Instructional Practices

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What is meant by Instructional Practices?

The following video Effective Teaching Framework - Dimension 3: Instructional Practices provides a brief description of this dimension of the effective teaching framework.

 

How can I reflect on my teaching with respect to this dimension?

Below are some questions to consider with respect to your Instructional Practices:

Facilitation of Course Delivery
  • How do your teaching practices, planning, facilitation of classroom interactions and learning activities promote students’ learning?
  • How well are the knowledge and skills that students are expected to obtain or develop conveyed?
  • Are you versed in a variety of teaching methods and how do you use these methods in the classroom or learning situation?
  • How much enthusiasm for, passion for, and confidence in teaching do you communicate?
Student-centered Instruction and Learning Activities
  • How are students encouraged to act autonomously, taking initiative and responsibility for their own learning?
  • What student-student interactions do you promote and for what purpose?
  • How do you inspire or encourage students to seek challenging learning tasks and pursue them successfully?
Feedback, Mentorship and Supervision Practices
  • How sustained and timely is the feedback you give during and outside of instruction?
  • What are your mentorship and supervision practices of graduate and undergraduate students? How do you know these are successful?
  • How constructive are your interactions with students? How accessible and approachable are you to and for students?
Approaches to Facilitating a Productive and Supportive Climate for Learning
  • How committed are you to building and sustaining proactive and effective collaborative relationships with and between students?
  • What intentional strategies have you used to create a respectful, equitable, diverse, and inclusive learning environment?
  • What structure do you provide (in the form of expectations, processes, and feedback) for students to engage, take risks in learning, and grow intellectually and personally?
  • How do you recognize students' individuality as well as their unique academic skills, problems, and contributions as learners?

Below are some strategies that you might use to collect evidence to reflect on your teaching with respect to this dimension:

Evidence from Self

Some evidence you could collect on your own to help reflect upon your Instructional Practices includes documentation of:

  • Personal responses to those questions asked above.
  • Reflections about insights into your experiences as a learner about what does or does not work, transferred to your own teaching practices. 
  • Journal of observations, insights and reflections about how well your instructional practices were received.
  • Insights obtained from literature, professional development, informal learning, or attending conferences about how well your instructional practices foster your students’ learning.
Evidence from Peers

Some evidence you could collect from your peers to help reflect upon your Instructional Practices include:

  • Documented peer-review, including critical conversations, focused on your instructional practice. 
    • You may want a colleague to complete the Course Design Rubric about your virtual instructional practices (Section B).
  • Documenting discussions about the extent to which your instructional practices have the qualities that you intended.
  • Nominations for teaching awards including departmental, faculty, and University of Alberta awards, and external awards.
  • Solicited or unsolicited communications from teaching assistants, course supervisors, colleagues, and chairpersons.
Evidence from Students

Some evidence you could collect from your students to help reflect upon your Instructional Practices includes:

  • Solicited feedback from those students you mentor in either a formal or informal capacity about their experiences of your feedback, supervision, and mentorship.
  • Student course evaluations (summary of numerical results, selected comments or emerging themes), solicited mid-course or mid-term feedback. 
  • Quantitative or qualitative measures that help observe how well your students understood and deeply engaged with your instruction and learning activities. For example, you may choose to collect:  
    • An analysis of students engagement with your online learning environment.
    • Any classroom noticings that indicate engagement with your instruction and learning activities.
    • An analysis of how a newly introduced learning activity impacted students’ achievement of a learning outcome or completion of an assignment. 
  • Recent solicited or unsolicited letters from students and teaching assistants.

 

How can CTL help

CTL’s mandate is to support teaching and the professional development of instructors and to support the improvement of teaching at the University of Alberta. To this end, CTL provides formative feedback on teaching observations, consultations about the types of relevant evidence of effective teaching, and information about wise reflective practices.

Any feedback from the CTL is confidential and will only be shared or discussed with the instructor.

CTL supports teaching reflection for formative but not evaluative purposes. Should you require feedback for evaluative purposes you will need to contact your department head or an administrator.

 

What do I do with this evidence?

Of course, you can use this evidence and reflections to make changes to your course, and we suggest that you do. We also encourage you to share these changes with your students and peers and explain why these changes were made.

Should you wish to document this evidence (and your reflections) we encourage you to consider developing a teaching dossier and other forms of engagement further explained in our What to Do After Reflecting on Your Teaching page.