"Teaching philosophies are never written in isolation. They are meant to be shared, they are meant to be iterative, they are meant to be given to others and to get feedback on them. They should be shared with students. They should be shared with colleagues and feedback should be sought. ... [They] are meant to be a public statement about what you believe and how you approach it (Red Deer College)."
Benefits of a peer review
The reviewer benefits from internalizing the expectations or standards expressed in a rubric or checklist as they use it as a lens through which to assess another writer's work. This can give the reviewer a more objective way to self check.The writer gets an opportunity to see his/her work through the eyes of a reader. A good reviewer will find both strengths and areas that need work and can help the writer through several iterations of the TPS.
Despite the fact that most TPSs are written with the purpose of having someone else read them, sharing yours in a public forum can feel risky. You're not only exposing your teaching values and practices to external judgement but also your ability to express that in a way that is engaging, thought-provoking, and well written.
I have to admit that seeing my work side-by-side with others' reactivates all the old competitive feelings I've struggled with as a learner since I was in grade 6!! How will my work measure up? Will I be found lacking? Will my peers like me? Sending my TPS off to strangers to be read as part of a job application is easier for me than sharing it online for the purpose of peer review despite what the research says about our "being more receptive to feedback and constructive criticism when we have asked for it" (P. Gray in Johnson, 2012). (BTW: This activity can be a good way to remind yourself how students feel whenever they submit a piece of work for evaluation.)
What should a TPS reviewer be looking for?
You should be thinking about providing feedback at 3 levels: about content, about structure, and and about style. Reading the comments below this bloggers outline of his TPS can give you a sense of how detailed feedback can be. It's worth noting that this is the blogger's 3rd draft and that he asked his readers for their reactions.
CONTENT: "At the very least, statements should address foundational questions:
- Why do you teach?
- What [and who] do you teach?
- How do you teach?
- How do you measure your own effectiveness?