Date of Award

Fall 9-6-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Philip O. Pendley, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Christina Goennier, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

LaFaye Platter, Ed.D.

Abstract

A Delphi Study: Teachers’ Perceptions of Benefits, Prerequisites, Facilitators, and Barriers of Peer Observation for Professional Learning in Secondary Public Schools

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore secondary-school teachers’ perceptions about the instructional and cultural benefits of engaging in peer observations for professional learning in secondary schools. This study also sought to clarify the prerequisites, facilitators, and barriers to implementing peer observations as perceived by secondary-school teachers.

Methodology: The Delphi method was utilized in order to gather perceptual data from an expert panel of secondary-school teachers that have engaged in peer observations at various schools in Riverside County, California. For purposes of this policy Delphi study, an electronic questionnaire was distributed in three rounds to assess teachers’ perceptions of the instructional and cultural benefits of conducting peer observations along with the prerequisites, facilitators, and barriers for conducting peer observations in secondary schools.

Findings: Analysis of data revealed that teachers perceive various instructional and cultural benefits of engaging in peer observation for professional learning including observing peers’ instructional strategies in authentic learning environments, engaging in self-reflection about teaching, and increasing the team aspect of teaching including collaboration between peers and reducing isolation. Strategies to achieve the identified benefits include time, discussion opportunities, teacher choice, pre-identification of strategies, and teacher training. Perceived prerequisites for peer observations include clarity of purpose and process, guidelines, communication, and teacher input. Perceived facilitators include time and consistency. Perceived barriers to peer observation include limited time, fear, and judgment by peers.

Conclusions: According to the expert panel, in order to achieve the benefits of peer observation, schools must protect time to engage in peer observations, have clarity of purpose and consistency in the process, provide opportunities for teacher input and choice, maintain an environment for adult learning, and provide adequate teacher training prior to participation in peer observations.

Recommendations: If a school opts to implement peer observations for professional learning, (1) a planning team should be convened and time devoted to planning the peer-observation process, (2) teachers must have planning input to establish clarity of purpose, a consistent process including norms and procedures, and to determine instructional focus expectations, (3) time should be protected for peer observations, reflections, and discussions resulting from observations.