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How to Make our Conversations about Teaching More Productive

Where do your new ideas about teaching and learning come from? Perhaps some come from Faculty Focus and this blog? We certainly hope so! But most college teachers don’t get instructional ideas from the literature. They get them from other teachers, usually in face-to-face or electronic exchanges. Interesting, isn’t it, how much pedagogical information is passed on and around in these very informal ways.

If we’re learning to teach and growing instructionally through conversations with each other, that makes it appropriate to ask: What are we learning from each other? Techniques? Good strategies? Solutions to problems? Shortcuts and quick fixes? Is that all we could be learning from these conversations? Asked a different way, what would make these conversations better? What could help them promote, motivate, and sustain our growth as teachers?

Over the years, I’ve tended to be pretty critical of how we talk about teaching. Here’s a quick rundown of what I think compromises the quality of those conversations:

Here are some changes that I believe would make our teaching conversations better and more productive: