Open Door is back!

Part of the University’s strategic plan to support and promote excellence in learning and teaching, Open Door is a University-wide event designed to enable all staff to observe, connect and learn from their teaching colleagues.

It’s about to kick off for its fifth straight semester, during weeks 8 and 10.

  • More than 50 classes open
  • Camperdown/Darlington, Cumberland, Surry Hills and Westmead campuses
  • Access a range of disciplines, class types and teaching techniques

For teachers who open their classrooms, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate their pedagogical approach, especially their ability to engage students in the learning experience. For the observers who visit a classroom, it’s the chance to reflect on and challenge their own teaching style, by experiencing new and different approaches.

This time we’ll be facilitating connections between observers and teachers so that the learning can continue informally over a post-event conversation.

The consistently strong levels of participation (more than 270 classrooms have been opened, and almost 1,000 classroom visits made, since the program was launched two years ago) is evidence of our staff’s continuing commitment to share best practice and explore new ways to teach and engage their students.

In the spirit of continuous learning, this year’s Open Door experience will include an extra element to strengthen the connection between participants beyond the event. Many observers at past events have signaled they’d like the opportunity to engage with the teacher at some point after the classroom observation, to talk through what they saw and learnt, and explore how they might integrate what they saw into their own teaching. It’s also good for the teachers to hear directly from the observers, because it reinforces the positive impact of their teaching. So this time, for those who are interested, we’ll be facilitating that connection – so that the learning can continue informally over a post-event conversation.

Feedback from past events tell us that Open Door is making a real difference to the way that some of us teach, with comments such as: “I liked the way the lecturer shared a bit about himself with his students, to help build rapport. I’m going to try and add a bit more of me and my experience into my teaching, to increase student engagement.”

Many have been inspired to apply what they’ve observed to improve the student experience in myriad ways: from thinking about content – including more culturally diverse examples in their lectures, reducing the amount of content – to improving their AV use, or improving the class atmosphere by starting with a two-minute mindfulness exercise.

This post was republished with permission from Staff News.

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