The Peer Observation of Teaching Handbook

A group of faculty developers have come together to carry on a tradition started by Steve Davis, to highlight faculty development resources and strategies each month.

This month we are highlighting a wonderful resource available in MedEdPortal, The Peer Observation of Teaching Handbook written by Lori R. Newman, David H. Roberts, and Richard M. Schwartzstein from Harvard Medical School (2012).  We are also hoping to extend an engaging conversation in Twitter at #MedEdPearls. 

 Whether you are seeking reliable data about teaching for your educator's portfolio or starting a peer observation program,  The Peer Observation of Teaching Handbook provides guidance which encourages reflection, formative feedback, and growth for teachers. The handbook offers processes, rationale, and sample observation forms for a variety of educational venues, including: lectures, ambulatory settings, at the bedside, and in small groups.

 The handbook is available in a PDF format and the authors encourage modifying forms to meet your needs or creating your own forms. The handbook presents steps to promote reflection and a mutual exchange of ideas at the conclusion of an educational session. The steps include strategies for:

  • Before (agree on logistics, purpose, and what elements of teaching are the focus)
  • During (what to observe, how to document)
  • After (when to meet and how to provide useful formative feedback)
  • Avoiding pitfalls (what observer behaviours diminish the benefits of peer observation)


Newman L., Roberts D., Schwartzstein R. (2012). Peer observation of teaching handbook. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 8:9150.


What Peer Observation pearls or questions do you have?  Post on twitter at #MedEdPearls


#MedEdPearls Team:
Jean Bailey, PhD – Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Carrie Bowler, EdD, MS, MLSCM (ASCP) – Mayo Clinic
Kristina Dzara, PhD, MMSc (Educators ’16; Assessment ’16; HCE 2.0 ’17) – University of Washington School of Medicine
Shanu Gupta, MD – University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital
Jennifer Hillyer, PhD – Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine
Larry Hurtubise, PhD (HCE 2.0 '16) – The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy
Anna Lama, EdD – West Virginia School of Medicine
Machelle Linsenmeyer, EdD, NAOME (Assessment ’07) – West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
Linda Love, EdD – University of Nebraska Medical Center
Stacey Pylman, PhD – Michigan State University
Leah Sheridan, PhD – The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Lonika Sood, MBBS, MHPE, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Washington State University
Mark Terrell, EdD – Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine