Posted: Thu, 09/13/2018 - 10:01am Updated: Fri, 11/09/2018 - 2:42pm

Collaborative Professional Learning through Peer Classroom Observations


Background on this Tool

This toolkit contains two protocols for conducting peer classroom observations to enable collaborative professional learning and development. These protocols are not mutually exclusive, and it may be appropriate to use both protocols with a given teacher or group of teachers at different points in time, depending on their professional learning needs and goals.

  1. Inter-visitation (Peer Classroom Observations) Protocol for Studying Peer Practice
    • This protocol can be used with a visiting teacher or group of visiting teachers wants to learn from a host teacher. 
  2. Inter-visitation (Peer Classroom Observations) Protocol for Reciprocal Peer Mentoring
    • This protocol is intended for all teachers interested in supporting one another in reflective teaching practice, with each teacher taking turns being visited.

The toolkit outlines considerations and possible uses for both of the protocols. Furthermore, the toolkit provides a planning guide and scheduling template to integrate peer classroom observations into a cycle of professional learning.


Guidance on How to Leverage this Tool

Peer classroom observations are teacher-facilitated, non-evaluative classroom visits focused on the collaborative development of teachers’ instructional knowledge and skills. This professional learning opportunity can be used effectively with an individual teacher and group of teachers interested in learning from the successful practices of their colleagues or supporting one another in reflective teaching practice though peer mentoring. Inter-visitation (i.e., peer classroom observations) practices can also be incorporated into the Danielson Framework for Teaching to provide educators a structure for describing and discussing excellence. This toolkit contains resources to support schools in implementing peer classroom observation structures that support the needs and goals of their teachers and students.


Getting Started with the Collaborative Professional Development through Peer Classroom Observations Toolkit

As a first step, district and school leaders are encouraged to determine their objectives for peer classroom observations, including how this practice can support the school’s broader teacher professional development strategy. Next, district and school leaders are encouraged to start with a small, pilot group of interested teachers. Afterwards, feedback should be collected from the teachers who participated in the pilot to inform future peer classroom observations opportunities for these and other teachers in the school.


New York City Department of Education. For more information, visit this webpage.