Proposal Title

Improving Science Teaching through Peer-Supported Reflective Practice

Session Type

Workshop

Room

P&A Rm 106

Start Date

July 2015

Keywords

teaching square, teaching observations, reflective practice, peer support

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Overview: Research in higher education has shown a link between an instructor’s reflective practice and student learning. However, reflection can fail when instructors have insufficient knowledge on what to reflect on or how to change. This highlights the importance of support for reflective practice. In this workshop, participants will learn about the existing teaching square model, which supports the development of reflective practice and self-assessment. In this model four participants form a ‘square’ and observe each other teaching, following a round of observations, participants meet and share how the observations impacted them. We will share our experience of forming and implementing a teaching square as well as how the experience impacted our teaching practices and beliefs. During the workshop, participants will plan a teaching square they can implement and will be shown how to document their learning. We will also explore ideas for how to evaluate the impact of a teaching square.

Description and Rationale: We utilized the teaching square model of peer observation and self-reflection to help enhance our teaching practice. The model involves observing each other’s classes twice over the semester. After each observation, we shared what we learned about our own teaching by observing each other. As an interdisciplinary science group with different levels of teaching experience, our goals were diverse: receiving feedback on teaching practices, observing different teaching styles and strategies in action, and looking for ways to refresh our teaching practices and practice self-reflection.

Outcomes: We all enhanced aspects of our teaching practices and gained transformative insights. Enhancements included embedding real world applications into lessons, developing opportunities for active learning, facilitating group discussions and using classroom technology more effectively. Transformative impacts included increased confidence, an increased ability to recognize strengths in our current teaching practices, and shifting beliefs about the role of the instructor in the classroom.

Elements of Engagement

Our workshop will have there key engagement activities: individual work planning a teaching square, small group work where participants share ideas with others, and large group discussion to summarize key insights and share ideas amongst workshop participants. We will also work on strategies to evaluate the impact of a teaching squares program. All workshop activities will be facilitated and supported by the authors of this proposal. We will use our experiences forming and implementing a teaching square to design the workshop activities and provide guidance to participants as they develop their teaching square plan.

The intended products that participants will leave the workshop with are a plan for a teaching square they can implement in their teaching context, and a plan for how to document the activities and learnings from their teaching square.

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Jul 10th, 10:45 AM

Improving Science Teaching through Peer-Supported Reflective Practice

P&A Rm 106

Overview: Research in higher education has shown a link between an instructor’s reflective practice and student learning. However, reflection can fail when instructors have insufficient knowledge on what to reflect on or how to change. This highlights the importance of support for reflective practice. In this workshop, participants will learn about the existing teaching square model, which supports the development of reflective practice and self-assessment. In this model four participants form a ‘square’ and observe each other teaching, following a round of observations, participants meet and share how the observations impacted them. We will share our experience of forming and implementing a teaching square as well as how the experience impacted our teaching practices and beliefs. During the workshop, participants will plan a teaching square they can implement and will be shown how to document their learning. We will also explore ideas for how to evaluate the impact of a teaching square.

Description and Rationale: We utilized the teaching square model of peer observation and self-reflection to help enhance our teaching practice. The model involves observing each other’s classes twice over the semester. After each observation, we shared what we learned about our own teaching by observing each other. As an interdisciplinary science group with different levels of teaching experience, our goals were diverse: receiving feedback on teaching practices, observing different teaching styles and strategies in action, and looking for ways to refresh our teaching practices and practice self-reflection.

Outcomes: We all enhanced aspects of our teaching practices and gained transformative insights. Enhancements included embedding real world applications into lessons, developing opportunities for active learning, facilitating group discussions and using classroom technology more effectively. Transformative impacts included increased confidence, an increased ability to recognize strengths in our current teaching practices, and shifting beliefs about the role of the instructor in the classroom.