Center for Teaching and Learning
Advice from Student to Faculty:
- Be patient with the students. Sometimes it can be difficult to navigate through the program. Be sure to hold the student accountable for the student meetings, observations, and feedback meetings.
- Keep in mind the bidirectional nature of the program. Students should not be the only ones giving feedback. Faculty should be encouraged to give more feedback to the students as well.
- Be specific about your goals. The student partner will probably be looking up to you as an authority, at least in the beginning. Continue to communicate openly with your student partner. This will help them feel more open with you in return.
- Be open to changing how you teach, and approaching the program with an open mind and with a willingness to listen to the experience and observations of the student partner, so that you can together develop better ways to teach the class.
- Be open to students’ opinions.
- If you’re not sure what you’d like to work on, be open to going into the partnership just focusing on the observation because as it progresses, things will come up that you realize are good to focus on.
- Be open and receptive. Do not feel as though your role is being hijacked, but see this program as an opportunity to learn and row. Education is a process not only for the students, but also for the professor. The partnership program is one of the avenues that includes the learning process so embrace it.
- Enter this program with an open mind and willingness to learn. I think that realizing that the student partner is not there to try to criticize their every word or take over their class is important for them to understand.
- Be willing to try new things and talk about things you may not have thought to talk about, such as why a professor does something in a particular way.
- Be open and honest about the issues or problems that they see happening in their classes. You cannot troubleshoot an issue if you think there isn’t one.
- Don’t just do the program to do it but really try to get something out of it.
- Keep an open mind and really consider the student’s perspective. Assure the student that their observations and assessment matter a great deal.
- Leave your ego at the door. Most of the issues I heard from other student partners all came because their professor wasn’t willing to listen to the student.
- A faculty member should make an active effort to engage with their student partner and give something valuable in return, as the student really is doing a massive favor for the faculty partner. Viewing the student faculty partnership as half feedback, half mentorship could really work well.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. This experience is meant to help us grow and I thin k it could be easy to be discouraged if immediate results are not seen.
- It takes patience and willingness to put yourself in new positions. Stay open-minded with this proves. You never know what ideas could work unless you try.
- Get to know your student partner outside the realm of the program. Communication is one of the most important parts of this program and getting to know someone a little better on a human level makes that so much easier.
Advice from Faculty to Faculty:
- At first, some feedback can feel untrue or unfair. It’s good to force yourself to pause and listen. You will learn things, and you’ll have a chance to speak to what your [student partner] is saying. Try not to be formulating a response in your mind. Just listen. Really listen.
- I think it would have been helpful to understand that this was not something I was to control but rather receive. I started this role in this program thinking I had to achieve certain goals and accomplishments. If I had understood that earlier, I think I could have received even more “golden nuggets”.
- Consultations work equally well for classes you’ve taught many, many times or for classes that are new preps.
- Relax. Learn. Act.
- Take the bond between the [student partner] and [faculty partner] seriously – nurture it so that you feel good about being open and being tough with one another
- It is okay for the focus to be on helping the student clarify his or her career goals. In other words, faculty partners should talk to the student and learn about his or her goals which may be to assess a particular course.
- Listen – sometimes what you hear might sound absurd, and maybe it even is… but more often than not there is a core of wisdom to start a thinking process in it and it would be sad to miss that! If you disagree with your student partner’s suggestions, be prepared to have a good reason for the disagreement – this was most valuable to me since it forced me to be ready to defend about any aspect of my teaching!
- Have really clear goals set at the start for what you want to achieve and how you think your partner can help you – the more of a framework they have to work with the better feedback you’ll get.
- Be receptive. Your student partner has important things to tell you. Just listen. Really listen. Try to suspend your disbelief and learn from them. If your first response is defensive, have a metacognitive moment and recognize that. Pledge to quiet that defensive voice and keep on listening.