Critical Teaching Behaviors Book Club

Defining, Documenting, and Discussing Good Teaching

Register For The Series

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What does “good teaching” mean, and what does it look like?

Perhaps you have grappled with this question, either as an educator seeking to improve your own teaching practice or as a colleague asked to assess the teaching of others. This book club is for you!

Critical-Behaviors-Ven-DiagramJoin us to explore an evidence-based guide to effective teaching and learning! In this book club we will examine teaching effectiveness through the lens of the CTB framework of high-level behaviors that can be adopted and adapted to individual instructor and disciplinary context. More practically, it relies on evidence that can be observed by peers, leans on student feedback, and one’s own reflective narrative of teaching effectiveness. Discover equitable and inclusive strategies, participate in productive conversations centered around teaching and learning, and access a toolkit of resources to apply from day one.

The book offers a holistic method of documenting and assessing teaching effectiveness by including a variety of evidence and perspectives to both develop teaching skills and demonstrate achievements in promoting student learning. Each session is framed around the questions, “What do we know,” “What do we do,”, and What do we show?” and will focus on:

  • Identifying behaviors of good teaching
  • Reflecting upon the teaching behaviors already in practice
  • Implementing research-based, effective teaching behaviors across each of the six CTB categories
  • Documenting teaching behaviors
  • Conducting and/or reflect on peer observation
  • Collecting and/or reflect on midterm feedback
  • Using a core value statement to purposefully select and frame evidence of effectiveness in a coherent teaching narrative

Click here to sign up for the entire series and receive a free copy of the book (while supplies last)!

Location: Babbidge library, room 1102
Time: 12-1:15pm

Can’t make the entire series? You can also sign up for individual chapters!

Friday, February 2, 2024 – Align components of learning experiences to defined outcomes

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Instructors who align components of learning experiences start with clearly defined learning outcomes. Teaching and learning activities, assessment tasks, and feedback build on each other to support student progress towards these outcomes.

In this session, we will discuss:

  • Aligning course outcomes to program
  • Defining actionable, learner centered outcomes
  • Aligning content, assessments and activities with outcomes
  • Stating course module, lesson, and/or assignment at each stage of learning
  • Emphasizing connections
  • Presenting content and activities at multiple levels of engagement and challenge

Friday, February 9, 2024 – Include for student diversity by utilizing accessibility standards

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Instructors who create an inclusive learning plan for student diversity by utilizing accessibility standards when designing and delivering content. They cultivate an atmosphere in which students experience a sense of belonging conducive to emotional well-being for learning.

In this session, we will discuss:

  • Fostering classroom community
  • Normalizing struggles
  • Implementing trauma-informed educational practices

Join us to learn observable behaviors and strategies to identify concrete areas of strengths and need for improvement in course delivery and design.

Friday, February 16, 2024 – Engage students purposely to encourage active participation in the learning process

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Instructors who engage students purposefully select research-based techniques to ensure that students actively participate in the learning process and take responsibility for their intellectual development.

In this session, we will discuss:

  • Communicating regularly, openly and transparently
  • Designing course activities to intentionally promote student-instructor, student-content, and student-student engagement
  • Using varied instructional methods to engage all students
  • Fostering self-regulated learning
  • Relating course content to relevant examples and applications
  • Incorporating current research and promoting student participation in disciplinary research

Friday, February 23, 2024 – Assess through meaningful and transparent techniques and feedback

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Instructors who integrate assessment into their teaching develop and facilitate transparent, meaningful assessment tasks to provide students with timely feedback on their learning and measure achievement of learning outcomes. They regularly review data to improve instruction.

In this session, we will discuss:

  • Aligning assessments with goals and activities
  • Scheduling regular summative assessments to measure progress toward outcomes
  • Embedding formative assessments and opportunities for self-assessment
  • Communicating purpose, task, and criteria for assessments
  • Providing timely, constructive, and actionable feedback to students
  • Reviewing assessment data to make informed decisions

Friday, March 1, 2024 – Integrate Technology using tools to provide access to high quality instructional materials

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Instructors who integrate technology responsibly use tools to provide access to high quality instructional materials and accessible, engaging learning opportunities beyond traditional barriers of place and time.

In this session, we will discuss:

  • Selecting limited and relevant technologies
  • Leveraging technology to increase access
  • Using technology effectively and efficiently
  • Considering pedagogical needs relevant to instructional modality
  • Ensuring materials and tools meet legal requirements

Friday, March 29, 2024 – Reflect/Identify Core Values to explore opportunities for growth

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Instructors who reflect regularly gather feedback on their teaching from self-assessment, students, and peers to identify opportunities for growth. They pursue improvements to their instruction through professional development and research activities.

In this session, we will discuss:

  • Assessing personal growth
  • Inviting feedback
  • Planning for personal growth
  • Defining what motivates your approach to teaching
  • Formulating your foundation of good teaching

Learn how to incorporate the CTB framework as the foundation for a common language to showcase, discuss, and evaluate good teaching.

Friday, April 5, 2024 – Peer Observation adapted to your needs

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Peer observation supports ongoing professional development, encourages collaboration, and fosters a culture of continuous improvement, all of which contribute to a positive and effective learning environment.

In this session, we will explore the following questions:

  • What can Peer Observation accomplish?
  • How does the CTB observation protocol promote effective peer observation?
  • How can you adapt the CTB observation protocol to your needs?

Friday, April 12, 2024 – Midterm Student Feedback using GIFT

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Student feedback is invaluable for its role in improving teaching and learning, promoting positive relationships, and ensuring that educational practices align with the needs and expectations of students. By regularly gathering and analyzing feedback, faculty can make informed decisions to enhance teaching methods and course design.

In this session, we will explore the following questions:

  • What is GIFT and what are the benefits?
  • What are the instructor benefits of the CTB GIFT protocol?
  • What is the CTB process for conducting GIFTs?
  • How can we adapt the CTB GIFT to meet your needs?

Friday, April 19, 2024 – Creating a Narrative of Teaching Effectiveness

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Teaching narratives encourage faculty to adapt and innovate in response to changes in education, technology, and student needs. It highlights a commitment to staying current with best practices and seeking new ways to engage and challenge students.

In this session, we will explore the following questions:

  • Why do we document teaching effectiveness?
  • How do we document teaching effectiveness?
  • How can the CTB framework help you document teaching effectiveness?

This book club is made possible by the HHMI Inclusive Excellence award. To learn more visit