Teaching Circle Goals

  • Set A Goal for the Group, Then Decide How You Will Meet It

    Accountability to peers is an important part of a Teaching Circle, as is support. If you agree to take on a task that is necessary for the group to succeed—perhaps finding literature to read or gathering materials—and aren’t sure you can do it alone, ask for help. But don’t forget—both social and professional support are important aspects of successful Teaching Circles.

    Cross-Disciplinary Teaching Circle Example: After initial discussion, group members decide that they will compile an annotated bibliography of research on classroom discussion, they will split up the reading and report back to each other, and they will experiment with restructuring class discussion based on their reading and discussion. They will solicit feedback from their students as well.

    Department Teaching Circle Example: After discussing some possible reasons why students are not passing the course, the group of instructors decides to administer a type of classroom assessment instrument known as a background knowledge probe to students in all the sections to see if they are unprepared or under-prepared for the course. Then students will take a standardized exam in the course as a final exam. Instructors will use this information as part of a larger body of data they will gather.

    No one should feel like s/he is “on the fringes” of the circle. Given the time we have available to us, you are making a significant commitment. You should feel comfortable in your group and ensure that everybody's contribution is welcome and appreciated.