Peer teaching evaluations can make even exceptional educators feel anxious or skeptical. But they don’t have to. As long as teaching and learning have worked together to create dynamic classroom environments, the educator and the peer observer have benefitted from this formative collaboration. And here’s how.  

  1. When we send a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal, we’re usually eager to hear back from our peer reviewers about the quality of our work. While it can be a bummer to get rejected, many peer reviewers send responses with actionable feedback. When we enact the revisions and resubmit, we increase our chances of getting accepted. Formative peer reviews of teaching serve the same purpose. When peers come into our classrooms, they bring their teacher selves in, look for alignment, innovation, and best practices, and then want to chat about what they’ve seen. They use their personal experience, and what they know about evidence-informed pedagogy, and typically have completed intensive pedagogy workshops, training, or other preparation that make them a strong match for providing judgement-free instructional guidance and mentorship.

2. Peer reviews of teaching also diminish pedagogical isolation (Pat Hutchings, Lee Shulman). When we don’t have regular feedback from peers who understand the instructional landscapes of higher ed, we may default to allowing student evaluations of teaching to guide our practice or determine our instructional worth.

While student feedback is useful, students are not experts in best instructional practices, they may not know the value or importance of using high-impact practices, or realize they are learning and using career-relevant tools and skills. Peer evaluators, however, can highlight instructional effectiveness, pinpoint areas of pedagogical growth, and coach us on how to lean into our strengths.

3. Peer evaluations are a win-win. Conducting a peer evaluation can lead to pedagogical growth for the reviewer, too. For example, a peer observer may attend a class session that includes a particularly engaging style of discussion, student teaching, or chunking strategies that effectively maintain student engagement. Observing these dynamic practices can result in the peer reviewer adopting the practice for their own teaching. Beyond that, faculty may discover other similarities and shared interests that may lead to collaborations like forming a new committee or professional book club, writing together for publication in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), or joining a community volleyball team together.  (Tip: Stop by the SoTL workshop on 4/3 @ 1:45PM in CLC 309! We’d love to see you.)

Additionally, peer reviews of teaching allow colleges like ours to fully embrace their teaching institution identity. If we were, for example, to visit the College of Education, Human Performance, and Health, and talk to students about the observation of teaching process, it would sound familiar. And that’s because all good teaching grows from mentors and mentees collaboratively exploring, talking about, adjusting, and enacting inclusive, pedagogically impactful practices that can lead to student success and faculty advancement and satisfaction.  

Interested in getting started with a peer review of teaching? Reach out to CAIFS at or learn more in SpartanHub at this link