With the various demands society is now placing on community colleges, we as faculty must do all we can to learn from and capitalize on hard won teaching experiences. Likewise, gone are the days of not thinking of teaching as distinct art in itself (separate from content expertise), needing an ongoing learning process with the dynamic state of technology and what we are learning every year about the science of teaching and learning.
With taking the approach of a continuous improvement cycle, we can all get even better at teaching for Success & Retention by intent and design.
Dee Fink offers a useful and practical model of this cycle and how it can become exponentially more powerful if we go beyond ourselves to share with our peers and draw from the literature:
Fink gear up teaching-Mk2L. Dee Fink, “The Joy & Responsibility of Teaching Well” (2006)
Each of these 3 processes are useful and enriching by itself but if done together, it can be an incredible powerful engine to  improve our teaching craft but also to renew our excitement for teaching each term.
#1- 20 Minute INDIVIDUAL End of Term Reflection
Take 20 minutes to take a deep breath and reflect on what are your summary take-aways from how the class went/ is going this term. Write or type up your thoughts to the following:
  • What was the biggest pain point or disappointments that did not go as planned this term?
  • What were the biggest successes that exceeded your hopes this term?
  • What was the biggest surprise in how the class went/ is going?
  • What this term challenged your assumptions about the course, activities, assessments & students?
  • What are ideas to scale your successes this term?
  • What are three ways to try and address your pain points for next term?
  • How will you measure student feedback/ success to measure impact of your changes?
#2- Cup of Coffee with COLLEAGUES/ Mentor
One of the most powerful resources your can have as a teacher is a mentor or trusted peer. ( If you do not have a mentor or peer teacher, –or even to augment one you do have– you can reach out in your building or department or go online and use Twitter or other social media to make a Professional Learning Network). Take your mentor/ peer out for a cup of coffee or drop them an email sharing your notes from Part 1. Pick their brain:
  • What am I missing?
  • Have you had any similar issues/ Experiences? What did you do to address them?
  • What success did you have or are scaling that I can steal?
#3 – Make Sure You Aren’t Reinventing The Wheel
You can accelerate your learning curve by investing in checking in with the literature for pre-built solutions to the issues you are working with from some other teacher out there.
Need more help or would like to setup a 1on1 consult ?
NCSC Ctr. fro Teaching Excellence – 419.755.4706

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