At the end of the semester, I recommend scheduling time to reflect and perform a self-assessment of your teaching throughout the fall. If you incorporated any in-class assessments into your practice this fall, now is the perfect time to sit down with all the data you collected and look for patterns. Even if you didn’t get a chance to do any formal assessment, think about your high points in the classroom and the challenges you encountered. Ask yourself some questions.
Can you trace any identified patterns to something specific you did or didn’t do as part of your practice this semester? How do you think your particular successes and failures affected student learning? Most importantly, try to think of a concrete change you can implement next semester to try and address the challenges you faced this fall.
Don’t dwell on what went poorly, but use what you learn through your self-assessment to set goals for the next semester. You may want to take a moment to write down your reflections and goals to make them feel more concrete. Revisit them at the end of the semester, and see if you made any progress.
An example from my fall:
At the beginning of the semester, I tried to incorporate a simple “End of Class Questions” form into my instruction sessions by including a link in the Course Guide and setting aside time at the end of class for students to answer the questions. While I didn’t do a good job of prioritizing this exercise as I became busier, the few results I did get line up with my own reflections. While overall satisfied, students in one class suggested having the class search for something specific to make the session more interesting. I agree! In that particular class, students hadn’t yet been given their assignment when they met with me. Reflecting on my semester as a whole, I realized that several of my challenges (students who didn’t know their assignments or why they were at the library, poorly timed instruction sessions, etc.) could be traced back to a lack of strong, clear communication with the faculty members or TAs I was planning with.
In the future, I will build more time into my planning process to ensure that instruction sessions are scheduled at the point of need. Neglecting to do so likely results in lesser student learning through a failure to tie research concepts to immediate student interests (such as getting a good grade on an upcoming assignment). Next semester I will also try to focus on fewer learning outcomes so that I have time for quick assessments during sessions.
What did you learn through self-assessment?