Project Details

An 18-month project that was undertaken by the University of Otago, to investigate the effectiveness of a teacher development programme through peer observation and mentoring.


The main aim of this project was to:

  • provide professional development, through peer observation and mentoring, for short-term, contractual (tutoring) staff.


A mixed method approach was used including:

  • observation of tutorials and recording short video segments
  • recall interviews, which provide an opportunity to give advice on strategies for improving practice
  • focus group interviews and student evaluations, which will provide insights into the effectiveness of the project.


university of otago

Dr Rob Wass

Project leader

University of Otago
university of otago

Angela Howell

University of Otago
university of otago

Dylan Davies

University of Otago
university of otago

Dr Catherine Hartung

University of Otago
university of otago

Dr Tracy Rogers

University of Otago




$16,959.80 (excl GST)

$8,339.00 Regional Hub Project Fund
$8,620.80 University of Otago

Key Findings

Four benefits for tutors who participated in the project were identified:

  • Enhanced self-reflection
  • Collegiality in a non-hierarchical framework
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Positive outcomes for students

Key Recommendations

Nine significant ‘tips’ for academic developers to consider when establishing a programme were identified:

  • Support your mentors
  • Be flexible
  • Match teaching context but not content
  • Select mentors carefully
  • Use staff champions
  • Provide a timeline
  • The Start, Stop, Continue exercise is extremely valuable
  • Formal recognition of the programme is important
  • Recommendation of one mentor per two mentees


Using mentor and peer observation to enhance the practice of short term contractual (tutoring) staff

A report for the project: Mentor and peer observation to improve the practice of casual, short-term teachers. This project describes an initiative where tutors, students, professional, and academic staff work together in a supportive environment to provide professional development for short-term, contractual (tutoring) staff.

(PDF, 378 KB, 16-pages). 

  • 30 August 2019
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Peer observation and mentoring 'tool kit'

A tool kit for staff wishing to provide professional development for casual teaching staff in the post-compulsory teaching sector.

(PDF, 360 KB, 9-pages). 

  • 30 August 2019
Read more