The Teaching Squares program gives faculty an opportunity to gain new insight into their teaching through a non-evaluative process of reciprocal classroom observation and self-reflection. If you would like more information, email Alicia Russell Alicia.email@example.com. And to sign up to form a Square, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A square is made up of four faculty, typically from different disciplines. The four faculty in each “teaching square” agree to visit each other’s classes over the course of a semester and then meet to discuss what they’ve learned from their observations. They meet once as a group at the beginning to learn about the process and coordinate schedules, and after visiting each other’s classes they meet again to share their learning.
Teaching Squares are meant to spur personal self-reflection rather than peer evaluation. Participants focus their conversations on what they’ve learned about their own teaching from the observation process and avoid direct commentary on their colleagues’ performance. The goal is to encourage a respectful, safe, mutually-supportive experience for all involved. By allowing faculty to be “learners” again in their colleagues’ classes, Teaching Squares can open up unique spaces for reflection and conversation about teaching. Participants are encouraged to approach the process in a spirit of appreciation – even celebration – of the work of their colleagues.
“I liked meeting people in other departments. It felt like breaking down barriers. I’ve been here for seven years, but after visiting these classes, I felt more connected to the university.”
“I was reminded about the way you feel when you are a student. As a teacher in control I forget that as a student you need time to think. I realized the importance of silence.”
“It was interesting to see critical thinking in different subjects. [In some cases] there are strategies in common. It was also interesting to see how the instructors managed the class, group work, and use of space.”
CELT will help arrange space and food for the meetings, and help coordinate connections for the Squares. Sometimes it takes a little time to form a Square, but we will do our best to make it happen as quickly as possible. Feel free to encourage colleagues to sign up as well!