Matthew Callahan


Tools for teaching workshop series: reflections from the facilitator

For me, the primary strength of this workshop series is that it provided participants with a forum for them to both learn new strategies and share their experiences. Talking about one’s own teaching can be challenging.  It can feel evaluative, and bring up insecurities.  I am happy that in this workshop series, this was not the case. During each session, there was a climate of respect, of careful listening, and a shared assumption of confidentiality. Faculty took risks. Participants shared their struggles in the classroom, sought feedback on assignments and grading techniques, and described instances where they were unsure if they reacted appropriately. This led our conversations to deepen.

When I began preparing this workshop series, I wanted to give them as much solid material as possible. However, because I spent several days researching and preparing for each session, I ended up including so much content that I had less time for the case studies and discussions that followed. In short, I over-estimated the amount of content to present. In future offerings of the series, I would scale the content back, and build in far more time for faculty to apply the material and share ideas with each other.