Tuesday Teaching Talk

Tuesday Teaching Talk is a regular feature which, as the name implies, is an opportunity to talk explicitly about teaching (and learning) in the practical and philosophical sense that happens on, you guessed it, Tuesday. It could be a question, an article or a tip to name a few options.

As many of you know, CAST (the Committee for the Art and Science of Teaching) has a new format this semester.  We have 3 subgroups, each focused on a different area.  Last week you heard about something that the Tech. subgroup is doing (There’s still time by the way.).  Today, the research subgroup meets so you’ll likely hear about what they are going to be doing next week.  This week I’m excited to share an idea generated during last week’s CAST pedagogy subgroup meeting.  The attendees were doing some brainstorming about what our subgroup should do this semester.  The purpose of today’s TTT is to share the idea and gauge interest.

Here’s the idea(an initiative really), inspired by similar programs from Centers for Teaching and Learning at other schools ((h/t to AE (I’ll let you try to figure out the names by providing initials for the contributors) for the initial proposal of this idea and subsequent follow up info about the Searle Center at Northwestern.)) Though we don’t have the “personpower” to create something as substantial as the Searle Center, we can take steps to create that resource, a piece at a time.  In fact, Alicia Anzaldo and Franklin Reynolds, formerly of the Reinvention Faculty and Staff Development Task Force proposed Centers for Teaching and Learning at each of the 7 CC’s and are currently piloting one at Truman (how’s that going btw?).  Anyhow, the initiative would involve voluntary peer observations for the purpose of professional growth. The plan is to open classroom doors to our colleagues in order to learn from one another.  A few names that were thrown out for this initiative were “Open Doors” and “Flexible Mentors” though the latter was EM’s way of thinking about the idea, but I like it.  So for now, let’s call this Open Doors, Flexible Mentors for fun though that sounds a little like an afterschool program for at-risk teens.  Anyway, the name is not important.  What is important is figuring out who would like to be involved.  Therefore, CAST is starting here by asking for volunteers.   Here is what’s entailed.

  1. You volunteer to be observed by one of your peers and discuss the observation.
  2. You agree to observe one of your peers and discuss the observation.

Notice that #1 cannot happen without #2 and vice versa.  There is necessary symbiosis here.

To this end, CAST is looking to create a “bank” of faculty (full and part-time) willing to open their classroom doors and step into others’.

If you’re interested in being a part of this “Observation Collective” (the OC), another working title, fill out this (ugh) survey.  If you’re surveyed out, you can e-mail me at hwc_cast@ccc.edu with your teaching schedule.  Also, if you can think of a better name for this than the two mentioned in this post, we’d love to hear it.  If we choose your name, there could be a prize in it for you, funding pending.