Teaching Squares


Teaching Squares Logo

The CETL Teaching Squares Program allows faculty to gain new perspectives and insights into their teaching through a completely non-evaluative process. It works through a process of reciprocal classroom observation and self-reflection.

Each Teaching Square consists of four faculty members, preferably from different disciplines, who work together for a semester. These faculty visit each other’s classes and then meet and discuss, through a guided process, what they’ve learned from the observations.

What is the commitment?

• One Kick-Off event for all participants on your campus for orientation to the program, material distributions, and so on.

• One initial meeting with your Teaching Square to arrange the program for that square.

• Provide a syllabus and other relevant information about your course to your Square Partners.

• Visit one another’s classroom at least once

• Meet again for one or two follow up meetings once all the observations are completed.

You campus CETL Associate will assist with coordinating visits, but each group determines its own schedule, using this as a framework.*

  • February 3:  All Square Kickoff:  Meet with your Square Partners and overview the Teaching Squares Project
  • Week of February 10th:  Square Introductions:  Meet with your square to discuss expectations, plan a preliminary schedule, and confer with your CETL Faculty Associate, and exchange materials.
  • Beginning on February 17th:  Class Visits Visit at least one class of each of your square partners and record what your observe
  • Week of March 17th:  Self-Reflection Reflect on your notes in preparation for the Square Share
  • Week of  March 24th:  Square Share Meet (over a meal?) with your Square to share your reflections
  • April 7th:  – All-Square Round Up  Tentative date for All Square Roundup

* If there is enough interest, we’ll devise a separate 8 week schedule for each 8 week session.

Your CETL Associate will always be available to assist you in any other way.

The Cornerstones of Teaching Squares

Teaching squares look at reciprocity and shared responsibility, appreciation, self-referential reflections and mutual respect as the four cornerstones of a teaching square. These are the attitudes that , when exhibited by all members of a square, result in a safe, supporting and energizing environment for sharing the joys of teaching!

I. Reciprocity and Shared Responsibility

As each member of a teaching square visits another square participant and or is visited, each assumes the dual roles of observer and the observed, teacher and student. They experience the opportunities and risks of inviting others into their classrooms.

Teaching Squares participants jointly assume the tasks of arranging classroom visits and exchanging course information. By fully participating in the organization and administration of the Square, they minimize the effort that must be expended by any single participant, thus maximizing a climate of collegiality. This is a team effort and a team result.

II.  Self-Referential Reflection

The Square Share in an opportunity to report what you have learned from the observation experience. It is NOT an opportunity to improve a Square Partner’s teaching. You keep your observations self-focused to avoid any indication of evaluation or judgment that might lead to defensiveness of suspicion.

III.  Appreciation

The Square Share session is an opportunity to identify and celebrate the behaviors and practices that create a productive environment of learning. Expressing observations in a positive way energizes your Square Partner and helps you and him/her form new goals.

IV.  Mutual Respect

Participants enter their Square Partner’ classroom with an attitude of empathy and respect for both the instructor and the students. It is necessary to recognize that different methods and techniques are required in different disciplines and class room situations.


Registration for Teaching Squares:  http://goo.gl/TtNUK