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Endeavor Foundation Center for Faculty Development

Reflective Teaching Partnership


Barbara Carson (Alfond Professor of English, Emerita) developed this program to serve as a "reflective teaching partner," or an objective observer who can report on what a class is like from a student's perspective (without the vested interest of a student), with whom you can discuss your challenges that crop up as part of any teaching career (but without ties to an evaluation system), and whose experience as a college professor brings knowledge of the joys of teaching (as well as the very real worries and woes). Since the program began in September 2010, 76 Rollins faculty have participated--from all divisions of the College and from all ranks, including full professors.

How Does It Work?

You will first meet to discuss your vision of her role, what teaching issues you'd like to focus on, and what kind of feedback you'd like. You invite her to your chosen course, and she attends for two weeks--essentially as a student, not as an evaluator or an expert in pedagogy. You'll then meet immediately after each class for about half an hour to share with you the experience of being a student in the class, exploring with you teaching strategies that are true to your own teaching philosophy, rather than bombarding you with advice.  The focus will not be on subject matter but instead on how the course content is being communciated--and received.  At the end of the two weeks, you'll meet for a longer conversation, and she'll give you a written summary of her experiences in class and her sense of your discussions.

Why Participate?   

The Reflective Partnership Program is for you if you are a faculty member who

  • is ready to raise the bar by trying out a new (maybe even risky) teaching strategy in the presence of someone who knows the stakes in the classroom,
  • is interested in sharpening your skills in leading discussions, or giving lectures,
  • has other issues you'd like to work on (e.g., tinkering with a particular class dynamic, exploring how you come across to students, establishing a desired classroom atmosphere),
  • is concerned about nuts and bolts (e.g., explaining assignments, responding to students' comments in class discussions), or
  • wants to address something raised in your course evaluations.

 

Is This Evaluation?

Reflective Teaching Partnerships are totally separate from all evaluation procedures at Rollins College, and all exchanges are completely confidential.  Barbara will not discuss (or otherwise report on) the details of your participation with any administrator, any member of your department, or any member of an evaluation committee.

 

How Can I Get Involved?   

Barbara is available for a small handful of reflective partnerships each semester.  If you'd like to be considered for Fall 2019, email her at barbarahcarson@hotmail.com (notice the "h" between the two full names), and use the subject line "Reflective Teaching." In the email, if you already know the class she'd attend, mention the class and its meeting times.

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