Reimagining Remote Teaching Volume 23
The previous ReImagining Remote Teaching article, Volume 22, discussed how we work at a Teaching College and how it is our responsibility to become the best teachers we can be for our students. We need to step outside of our comfort zone and push to improve our classroom performance by engaging in an authentic professional development program which encourages and elevates your teaching.
Professional development requires five steps to explore who we are in the classroom. First, we need to identify a topic we want to explore. Second, we research our topic and learn more about it. Third, we use our research to formulate a plan to modify / change our teaching. Fourth, we implement our plan and collect data. Finally, we evaluate the data we collect and reflect upon what we have learned about our teaching.
One of the most effective ways to engage with this level of professionalism is by working with a few of your peers in a Faculty Learning Community (FLC). An FLC is group of 6 – 12 faculty who participate in a year-long, structured program to provide encouragement, support, and reflect upon their research topics.
Typically, FLC’s center around a theme. Themes can focus on a common question, work to overcome a common challenge in the classroom, or explore a new interest or passion. Sometimes, FLC’s are homogeneous in nature, say the Math faculty works together to explore and improve a specific course, or the Nursing faculty to improve their program. Other times, FLC’s are heterogeneously grouped to allow for others to provide different perspectives, share knowledge, and celebrate our achievements across the college.
Participating in FLC’s is also rewarding. It allows us to stop feeling isolated, it helps boost our collegiality and commitment to each other, inspires creativity, and improves teaching across the entire college. In the end, working in FLC’s inspires us to be better, do better, and work together to elevate our classrooms and improve student success.
Even more exciting, FLC’s are common staples within Higher Education for Professional Development and individual faculty growth opportunities in the classroom. Roughly 75% of all teaching colleges across the country encourage faculty to engage in an FLC each year. With this in mind, I have provided a listing of topics explored in FLC’s at other Teaching Colleges across the country during the past two years.
- Book Discussions: A War for the Soul of America: A History of Culture Wars
- Fostering Inclusive Classrooms
- World Changers Shaped Here? Rebranding Leadership
- Higher Education in America: From National Policy to the Individual Classroom
- Innovative Assessment Techniques
- Teaching and Learning in entry level courses
- Teaching with Technology
- Intrinsic Motivation and Play for Learning
- Rethinking the Writing Assignment FLC
- Writing across the curriculum
- Service learning
- Collaborative learning environments
- Flipped Classroom
- Blended and hybrid learning
- Technology enhanced learning
- Leadership development and exploration
Faculty who chooses to engage in an FLC must be committed to the group for true learning to take place. There are set expectations for all participants.
- Come prepared and attend at least 8 monthly meetings during the year. Meetings are typically 2 hours in length and will take place on a recurring basis.
- Engage with and complete the research / discussion topics to help you consider a topic for your own development.
- Create and present your project at an FLC meeting for feedback and revision. Upon completion, implement your project into your classroom and collect data and student examples.
- Share results with your FLC for feedback. Then, reflect upon your results and feedback by completing a 1 – 2-page article.
- Attend the end of the year FLC Celebration and share your article with your peers.
The question which lingers is this: What do you want to explore in 2021 – 2022? How do you plan to elevate your teaching to be even greater than you already are? How are you going to make sure your students are learning at such a high level that they will flourish in their future careers?
Simply put: Are you willing to step outside of your comfort zone and grow?
Your students hope so. Their success is also your responsibility.
Costino, K. A. (2018). Equity-Minded Faculty Development: An Intersectional Identity- Conscious Community of Practice Model for Faculty Learning. Metropolitan Universities, 29(1), 117–136.
Gomillion, D., Becker, A., George, J., & Scialdone, M. (2020). Learning How to Teach: The Case for Faculty Learning Communities. Information Systems Education Journal, 18(4), 74– 79.
Natkin, L. W., & Hill, L. M. (2020). Faculty Integration of Sustainability Learning Outcomes into Curriculum: A Case Study of a Faculty Learning Community and Teaching Practices. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 161, 123–138.