Yesterday I got to take some of my classroom activities out of the classroom. OK, technically we were still in a classroom, just not with any students, but only colleagues.
On the occasion of our regular Faculty Forum, I ran a quick ABC exercise, using the time-honoured system of post-it notes.
As I’ve discussed before, this is a very fast and effective way of finding out what people think about how things are going. The anonymity promotes candidness, while an open structure means that more radical ideas get a look-in. At the same time, using a post-it gets everyone to be focused in their thought(s).
Until now I’ve only used it as a means of running diagnostic checks in class. Either at mid-term or towards the end, the system has consistently generated some good ideas for both immediate use and for the next time around, not least because it tends to bring up things that would otherwise get missed.
Yesterday was a rather different proposition, since I asked colleagues about the Faculty, which is on-going and which has many more different elements to it than a teaching module.
However, once again, the experience has been very instructive. The range of ideas is impressive and a number of over-arching themes are apparent, even at this early stage of analysis.
The important step now will be continuing this process. I’m writing up the notes, to circulate to people, and I hope that we can use them as a way of building more interaction between colleagues (which, not entirely coincidentally, is one of the things people wanted to see more of).
All in all, it’s been a useful reminder that pedagogy isn’t only for students, but has something to offer everyone in a university. That doesn’t mean everyone’s ideas can be realised – Faculty kitten, anyone? – but it does mean we have another space for those discussions to take place.