Participant Perspectives from Different Programs

More on what it's like to participate in a TLI Program, from the staff, student, and faculty perspective.

Check out the voices from...

  1. The Faculty Seminar
  2. Student Consultant Partnerships
  3. Faculty-Faculty Experiences
  4. Staff-Student Partnerships
  5. Techno-Pedagogy Experiences
  6. Graduate Students

1. Voices from the Faculty Seminar

"Our forum for discussing pedagogy has been a real asset for me this semester and has forced me think more critically about the classroom and my role in it. Hearing about other members’ experiences also has helped me feel part of a larger group and has given me a wide a range of strategies and ideas." (New Faculty Member, Haverford College)
"The seminar has provided a vehicle for self-reflection and learning on the kind of pedagogy that works for me and my students. However, I feel I’ve gained the most from working with peers who also desire to talk about teaching, and feel their role as teacher is an integral part of their identity. While I didn’t expect this latter part, I’ve been very pleased with the peer-exchange in our group." (New Faculty Member, Bryn Mawr College)
"The seminar has been more than I expected. It has provided me with a valuable opportunity both to reflect on my own experiences and share ideas with my colleagues. Writing weekly memos has been particularly helpful for self-reflection, and so has integrating memos into our discussions." (Fourth-year Faculty Member, Bryn Mawr College)
"The most telling moment for me has been the discovery that although I’d been thinking my pedagogy was discussion-based … and open-ended, in fact I went into most of my classes with an agenda — my agenda — for the entire class, so I was always more in control than I ever let the students be. So this has been an important discovery and has led to crucial adjustments in my pedagogy…. I find my role as facilitator of discussion is far more engaging and effective than my role as opening lecturer, followed by questioner and leader of discussion. I thought I was facilitating discussion effectively in my previous approach to teaching. Now I feel I’m doing it far more honestly and effectively." (Experienced Faculty Member, Haverford College)

2. Voices from Student Consultant Partnerships

Faculty Perspectives
“There is often a disconnect between what I do and what students see. This experience reinforced two things for me: one is that expectations for students have to be made clear and continually reiterated throughout the class; and the other one is to take the student perspective on what I am doing."
"The student successfully identified things that really did need to be improved upon, suggested ways in which they might be improved, and the next time I had a class it was better. Correlation isn’t causation, but it’s evidence. The students take it seriously and they put thought into it and I find it valuable."
"If there were anything happening in the classroom that I might have missed, it would have come out through this experience. I don’t think there is any other mechanism for that. I would always worry. I would always be wondering, “How is this being received by students?” I feel like this was really good, I can be confident that I know how it’s being received by students. I don’t think I could get that confidence by handing out midterm evaluations or having people do them on line."
"I would definitely do it again. I thought it was really great. It wasn’t a big deal. It didn’t take that much time. It took an extra hour and half, and for what I got out of it, unit pricing was quite high. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. A more involved thing would have given me something different, but even the minimal involvement is so worth the small amount of time you need to invest."
Student Perspectives
"Students are gaining respect for their professors because they are doing this. All three faculty members [I worked with] inspired me with their desire to improve as teachers and their ability to step back and 'see' themselves and their practice with the assistance of my notes and the students’ interview notes."
"One of the biggest things I learned is that you can never ever please everyone. Methods that I might dismiss as being baby teaching, like group work, are actually really helpful for some students and I shouldn’t dismiss them. And you know, there are other things that I benefit from that are probably stupid to other people."
“It was so cool to be in a collaborative relationship for the time that I was working with the faculty members. You know, we would talk about the teaching as if we were kind of doing it together almost. It was like, we’re going to work together to make a plan for how to make this class better. It happened with all the faculty members I observed. So I think students often want to be in that role, and sometimes it happens in these magical moments with certain faculty members, but to have a structure that supports and encourages that is really exciting."

3. Voices from Faculty-Faculty Experiences

"[The conversation with my colleague] made sharper for me challenge of balancing providing framework and letting the students talk [in class discussions]. It made much more vivid for me what the difficulties are in achieving that balance." (Faculty member observed by a colleague)
"I realized watching [my colleague] that the students were letting her do all the work [in class discussion]—posing the discussion questions. Then I gave the discussion questions to students [in my class] and had them lead the discussion. It never would have occurred to me if I hadn’t observed [my colleague] working so hard." (Faculty member observed by a colleague)
"As with any human activity you [as the observer] learn as much as the observed faculty member learns from discussing your observations. It is also reassuring to know that we are all in this together, and it makes teaching feel less lonely and lonesome." (Faculty member who observed another faculty member's class)

4. Voices from Staff-Student Partnerships

“As for me, this is truly the first time at Bryn Mawr that I have felt like a part of the community.”

“Although I already took a liking to the program before I started, I think what really made the experience wonderful was working with my staff partner.”

“I think that one of the great things about the TLI is that all participants play a significant role in owning, revising, and advertising the program.”

“TLI as a program is dedicated not only to building relationships between students and staff but also in providing the Bryn Mawr staff with opportunities.”

Empowering Learners Partnership Experiences

“I have written about this in practically every reflection, but it never ceases to amaze me how much this partnership has made me feel like a member of a real, multi-dimensional community... The theme of community building in these partnerships is still very important to me, for I am constantly being reminded of how insular this campus really is. I am now quite thankful that I have been given a way to overcome this kind of isolation and to experience real community life once again, something which most of my peers probably won’t experience until they graduate.” (Shelley Nash, BMC ’07)

“At first we were both a little nervous working together, grasping for something we had in common, but then we realized that what we have in common is the ability to go through life as both a student and a teacher.”

Computing Class Experiences
“I feel very blessed to have been a part of this program. One of my favorite things (and the reason I want to teach) is sharing a learning experience with someone and growing in knowledge and passion together…Being able to navigate the web and feel comfortable with a computer is something I have always taken for granted; I grew up with it, and therefore I have always felt at ease playing around with a PC. Having to take a step back and break down those skills which I never formally learned, but acquired through years was a real challenge. I love what a supportive community of learners we became; many thanks to all those involved with this wonderful project.” (Maeve O’Hara, BMC ’08)
“The position as a mentor in the TLI program has been a hard one but has allowed me to realize and explore myself as a student, teacher, young adult, and as an individual of the Bryn Mawr community.”

5. Voices from Techno-Pedagogy Experiences

“[What emerged in the workshop was] the recognition that emerged in the minds of different groups about what it is that the others do and what they have to offer each other.” (Librarian)

“[O]ne of the things I thought I heard very clearly from both the librarians and from IT people was, ‘We’re teachers, too. And we want to be recognized as teachers, we want our teaching to be understood as teaching.” (Faculty Member)

“[Our goal is] an evolved role on our campuses. . . over time, whether it's through our own actions or by changing other people's perceptions of us, that we could have more sophisticated involvement with teaching and learning issues.” (IT Person)
“As a student. . . I am usually encouraged to give feedback about what’s working [in a class] and what isn’t and to develop ideas about what would work better, not to participate directly in making changes.” (Student)

6. Graduate Student Voices

"One of the main reasons I chose to attend Bryn Mawr for my Ph.D. in Social Work is because of Dean’s Certificate in Pedagogy. All too often, graduate school programs emphasize high quality research but fail to teach students the tools they need to be effective future educators. Bryn Mawr is unique in that it offers rigorous training in both. Being a high-quality teaching professor is important to me, and Bryn Mawr, unlike any other school I looked at, cultivates the skills needed to be a well-rounded academic and scholar."

"I think that the projects required by the Dean's Certificate (the teaching philosophy and portfolio) will help me to feel more prepared when I begin to teach my own courses because I will have had the opportunity to write a syllabus and plan a course, under the guidance of a faculty member."

"This kind of preparation is sadly lacking at many institutions of higher learning."

"I am more aware of what works and what doesn’t work for me as a student."

“I feel more prepared to handle some of the situations that occur as a teacher (e.g., running discussion groups more efficiently, grading materials in a fair manner). I feel that I am not just being 'thrown out there' into the world of teaching, but rather my skills in teaching are being fostered in meaningful and appropriate ways by those who are experts in the area."
“I appreciate having an avenue to discuss and to think about pedagogy, since I anticipate this being an important part of my future career as a scholar. I strongly believe that teaching and learning are intertwined--that one who teaches is also learning at the same time, and that one who learns might also benefit from teaching or presenting the material to others.”