As we have emphasized above, the focus of Teaching Squares is on self-reflection rather than critique or advice-giving. This perspective is most important to remember in the final meeting of the group when you come together to share what you’ve learned throughout the process.
Participants in other Teaching Square programs have found that by keeping their discussions focused on self-reflection, they avoid evoking feelings of defensiveness and instead cultivate safe, respectful, and mutually-supportive environments that energize everyone involved.
Of course, each group can decide for itself what kind of conversation will be most useful to them. Whatever you choose, however, we would still encourage you to resist the academic tendency to “leave no criticism behind.”
The following are some suggestions of questions you might consider discussing with your square partners or reflecting on privately before you meet for the final wrap-up meeting:
- What have you learned about your teaching philosophy from your classroom observations (it could be something new or something that has been affirmed)? What personal values do you bring to your teaching?
- How has the experience of again being in the “learner” role impacted your teaching?
- What have you learned is one of your teaching strengths?
- What aspect of your teaching do you wish to improve? How are you going to do this?
- What surprised you during this experience? What assumptions about teaching were challenged by what you observed?
- What is one thing you learned that will make your teaching more effective?
- What is one thing you learned that you are going to apply next semester in your classroom?