An Investigation of ESL Teachers’ Experience of Peer Consultation
Peer evaluation has been criticized as a threat to academic freedom and has been used, usually erroneously, as a justification for academic reappointment, tenure promotion, and merit pay. In recent years, scholars have recommended that peer consultation, which is primarily designed to improve teaching, be honored, but apart from evaluation.
In this study, peer consultation consists of three components: in-class peer observation, peer-to-peer discussion, and student input. This study explores how teachers and teaching assistants perceived their experience with peer consultation. Methods of data collection reflected a qualitative case study approach and included participant observations, audio-recorded interviews, student questionnaires, and focus groups. Data showed that peer consultation provided an opportunity for teachers to learn teaching strategies from each other, build upon each other’s teaching, reflect on their own teaching experience, and augment their understanding of their teaching beliefs. Despite these benefits, teachers reported feeling uncomfortable because of the power relationship between the observer and the observed, and new teachers were apprehensive about their perceived lack of experience. Non-native English speaking teachers also felt anxious when they were observed by native English speaking teachers. Analysis shed useful light on implementation of peer consultation as a powerful professional development force for academic staff in universities.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).