Faculty-to-Faculty Observation allows faculty to learn different ideas, strategies and options from each other. Faculty who would like to be connected with other faculty and visit each other’s classes, can contact CTL to get started.
Faculty are, of course, welcome to observe each other independently of CTL. Feel free to consider the following suggestions in doing so.
Above all, CTL encourages faculty to use this process to consider different ways of teaching and to learn from each other. Asking questions about the choices that other faculty make (rather than telling them what they ought to have done) will allow both faculty members to benefit from observation.
Step One: Professors meet or exchange email before they observe each other’s classrooms. They might use this exchange to:
- Clarify the goals that they have for their class as well as any strengths and weaknesses that the observer should note. (CTL’s Pre-Observation Conference Guide suggests questions that may be used to guide this discussion.)
- Share classroom materials (the syllabus, reading assignments, and so on) that might help the observer better understand the class.
- Set a date for observation and for the post-observation conference.
Step Two: Observe the class.
- The observer should come to class on time and, if both participants feel it is appropriate, the instructor may introduce the observer.
- The observer should take notes that describe what happened in the class. CTL’s Observation Guide may lead this description, although the observer may want to focus more on issues identified in the pre-observation conference.
Step Three: Professors should discuss the classroom visit.
- Hold this meeting as soon after the observation as possible so that any feedback will be timely.
- The instructor should reflect on the class. What worked? What was less successful? Was this class typical?
- The observer should describe and ask questions, remaining open to different types of teaching. CTL has some Post-Observation Guidelines but the focus should be on issues of most importance to the instructor.
The CTL welcomes feedback on this process. Please contact Bruce Lenthall.