Center for Teaching and Learning

Peer Mentoring and Class Meeting Observation Guidelines

These guidelines provide guidance on teaching and learning partnerships involving mentoring dialogue and class meeting observation.

  • The Brandeis Center for Teaching and Learning helps to connect faculty with colleagues on campus in the spirit of continuous improvement in our teaching and learning.
  • The process typically includes three meetings:
    • A pre-observation meeting
    • Class meeting observation (on campus or online)
    • A post-observation meeting
  • It is expected that the benefits will be two-way – with joint learning as the goal.
Guiding Principles
  • Participation in this dialogue and observation process is voluntary and confidential.
  • The mentoring and observation process is entirely separate from the promotion and tenure process.
  • The process can include all Brandeis instructors, including full-time faculty, part-time faculty, lecturers, instructors, advisors, tutors, staff, students, and others responsible for educating Brandeis students.
Pre-Observation Meeting
  • Discuss the instructor’s overall goals, and establish learning objectives for this learning partnership.
  • Discuss the upcoming class session – in the context of the syllabus and the specific session learning objectives (noting how typical this session is relative to the overall course).
  • Review teaching materials, including the syllabus, assignments, readings, exams, evaluations.
  • Identify what mix of learning activities is planned, and what the observer can most helpfully focus on.
  • Discuss any possible questions/suggestions in advance of the class.
  • Specify the date, time, and location of the class, as well as how the observer will be introduced, where the observer will sit and whether the observer will take part in class activities.
Class Meeting Observation
  • Session opening (introducing learning objectives, activities, expectations)
  • Connections to prior material (placing current material in context)
  • Introduction of new material
  • Student behaviors
  • Overall student preparedness rating: (low)1 2 3 4 5(high)
  • Overall student engagement rating: (low)1 2 3 4 5(high)
  • Use of pedagogical tools and methods (and observed student responses)
  • Attention to classroom dynamics (advancing or undercutting the learning)
  • Evidence of student learning
  • Preparation for upcoming material
Post-Observation Meeting
  • What seemed to work well – and why? How might the teacher apply these successful methods in future class meetings?
  • What was not as effective as it might have been – and options to improve in future class meetings?
  • How well did the approach match the learning objectives the teacher established for their students – and additional approaches to consider?
  • What additional questions/suggestions arose from this experience?
  • What follow up resources or services from the CTL and its campus partners might be helpful?

These guidelines are informed by the following models for peer teaching observations: