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Teaching Squares

How much time a day can you reasonably spend talking about your teaching? With demanding responsibilities to prepare adequately for each class, grade assignments, provide feedback, and not to mention actually teach, it can be extremely difficult to actually pick up a conversation with a colleague and share what you’re doing. Of course, this very act of talking about teaching can be a valuable means for hearing about interesting pedagogy, not to mention learning a great deal about your colleague as well.

One possibility to circumvent these inherent time constraints is to organize what is known as a teaching square. In its basic implementation, a teaching square allows four instructors from either the same discipline, or various disciplines, to observe each other teach a class and then share their thoughts regarding the experience. The teaching square encourages an environment of reflection and learning, rather than one of feedback and criticism. For this reason, instructors are given the opportunity not only to hear about their colleagues’ views and approaches to teaching, but to see them in action and, if innovative teaching techniques are employed, explore how to implement and structure similar teaching approaches.

I’d encourage you to read more about this if it sounds interesting to you. You don’t need to find three other colleagues to participate in the teaching square program; feel free to express your interest and we’ll find a group of colleagues for you to partner with and begin taking part in a teaching square.

You can find more information on this information sheet (teaching_squares_program_information_sheet.pdf), and if interested, please contact Monica Vesely (mvesely@uwaterloo.ca) at the CTE to start arranging your participation in a teaching square.