Campus Culture

Let’s Talk about Teaching

I’m always looking for chances to talk about teaching and how our students learn. I find myself energized by these conversations—not only by the new perspectives and ideas that come up,  but also because I can see that the other teachers in the conversation are energized too.

If you’re also looking for more opportunities to talk about teaching and learning, you may want to try two BMCC programs – Open Teaching Week and Peer Teaching Consultations. Both open up the doors to BMCC classrooms and provide a chance for you to share and discuss teaching practices with colleagues from across departments. But how are they different?

In a nutshell, Open Teaching Week offers an opportunity to get ideas for your teaching by visiting other classes, while Peer Teaching Consultations allow you to request a classroom visit from a trained, non-evaluative peer and then have a conversation about teaching and learning driven by your own specific interests.

Open Teaching Week is an annual week-long event that takes place each spring semester — this year from March 23rd to 29th. Open classrooms are at the core of Open Teaching Week. You can visit other classes to get ideas for your own teaching or just because you’re curious about what happens in another classroom. Until March 2, you can also volunteer to open your classroom. I open mine because I want to participate in the growing “culture of open” here at BMCC. I find that having a visitor in the classroom makes me differently aware of my teaching. This awareness helps me reflect in a fresh way and encourages me to break out of routines of thinking about my teaching and my students’ learning.

In addition to open classrooms, Open Teaching Week also offers faculty other opportunities to exchange ideas about teaching and learning. Among the offerings are an Online and Hybrid Course Expo, conversations about open pedagogy and ungrading, and a workshop about incorporating Wikipedia assignments in your classes.

With Peer Teaching Consultations, you can invite a BMCC colleague from outside your department to visit your classroom and, after the visit, meet with them to talk about teaching and learning. These “consulting teachers” work with the BMCC Teaching Collaboratory and are trained in non-evaluative reflection and feedback. Peer Teaching Consultations are a great way to explore specific aspects of your teaching that you are curious about. The visit and the follow-up conversation are informal, collegial, and confidential.

Peer Teaching Consultations are available to full- and part-time faculty throughout the spring and fall semesters. You can request a visit any time by going to the Peer Teaching Consultations website.

Like many of us, I came to BMCC because I wanted to work in a community of faculty actively interested in teaching, and happily, that’s what I’ve found. Events like Open Teaching Week and programs like Peer Teaching Consultations help to sustain this community, keeping us energized and reflective about our teaching. This ultimately benefits our students, which is what it’s all about.


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