Tuesday, October 13, 2015

For STEM Instructors, Impartial Observation May Bring Needed Perspective

In any professional pursuit, it is often very difficult to improve performance without some form of assessment from an impartial observer. Receiving feedback from a colleague who is knowledgeable, yet not so deeply entrenched in the everyday context or style of a practice is essential to genuinely assessing strengths and weaknesses.

Instructors of STEM courses can benefit from this practice as well. In fact, third party observation may be especially important for STEM professors. STEM material is notoriously difficult to learn, and because of the difficulty of the material, the difference between effective and ineffective teaching may be more noticeable and result in greater changes in performance compared to other fields. Asking a colleague to provide perspective by sitting in on a class and observing your teaching methods, without necessarily even providing evaluation, may be eye-opening for some instructors. Using a set of classroom observation protocols for undergraduate STEM courses is a step that can help instructors breathe fresh life into their communication of STEM material and provide students with a better learning experience. When instructors discover what beneficial or detrimental habits that they were previously unaware of, they can begin to take action and adjust their teaching style for the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment