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Reflecting On Your Teaching

Posted by on Thursday, June 7, 2012 in News.

The regular academic year is over, grades are in, and graduations have been celebrated. As Nashville rolls into its hottest months, now is the ideal time to reflect on your teaching this year. Such reflection may take the form of thoughtful consideration of your learning goals and how your students met them. It may begin with feedback from others, as in student evaluations and peer reviews. It may even follow such activities as teaching workshops, individual consultations, or pedagogical research. Whatever its form, end-of-the-year reflections often motivate—at just the right time—plans to revise your teaching practices.

Written reflections on teaching can be used for personal, pedagogical, or professional purposes. While teaching statements are increasingly an important part of hiring and tenure processes, they also are effective in helping you coherently conceptualize your approaches to and experiences of teaching and learning, as well as deepen and renew your commitment to the values and goals of your teaching.

At Vanderbilt, promotion and review processes require faculty to reflect on their work and document their progress in teaching, research, and service. When reporting on teaching, faculty are encouraged to articulate their teaching philosophy and objectives; describe past and planned course and curriculum development; and explain pedagogical initiatives, innovations, or experiments and their results.

The Center for Teaching provides one-on-one consultations on reflecting on, evaluating, and documenting your teaching. We can help as you reconsider and redesign a course, or try to make sense of your student evaluations, or draft a teaching statement, or prepare your materials for your dossier. As we assist you in preparing your teaching documentation, we work with you to reflect deliberately on your practice as a means of deepening your understanding of pedagogical goals and methods, and linking those goals and methods to student learning.

If you’d like more information about reflecting on and documenting your teaching, please stop by or call the Center for Teaching (322-7290) or visit our set of teaching guides on the topic.

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