This Week for Graduate Students: Request a Teaching Observation Today!

by | Oct 17, 2022

Get Feedback on Your Teaching!

If you’re a current instructor or TA, the CTL offers free services that can give you valuable insight on your teaching strengths and paths for improvement. Trained graduate student Teaching Consultants visit your class, debrief with you, and provide you with a confidential report.

About CTL Teaching Observations

In a Teaching Observation, a Teaching Consultant meets with you ahead of time to understand your goals for a class session, attends the session to observe your instruction and student activities, and debriefs with you afterwards. You will receive a confidential report considering how the goals you have set for the class have been met, suggesting future adjustments, and highlighting pertinent resources available to you.

To arrange for a teaching observation, submit a request at least two weeks prior to the date when you would like a Teaching Consultant to visit your class.

Completion of a CTL Teaching Observation satisfies the Application and Practice requirement in the Teaching Development Program.

Advanced Topics in Teaching

Inclusive Teaching 1: Establishing Course Climate

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM, 212 Butler | Register

This is the first session in CTL’s five-part series exploring the principles and frameworks of inclusive teaching through guided debrief discussions based on the CTL’s MOOC “Inclusive Teaching: Supporting All Students in the College Classroom.

During this session we will reflect on the considerations for establishing and supporting an inclusive course climate and its impacts on student learning offered in the online module and debrief our own experiences or plans for enacting such ideas in the classroom. Prior to this session, participants are expected to have completed Module 1 in the MOOC (approximately 45 minutes). 

Graduate students and postdocs can register for any or all individual sessions in this series – session descriptions and registration links are available here.

CTLgrads Learning Community

“Would You Ever Teach This?” Difficult Knowledge and Inclusive Teaching in the Classroom

In-Person Learning Community designed and run by Senior Lead Teaching Fellows Valerie Hsieh (Physics) and Valeria Spacciante (Classics)

  • Part 1: Monday, October 24, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM, 212 Butler Library | Register 
  • Part 2: Monday, October 31, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM, 212 Butler Library | Register

This two-part, multidisciplinary Learning Community is designed to reflect on how to deal with difficult knowledge in today’s classroom. “Difficult knowledge” — contents which cause students to analyze social trauma (Britzman 1998) — has progressively moved to the foreground of pedagogical discourse, as it interests every discipline. However, there still is some skepticism towards difficult-knowledge issues, which are often covered by the “knowledge-is-objective” claim.

Participants in this Learning Community will engage with concepts constituting “difficult knowledge” in various disciplines and prepare a portfolio or lesson plan to incorporate teaching practices that address these subjects within their own classrooms. In doing so, participants will gain a better understanding of how to address pressing ideological issues in their teaching and how to incorporate them in their teaching. Graduate instructors in all disciplines are welcome to participate in this Learning Community.

Upcoming Lead Teaching Fellow Events

The 45 2022-23 Lead Teaching Fellows are running workshops and discussions in departments all around Columbia. These are generally advertised locally. Below are a few upcoming events that are open to participants beyond the LTF’s home department.

LTF events count towards track completion in the Teaching Development Program.

Bias in the Classroom: Problem Solving and Building a Respectful, Productive, and Inclusive Learning Environment

The classroom is a space which should be both professional, yet safe and supportive. Instructors are often faced, however, with particular challenges in the classroom that result from biases, such as age, sex, or race, either toward teachers or other students. The goal of this workshop is to consider the ways in which instructors can foster a safe and productive classroom space for both students and teachers. We will seek to identify the various forms of bias which can exist in the classroom and discuss the best methods to handle these challenging situations, resulting in the creation of a more inclusive and respectful teaching environment. This workshop is intended to be a space for instructors to build confidence in their own problem-solving abilities and ultimately to support the creation of supportive, successful, and inclusive classrooms.

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Jilian Pizzi (Italian). It is open to all graduate students, regardless of discipline.

Date & Time: Tuesday, October 18, 11:00am – 12:15pm (*new time)
Location: 212 Butler Library
Registration: email

Grading and Equity in the Language Classroom

How do we grade in a language classroom? Furthermore, how do we do so equitably? These seemingly simple questions in fact pose many challenges. In this workshop, participants will discuss difficulties that may arise when grading language students. Whether it’s the challenge of fairly and equitably assessing students from a variety of academic and linguistic backgrounds, the importance of promoting student wellbeing and mental health even during finals period, or the complexity of negotiating the politics of language and of specific languages in the classroom, this workshop will provide a space for graduate student language instructors to share experiences, discuss grading methodologies, and brainstorm creative solutions. It will also provide space to share practical tips and tricks for grading in the language classroom, with the goal of improving the experience of grading for both students and instructors.

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Ellie Grabowski (French). It is open to graduate students in all language departments.

Date & Time: Wednesday, October 19, 2:30pm – 4:00pm
Location: Maison Française, Lower Gallery

Teaching Scientifically: Improving Your Teaching via the Scientific Method

In this workshop, we’ll be discussing the concept of “Teaching-as-Research,” or the rethinking of teaching and teaching development within the framework of scientific experimental design. We will draw from our experiences with research and the scientific process to devise concrete experiments to test (and to improve) the efficacy of our teaching. Throughout this workshop, participants will develop a teaching-related research question, devise a methodology for collecting and analyzing data, and consider how different outcomes may inform their teaching practice; by the end of the two sessions, participants will have completely formulated a Teaching-as-Research project that can be deployed in the classroom.

This event is part of a two-part series led by Lead Teaching Fellow Ryan Golant (Astronomy). It is open graduate students in STEM disciplines. Participants are welcome to join one or both sessions. 

Date & Time: October 24th, 10:30am – 11:45am
Location: Astronomy Library (Pupin 1402)

Putting Text First: Incorporating Primary Sources into the Music Classroom

In the course description for Music Humanities, the use of primary sources is highlighted as an integral aspect not only of the class, but of the Core curriculum more broadly: “Students’ critical perceptions and articulate responses to the music, and to the source readings that are a hallmark of the Core, will be a vital part of the class.” In this workshop, participants will consider the role of text in the music classroom, exploring approaches to incorporating it productively and intentionally into lesson planning using the principles of backwards design. After discussing this framework, participants will work in groups to create learning objectives that foreground source readings, and compile activities, assignments, and/or assessments that promote deeper engagement with the material and support student growth. Though the texts and discussion will focus on Music Humanities, the framing techniques are more widely applicable. If desired, participants are encouraged to bring their own examples of source readings to discuss.

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Anya Wilkening (Music). Though the texts and discussion will focus on Music Humanities, the framing techniques are more widely applicable to any instructor looking to integrate primary sources into their teaching practice. 

Date & Time: Tuesday, October 25, 2022, 10:30am
Location: EthnoCenter (701C Dodge)

Promoting Social Engagement in the Language (and Culture) Class

While Columbia has students with solid backgrounds and professional commitment, it is important to move beyond the academic and administrative manual. An exclusively content-oriented teaching in a competitive educational setting might lead us to undervalue social engagement opportunities across our educational process. 

This event is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Javiera Irribarren-Ortiz (LAIC). It is open to graduate students in language departments.

Date & Time: Friday, October 28, 11:40am – 12:55pm
Location: Casa Hispanica (612 W 116th St)
Registration: here