Peer observation of teaching: A feasible and effective method of physician faculty development

Academic Article


  • Physician faculty learn teaching skills informally while fighting competing professional obligations. One underutilized proven technique to improve teaching skills is peer observation with feedback. We aimed to understand benefits and challenges of a physician faculty development program based on peer observation of teaching and to develop best practice recommendations for future program development. The authors developed a peer observation-based physician faculty development program from 2015 to 2017. Two interviewers conducted and analyzed qualitative interviews with 13 faculty participants and four non-participants using content analysis to identify themes and subthemes in NVivo¬©. Participant-identified program benefits included conveyed institutional support for teaching, the opportunity for peer observation with direct and timely feedback, the opportunity for community building, and overall program feasibility. Program challenges included competing scheduling demands, variability in feedback quality, and difficulty maintaining engagement for the program duration. Potential areas for improvement included participation incentives, external faculty involvement, assistance with program logistics and administration, and improvement in the consistency of the feedback experience. While peer observation is a valued approach to physician faculty development of teaching skills, competing demands on physicians may still limit program effectiveness. Program sustainability depends on optimizing feedback quality, boosting motivation for participation, and providing administrative support.
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    Author List

  • Stockdill M; Hendricks B; Barnett MD; Bakitas M; Harada CN