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The Power of Observation: How Librarians can Benefit from the Peer Review of Teaching--Even Without a Formal Program




Alabi, Jaena
Weare, William H., Jr.


Many academic librarians who provide library instruction have never received formal training in pedagogical theories and methods. In an effort to improve the teaching skills of instruction librarians, some libraries have established peer review of teaching (PROT) programs. The library and information science literature suggests that most PROT programs and similar initiatives (peer appraisal, peer coaching, peer evaluation, peer observation, etc.) can improve teaching for new librarians, rejuvenate instruction for seasoned librarians, and provide all participants a venue for engaging in broader discussions of teaching and learning. Despite the recognized benefits of PROT, it may not be feasible for every library to establish such a program. Some libraries do not have the staff, while others may be limited by a lack of interest or support. This session is designed for librarians who are interested in peer observation, but who may not be able to participate in a formal program. The presenters will share the principles of PROT by discussing best practices from the literature as well as sharing their experiences of peer observation. Participants will leave the session having learned about and discussed how PROT best practices can be applied on an individual, non-programmatic basis.