BMCC Teaching CoLab: Peer Teaching Consultations

The Peer Teaching Consultation program offers all full- and part-time faculty an opportunity to explore their teaching and to engage in a conversation about teaching and learning with a colleague. Interested faculty can request a classroom visit from a consulting teacher trained in nonjudgmental reflection and feedback. The pair will then meet to talk about the chosen focus for the classroom visit and to discuss teaching and learning more broadly. For the Spring 2020 semester, former Teaching Academy participants will serve as consulting teachers in the Peer Teaching Consultation program. We plan to make this opportunity available to other faculty in the future.

This program continues the work of the Teaching Fellows program, which emphasizes building awareness of classroom events and behaviors, experimentation with teaching practices, and nonjudgmental reflection and feedback.

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Peer Teaching Consultation FAQs

What is nonjudgmental reflection and feedback?
Nonjudgmental reflection and feedback is different from interactions you may have had after departmental classroom observations. This approach disrupts typical conversations about teaching by:

  • Using description of classroom behaviors and events, rather than evaluative language
  • Emphasizing collaborative exploration of teaching practice and student learning
  • Focusing on specific topics chosen by the visited instructor
  • Inviting the visited instructor to guide the direction of the conversation

How does the peer consultation process work?

  • You request a classroom visit and specify what aspect of the class you would like to focus on in the follow up conversation. Requests should be made at least two weeks before the date of the visit.
  • The Teaching Collaboratory directors confirm receipt of your request and pair you with a consulting teacher. You will be paired with a consulting teacher from outside your department.
  • The consulting teacher emails you to get acquainted, to begin interacting about the upcoming visit, and to schedule a time for a follow-up conversation, which should occur within a week of the visit.
  • The consulting teacher visits your class.
  • You and the consulting teacher meet to talk about the focus you chose for the class visit and to discuss teaching and learning more broadly.
  • You respond to a brief survey that asks you about your experience in general terms. This will help us improve the program.

What can we focus on in these classroom visits?
Lots of things, including:

  • Something new that you’re trying (e.g., a new activity or teaching a class for the first time)
  • The patterns of interaction in your class
  • The structure of your lesson
  • Cultural and/or academic diversity in the classroom
  • Your use of technology in the classroom
  • A question about your teaching or your students’ learning

Who are the consulting teachers?
Consulting teachers are BMCC faculty members who are trained in nonjudgmental reflection and feedback. At this time, consulting teachers are former Teaching Academy participants, who have previous experience with this type of interaction. We plan to make this opportunity available to other faculty in the future.

Who can request a classroom visit?
This program is open to all BMCC faculty (full- and part-time) who are interested in exploring their teaching. We encourage you to request a visit whether you have been teaching for decades or are newer to the classroom.

Are consulting teachers available to visit at all class times?
Potentially, yes! Whether you teach days, evenings or weekends, we will do our best to arrange a visit.

How many visits can I request?
You may request up to two visits per semester. Depending on availability, it may be possible to have two visits from the same consulting teacher.

Why is the consulting teacher from outside my department?
This program promotes non-evaluative conversations about teaching and learning, rather than discussions about course content. Participants in the Teaching Fellows program have told us that, “Working across disciplines gives you a different teaching perspective and exposes you to different tools of teaching.” For discipline-specific or content-focused discussions, we encourage you to seek out partners within your department.

What records of requests and consultations are kept by the program?
In order to foster a space for exploration of teaching and learning among peers, all visits are confidential. The consulting teacher will not share the content of your conversations. Requests for visits are shared only with the program directors and the consulting teacher.

After you meet with the consulting teacher, we will also ask you to complete an optional survey giving us general feedback about your experience. Responses to this survey will be anonymous.

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