How do we know when our teaching is working? Evaluating our teaching goes past the usual course/class evaluations that students or participants of workshop sessions are asked to complete. It also goes past peer-evaluations of teaching that are typically required on some sort of ongoing basis within higher education. Both of these forms of teaching evaluations are useful, but they do not provide especially useful or specific feedback past a certain level of teaching competency.
What I have found more useful in my own teaching is the teaching self-evaluation/teaching portfolio. These tend to be focused reflective essay sorts of affairs, with the inclusion of sample student work or other artifacts as examples. There are also specific course portfolios that typically include the following:
- A reflective discussion of the content and goals of your course
- A description of your plans to accomplish key objectives in student learning
- Evidence, assessment, and evaluation of student achievement of these goals
- A reflective narrative on the relation among the above three elements. (Source: Kathleen McKinney. Enhancing Learning Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The Challenges and Joys of Juggling. Bolton, Massachusetts: Anker Publishing Company, Inc., 2007.)
Here is an example of my own teaching portfolio:
And here is an example of a way more fun and creative teaching portfolio in the form of a lyric essay: