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Federica Franze on Gaining Fresh Perspective from a Teaching Observation

Feb 27, 2017 | Teaching Insights

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers teaching observations with trained consultants who can provide individualized feedback on teaching, following evidence-based principles for effective learning and teaching and inclusive engagement. Federica Franze, Lecturer in the Department of Italian, participated in a teaching observation as a participant in the Fall 2016 Reflective Teaching Seminar program. We asked her to reflect on the experience and consider how the feedback she received might inform her future teaching.

Federica Franze
Lecturer in the 
Department of Italian

My take-away: “[The CTL’s teaching observation service] is a great chance to receive feedback in an extremely professional, detailed, helpful, and confidential way. It is a chance to reflect on your teaching practices, to be prepared to answer questions on your lesson plan and your teaching methodologies, and ultimately to improve as an instructor. It can be also a good way to prepare for a job interview, or before a university review process.”

How was your experience with the CTL teaching observation service?

My experience was extremely positive and very constructive. My observer made me feel very comfortable, and the whole process gave me a chance to reflect on my teaching practices and techniques. Being observed by someone who is not directly involved with language teaching was also very helpful, because I had the chance to hear comments and questions from a new perspective.

What was the process like? 

The observation was preceded by a set of questions, in which I was asked to explain the learning objectives of that specific lesson, but also to frame the lesson within the larger objectives of my course. The deadline to submit lesson plans and materials was the day before, so this work was not at all a burden–on the contrary, it actually helped me to be even more prepared and organized.

After the lesson, I met with the observer, for a follow-up session, in which I had a chance to add more details, and to discuss if anything had gone differently than planned. A few days later, I received a final report, in which the comments showed a careful examination of everything that was involved in my lesson: from the analysis of the materials I had prepared, to the class engagement and the activities I used, to the way I promoted the learning process, to how I addressed and responded to students’ questions and concerns.

How might this service help other faculty and instructors at Columbia?

This service is a great chance to receive feedback in an extremely professional, detailed, helpful, and confidential way. It is a chance to reflect on your teaching practices, to be prepared to answer questions on your lesson plan and your teaching methodologies, and ultimately to improve as an instructor. It can be also a good way to prepare for a job interview, or before a university review process.

Are you a faculty member or instructor looking for formative feedback on your teaching? Request a teaching observation today! Stay tuned to our mailing list to learn about more upcoming opportunities for faculty and instructors.

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