Objectives (of the activity): To observe and share best practice by team training a teacher workshop.
Materials: Possibly your school/centre’s feedback form.
As teacher trainers and educators, we may consider observing teachers teaching and offering subsequent feedback to be an essential aspect of our role. We may also recommend that teachers carry out some form of peer observation as part of their own self-development. However, how often do we have the opportunity or time to observe other trainers or educators in order to develop our own practice? An effective way to solve the problem of finding the chance to observe a colleague delivering a workshop or input session is to team teach the session with them. This is similar to observing another teacher in that you can get tips, ideas and suggestions, but without the stress of observing and the possible power relationship that this entails. For inexperienced teacher educators or those working on a new course, it is a sound way to share tasks and pay more attention to the teachers you are working with, while at the same time getting feedback on your practice. Even for very experienced teacher educators, it gives you the opportunity to work with a colleague who may approach their role in a very different way. As many training courses may involve teamwork during the planning stages of the course, why not also deliver some of the input sessions as a team too? If you do decide to team train all or some of your course, ensure your trainees/teachers know what to expect and delegate roles: that is, decide who is doing what. Also be aware that if you only have four trainees on a course, having a team of four trainers teaching them might be slightly overwhelming.
If you do wish to get feedback from your fellow trainer/educator, then consider using one of the feedback forms your institution uses. In this way, you are using a document that you know works and that you are familiar with. However, you may decide to create your own feedback form specifically created for the team-train session. Alternatively, following the end of the workshop, you could simply meet with your fellow trainer and share what you both thought went well, what ideas you have taken from each other and what you could do in a future session to continue building on best practice.
Name of the contributor: Beth Melia-Leigh and Nicholas Northall
Institution: The University of Sheffield