Peer Assisted Reflection & Development Program (PARD-P)

The PARD-P model encourages teaching staff to take a critically reflective approach to their teaching practice for developmental purposes. Through a process of peer exchange, staff work toward enhancing the quality of their teaching practice.

It is open to all teaching staff and caters for early, mid and experienced professional development needs. As it is administered by the faculties the program can be catered to the needs of the applicant and individual schools.

The PARD-P model is based on research into best practice in professional development, and is guided by the principles of adult learning to maximise the efficacy of sustained, individual, and community learning about teaching.

The PARD-P is based on research into best practice in professional development and consists of four stages:

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  • Stage 1: focus

    The first stage of the PARD-P process involves finding a focus for observation. This stage involves a facilitated training session which provides opportunities for you and your partner to:

    • discuss the PARD-P model
    • clarify a focus for your observations of teaching or teaching materials. Some work may be needed to ensure your partner has access to appropriate documents e.g. access to MyUni sites, assessment tools, etc.
    • engage with guidelines for observing a colleague
    • practice giving constructive feedback on teaching or teaching materials

    Finding a focus will help you provide constructive feedback to your partner on their chosen focus for observation.

  • Stage 2: observe

    The second stage of the PARD-P process involves observing your partner in action either in one of their classes or by engaging with some of their teaching materials and providing them with some feedback.

    Take notes about your observations so that you can synthesise and share them with your partner.

    Once this has occurred, meet with your partner to discuss your observations and provide feedback.

    We recommend that this meeting be held face-to-face and is supplemented by some written feedback.

  • Stage 3: reflect and set goals

    The third stage of the PARD-P process is about reflecting upon the oral and written feedback from your partner and then setting goals for future implementation in your teaching.

    In this stage we encourage you to articulate, based on the feedback you have received from your peer partner, the three most important reflections you have made about your teaching practice.

    We encourage you to use these reflections to set at least one goal to work towards in your teaching.

    This goal might involve trialling a new technique, building your skills or knowledge in a particular area, and/or seeking more information from students or other staff.

  • Stage 4: implement and evaluate

    The fourth stage of the PARD-P process is about implementing and evaluating your set goals.

    In this stage we encourage you to consciously try something new in your teaching and then evaluate how effective this change has been for both you and your students.

    It is important to be realistic about the level of change you and your students are able to cope with.

    It is better to make small, incremental and achievable changes over time rather than making large and stressful changes to every aspect of your curriculum.

The PARD-P has been specifically devised for implementation within the context of a faculty. 

The PARD-P model is based on research into best practice in professional development. It is guided by the principles of adult learning to maximise the efficacy of sustained, individual and community learning about teaching.

PARD-P Aligned with adult learning principles*
Build relationships Learning is supported and facilitated through peer collaboration
Foster learning Learning is practical, applied and collaborative
Encourage reciprocity Learning values and brings life experience and knowledge into play
Value flexible participation Learning is internally motivated and directed (intrinsic motivation)
Ensure confidentiality Learning is private and respected
Respect ownership Learning is realistic and relevant to short and long term teaching needs and aspirations
Enhance quality Learning supports best practice, and is evidenced and goal oriented

*Adapted from Speck, M. “Best Practice in Professional Development for Sustained Educational Change.” ERS Spectrum Spring 1996: 33-41

Build relationships

  • Builds disciplinary and inter-disciplinary faculty-based relationships
  • Fosters a sense of belonging and identity

Foster learning

  • Fosters meaningful learning about teaching
  • Focuses on process rather than content
  • Aligns learning about teaching with career development and university systems of rewards and recognition 

Encourage reciprocity

  • Builds collegiality
  • Encourages reciprocity of knowledge exchange based on teaching experience
  • Supports learning communities
  • Provides support that reduces the fear of judgement during learning

Value flexible participation

  • Respects appropriate timing for learning
  • Builds a sustainable culture of reflective practice

Ensure confidentiality

  • Aligns observations and reflections with personal learning and career goals
  • Enhances the learning process through supportive relationships
  • Respects the vulnerability of participation

Respect ownership

  • Ensures participant owns the focus of learning
  • Enables self-directed/just-in-time/just-for-me learning
  • Ensures the faculty owns the development of the PARD-P in own context
  • Requires senior management support (owned and valued by senior management)

Enhance quality

  • Supports continuous improvement in tertiary teaching practice
  • Strategically embeds the PARD-P in university professional development strategy

The dimensions of teaching practice are intended to be used as a guide for your peer review sessions. Please note that the same dimensions are used in the University’s Teaching Review Program (TRP).

Once you have decided on the teaching activity you would like your peer partner to observe, it is recommended that you use the dimensions of teaching practice to help you find a specific focus for your teaching observation sessions. It is unlikely that any one teaching session would demonstrate all of the  teaching dimensions to the same, significant extent.

We suggest that you only choose one or two dimensions as the focus for your first PARD-P observation.

The following templates have been provided to help guide PARD-P participants through the PARD-P cycle.

Template Information
Stage 1: focus The purpose of this template is help guide the first stage in the PARD-P cycle. It is an opportunity to clarify your own focus and it will provide important information for your partner. You should give a copy of this completed template to your partner in preparation for the observation.
Stage 2: observe

The purpose of this template is to help guide the second stage in the PARD-P process observation. As well as talking to your partner, it is important to provide some written feedback. This template may help you to synthesise your feedback into a form that will be useful for your partner

Stage 3: reflect/set goals The purpose of this template is help guide the third stage in the PARD-P cycle – reflection and goal setting. Thinking about the oral and written feedback from your partner and your own experience, what are the three most important reflections you have made about your teaching as a result of the PARD-P process?
Stage 4: implement/evaluate The purpose of this template is to help guide implementation and evaluation. you are encourage to consciously try something new in your teaching and then evaluate how effective this change has been for both you and your students.