The Teaching Squares program provides an opportunity for instructors to gain new insight into their teaching through a process of reciprocal classroom observation and self-reflection. Four faculty members from different disciplines work together to visit each other’s classes once over the term. Participants commit to visiting one hour of one class for each colleague in the Teaching Square. Groups coordinate which class sessions are the most suitable for classroom observation. Square groups then meet over a complimentary lunch to discuss what they learned about their own practice through the observation process.
The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for faculty members to observe active learning and classroom management in a range of disciplinary settings and class sizes, and become familiar with strategies they may try in their own teaching.
After taking part in the Teaching Squares program, participants will be able to:
- reflect on how the teaching practices of other instructors inform their approaches to teaching
- reflect on effective teaching strategies in different disciplinary contexts
- observe classroom management in diverse class sizes and formats
- identify strategies to refine their own teaching practices.
What to expect
- This program is offered in the fall and winter terms.
- Square groups are typically interdisciplinary and members are matched based on teaching schedules and availabilities.
- The time commitment is approximately five hours including a one-hour organizational meeting, three one-hour peer observations, and a final group meeting over lunch.
- Groups complete observations at their own pace within the term.
Winter 2019 organizational meeting: January 31, 11:30am-12:30pm
Full and part-time instructors
To enroll, please register for the organizational meeting. This is a mandatory meeting for all participants. If you have a teaching conflict that makes it impossible for you to attend the organizational meeting, please send us an e-mail at your earliest convenience and we will arrange an alternative.
- Login to CareerCentral using your Western username and password.
- Go to the Centre for Teaching and Learning section and select Event Calendar.
- Search for and select the event you wish to register in. Details and a description of the program will appear.
- Select the Register for this Event button. If the event has reached capacity, you may have the option to register on the waitlist.
- You will receive an automated confirmation email to your Western email account.
Registration is limited. Since this program requires a certain amount of coordination and planning among group members, the Squares are fixed prior to the organizational meeting and additional participants cannot be added beyond this point. Thus, early registration is imperative.
Twice per year (February, October). Organizational meetings are typically held in early October and early February.
Applies to the following certificates
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Testimonials from Teaching Squares participants
“Our 'teaching square' members had diverse teaching responsibilities this term (i.e., lab courses, graduate student gatherings, small and large undergraduate courses) so it was really interesting to see how students can be engaged within a variety of different teaching formats.”
“I found the reflective aspect of this exercise particularly useful. We are often so quick to identify areas for improvement when observing others, likely due to the fact that, as instructors, we have lots of experience assessing people's work. However, here our focus was on ourselves and how we can incorporate things learned in others' classes into our teaching.”
“The discussion over lunch was great; everyone was very engaged. My impression is that anytime you get people together to talk about teaching, everyone is engaged. Having done all the self-reflection while watching each other teach, we had lots of fresh fuel for the discussion."