Debrief and Reflect On Your Experience, and Try, Try Again

Sustainable teaching for the long term requires some regular reflection and experimentation with your teaching methods. After a challenging conversation, try the following:

  • Consider asking for feedback, as noted in the Effective Facilitation section above. The Critical Incident Questionnaire is a feedback strategy that is well-suited to debriefing challenging conversations.
  • Create a reflective teaching document, journal, or “shadow syllabus” (Germano and Nicholls 2020) where you take brief notes about successes, challenges, and ideas for changes after each class. This can be an especially useful practice to support future you in teaching challenging conversations.
  • Debrief with your teaching community, sharing both successes and challenges. Consider sharing your experiences with a broader audience if appropriate.
  • Recall that no one who teaches well does it perfectly, and perfection and guarantees of safety are not reasonable expectations for instructors. 
  • Grow your teaching skills by seeking resources and professional development around course design, class session design, and facilitation. You might also ask to observe a skilled colleague’s class, visit a teaching and learning presentation at a national conference, or identify scholarship on teaching and learning in your field. 
  • CEI offers many programs, workshops, and resources to support the development of your teaching skills, and we foster cross-disciplinary conversation about a variety of teaching topics. We also offer consultations in which we draw from our own knowledge of evidence-based teaching and experiences in the classroom. We encourage you to reach out!