SOOTWhat does it involve? 

Student Observation of Teaching

Student Observation of Teaching is an opportunity for students to collaborate with academics to develop their teaching. The student observer acts as a “critical friend” to the academic, offering feedback on their practice, and a fresh perspective on how they work with students. This might be done by observing some of their teaching yourself; leading a focus group of students; talking with them about questions, challenges, or ideas they have in their teaching; or a combination of all of these. Full training and support will be given, and (for undergraduate students) involvement counts towards your HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report). Students have consistently said they enjoyed it, found it interesting, felt it developed their relationship with academic staff, and offered them benefits in terms of thinking about their own learning habits.

“SOOT was an extremely engaging and interesting experience”.


Who is it for?

This is for any student, at any level of study and from any faculty or department, who is interested in having a conversation about learning and teaching outside of their programme.


What are the benefits?

Participation in this scheme should help you reflect on your own learning, and consider how different forms of learning and teaching might help you get the best from your studies. It can also be a useful experience for your CV, especially if you are thinking about teaching as a career, and (where relevant) will be included on your HEAR. It can also help shape the university’s stand on what good teaching is and does. Obviously, all of this should also have benefits for other students across the university; and it makes a real difference to individual participants. A student who took part in a previous instance said, “I am happy to have achieved something and act as a bridge between students and the academic department. This is one of the best experiences for me at The University of Sheffield.”

“I have gained a new insight into an aspect of education that I had not explored before”



 When do I commit?

The scheme runs in both the Autumn and Spring semester. You can be involved with either or both, and can retain the relationship with your academic partner or small group for as long as you wish.


How is information from the scheme used?

All conversations within the scheme remain confidential to participants. However, if there are points that you would like to share within your department or with other people, so long as everyone participating gives their consent, that’s fine. The scheme organisers also run an ongoing research project, and you will have the option to contribute some of your reflections and experiences to that.

“It was highly enjoyable and a really eye-opening experience. It was a new experience to be giving feedback to a lecturer and understanding their thought process was really interesting.”



How can I get involved?

Further information about the scheme is available in a Briefing note, which sets out what is involved for both student and staff participants. There’s an initial training event, and ongoing workshops and support throughout the semester. There is a Google Form for applications, which will be welcome by midday on Friday 1st October; successful applicants for the autumn semester will be confirmed by Tuesday 5th October.


SOoTThe Student Observation of Teaching Scheme is a collaborative programme offered by 301 Academic Skills Centre, Elevate and Dr Tim Herrick from the School of Education.

If you would like to ask any questions then please contact us at