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Programs

Teaching Triangles

Synopsis

Semester-long peer observation and reflection program for faculty wishing to actively work on their pedagogy in a supportive, structured environment.

Have questions?

Contact me today!

Meg Headshot

Meg Gregory

Associate Director for Faculty Programs and Services, Educational Development

(314) 935-3303

meggregory@wustl.edu

Applications are now open for Fall 2022 Teaching Triangles.

Program Overview

Teaching Triangles is a semester-long, reciprocal classroom observation and reflection program geared towards helping faculty think through their teaching practices in a supportive, structured environment. In Teaching Triangles, faculty observe and are observed by two colleagues. Observations are meant to stimulate personal self-reflection on teaching practice (not meant to provide direct commentary on colleagues’ performances). Participants engage in non-judgemental, formative feedback and discussion throughout the semester with other members of their Triangle following the observations. The CTL forms triangles and provides a structure for observation and reflection. Participants who fully complete the program will receive a $250 stipend.

Program Structure

Each Teaching Triangle consists of three faculty members committed to working together on their teaching for the semester. Triangle participants will agree to visit each other’s courses at least once during the semester to observe their colleagues teach. This observation will not be evaluative; direct commentary on colleagues’ performance is not part of this process. Instead, colleagues will write down their observations of the class session, and, following the class, reflect on their own practice having experienced what it’s like to be in another faculty member’s classroom.

Following the observation and the initial reflections, triangle colleagues will convene to discuss their teaching, using some guiding questions provided by the CTL. Triangle participants will all be invited to an end of the semester lunch to celebrate the program’s conclusion and to reflect on what participants will take away from their time in the triangle.

Participants will provide a written reflection responding to a few CTL-generated prompts at the end of the semester, signifying the completion of the program. Once this reflection is submitted to the CTL, faculty will be eligible to receive $250 stipends for their active participation and completion of the program.

Program Goals & History

There are two overarching goals for the Teaching Triangles program at WashU. First, the program is designed to provide a formal structure for self-reflection on one’s own teaching practices. Secondly, the program works to generate respectful, reciprocal, and non-evaluative discussion about teaching between a faculty member and a group of interdisciplinary peers.

This program directly supports the CTL’s mission of initiating collegial conversations about teaching and learning across WashU and fostering a culture of reflective teaching practice that values collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity.

The Teaching Triangles program at WashU has its roots in the Teaching Squares program first developed by Anne Wesley at St. Louis CC and is modeled on similar programs in place at Penn State University, University of Waterloo, Bowdoin College, Colorado State University, Amherst College, San Francisco State University, University of Hawaii-West O’ahu and many other campuses. The CTL at WashU wishes to thank CTL partners from across North America for their willingness to provide advice, resources, and feedback as we developed our program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to participate?

At this time, the program is limited to full-time faculty at WashU.

If there are more registrants than space in the program, who gets priority acceptance?

The program is currently limited to 21 faculty per semester. A number of factors will be considered as we decide acceptance, with particular emphasis on matching up teaching schedules and times available to complete observations (as provided in the registration form). We also seek to put together panels from diverse departments and disciplines across WashU when possible. Finally, we seek to give priority to those who have not yet had a chance to participate in a triangle.

How are triangles formed?

Triangles will be formed by the CTL with a number of factors in mind. We will do our best to form triangles with faculty from diverse departments and teaching contexts. We will also take into consideration observation availability (as provided in the registration form). Finally, for those who are returning participants, we will work to ensure that you are in a triangle with a new set of colleagues.

How do I apply to participate?

You can apply to participate in a teaching triangle by filling out this form. Please note that applications to take part in a triangle generally close at the end of the first week of the semester, unless otherwise stated.

What must I do to receive my stipend?

At the end of the semester, once you’ve had the chance to watch your colleagues teach, been observed, and had the chance to discuss the experience with each other, you’ll write a self-reflection responding to several prompts from the CTL about your experience. Once this reflection is turned in to the CTL, you’ll be eligible to receive your stipend. Stipends will only be distributed to those who complete the program in its entirety.

Who do I contact if I have further questions or if I need more information?

Please contact Dr. Meg Gregory, Associate Director for Faculty Programs, at meggregory@wustl.edu if you have questions or would like further information about the program.