A module for peer partnerships to embed sustainable learning about teaching

This paper, written by Andrea Chester, Dallas Wingrove & Angela Clarke for RMIT University, is the final report of the implementation of a peer partnerships model designed to embed sustainable learning about teaching at the university. The model was developed to encourage teaching staff to voluntarily take a critically reflective approach to their teaching practice. The process involved a confidential peer exchange where staff can learn about teaching 
and/or working toward enhancing the quality of their teaching practice. 


"Peer Partnerships fosters learning with a focus on process rather than content. The program does this by encouraging participants to partner across teaching programs, pairing staff with others inside the school, but outside their discipline area. In this way partners are forced to focus on the processes they observe rather than responding to the accuracy (or otherwise) of content. Participation in Peer Partnerships can be used as evidence of reflective practice for teaching awards and promotion applications.

In contrast to some other models of peer feedback that use expert reviewers, Peer Partnerships encourages reciprocity, with both participants taking the role of both observer and observee in each partnership. This reciprocity, a feature of some other peer feedback models (e.g., Barnard et al., 2011), is designed to build genuinely collegial relationships and works to diffuse the power imbalance often present in external reviews or mentorship programs (Cohen & McKeachie, 1980). In addition, as Graham Hendry and Gary Oliver (2012) have observed, participants gain as much from observing as being observed, with the potential for observation to increase self-efficacy."


  • Outcomes 5
  • Project Outcomes and Impacts 5
    • What is Peer Feedback  5
    • Peer Feedback in the Australian Tertiary Context   6
    • Peer Feedback at RMIT  7
    • RMIT Peer Partnership Principles and Model  7
    • RMIT Peer Partnership Cycle  10
    • Stage One: Focus   10
    • Stage Two: Observe  11
    • Stage Three: Reflect/Set Goals  11
    • Stage Four: Implement/Evaluate   11
    • Embedded Leadership and RMIT Peer Partnerships: Implementation within Schools  11
    • Findings and Impacts  13
    • Leaders   13
    • Participants   16
  • Dissemination Strategies and Outputs  24
    • Peer Partnerships Website   24
    • Publications and Conference Presentations  24
    • Workshops  24
  • Evaluation of Project Outcomes  24
    • External Review of RMIT Peer Partnerships   24
    • Factors Critical to Success  25
  • Budget Report  27
  • References  28
  • Appendix A: Peer Feedback Approaches at Australian Universities 30
  • Appendix B: Peer Partnerships Briefing Paper 33
  • Appendix C: Finding a Focus  35
  • Appendix D: External Review of Peer Partnerships Website 39 


Chester, A. Wingrove, D. & Clarke, A. (2013). A module for peer partnerships to embed sustainable learning about teaching, RMIT University. 

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