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Teaching-Related Consulting

In addition to GIFT and Class Observation , Peer Consultants can work with you on one-to-one basis to address your questions, challenges, or concerns in your teaching. Although you will find colleagues at your department or school with whom you can discuss these issues, we hope that an additional support system at the university level will also be helpful.

Peer Consultants understand consulting as an alliance of two people that creates a space for dialogue. Consulting activities involve reflection, action, and learning for both parties. There is a difference between consulting and coaching in that, unlike a coach, a consultant does not tell people what to do and how to achieve a specific goal at a specific time. Consulting is an open-ended process, which aims to facilitate self-development. In turn, self-development is based on the ability of an academician to reflect on the important aspects of his/her job, such as teaching, research, and service.

Peer Consultants can assist faculty in the development and the manifestation of ideas in the areas of effective teaching. Areas of teaching on which faculty may want to Request peer consulting include:

  • Effective Teaching

Effective teaching has a number of dimensions. Peer consultants can help faculty to incorporate some of the following dimensions in their teaching.

  • Syllabus

Syllabus is an important document that establishes the first contact between the instructor and the student. By doing so, it sets the tone of the class. A syllabus that reflects the instructor's ideas about teaching and learning is the first step to effective teaching

  • Lecturing

Effective lecturing requires attention to a number of points, ranging from the external attributes of the instructor such as the use of voice and eye contact to the careful design of the lecture content.

  • Classroom Activities

In addition to lectures, instructors can use a variety of classroom activities to enhance teaching effectiveness. These activities can range from group writing and group discussion to role playing or simulations. When classroom activities are used to clarify the content of the lecture or the book, they enhance learning and understanding.

  • Instructional Technology

There are a number of ways in which instructors can use resources such as Blackboard to increase teaching effectiveness. From creating discussion forums to providing feedback on assignments, Blackboard can be used as a medium to promote learning.

  • Grading/Assessment

Assessment is a critical part of an instructor's job. It is also one of the major dimensions that students use to evaluate their teachers. An instructor can employ fair grading practices, among other things, by informing students about his/her expectations associated with different types of assignments and developing rubrics based on which students' work will be assessed.

  • Questioning

Posing questions to students does not ensure its pedagogical value or its contribution to learning. As in the case of lecturing, there are issues associated with questioning ranging from the instructor's manner of questioning to the content of questions.

  • Feedback

Clearly, students expect the instructor's feedback on their work. Additionally, reflective feedback can promote learning and understanding. Especially, when the manner of feedback is positive and its content is informative, it can build a positive relationship between the instructor and the student.

  • Self-Evaluation

In addition to inviting a Peer Consultant to their classes, instructors can conduct self-evaluations. Post-first exam evaluations, mid-term evaluations, etc. can be very helpful, not to mention the fact that they are much appreciated by students as a sign of the instructor's care and concern for students. There are various self-evaluation methods using various techniques that you can discuss with a Peer Consultant.

  • Teaching Portfolio

During the tenure and promotion decisions, faculty has to prepare a teaching portfolio that reflects an instructor's teaching accomplishments supported by data, along with the instructor's reflections on his/her approach to teaching. The decision as to what to include in a teaching portfolio is critical.

  • Civility in the Classroom

Although disruptive behavior in the classroom rarely occurs, when it happens, it can interfere with teaching. Disruptive behavior can range from a student monopolizing class discussions to hostility toward the instructor.

To request Teaching-Related Consulting, fill out the Request Form.

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