10(3),454-460.https://doi.org/10.17507/jltr.1003.07
The Titanic Worksheets. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.historyonthenet.com/Lessons/worksheets/titanic.htm
Therrien, W. J. (2004). Fluency and comprehension gains as a result of remedial reading. Remedial and Special Education, 25, 252-261.
Williams, J. (1985). The case for explicit decoding instruction. In J. Osborn, P. Wilson, and R. Anderson (eds.), Reading education: Foundations for a literate America (pp. 205-213).Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s), with first publication rights granted to the journal.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).