At each of the faculty workshops I visited, or sent video to, for the Fall 2018 rotation for Belhaven University, I challenged the faculty to become a “4 Square Instructor.” When this idea first came my way from an article by Neil Haave, titled “Teaching Squares Bring Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives” I thought there might be something there which could be used to help overcome the chronic problem every teacher faces: becoming trapped in their own pedagogical ruts. After discussing this with the Deans at Belhaven’s Regional Campuses in our Summit in August, we decided on a model that provides an interesting option for improving or refreshing their practice of teaching. The 4 Square Instructor model below is the result.
Instructors who have been through the approval process for Belhaven can become 4 Square Instructors by:
- Visit 3 other classes outside your normal course assignments or discipline for a couple of hours to find new teaching ideas (this is not for critique, but to find new ways to make the subject material come alive).
- Implement at least one new idea into a class you are teaching.
- Write up summary, at least 2 pages, including which classes you visited, what you learned, what you tried and how it worked. Don’t be afraid to describe failures as they can be an excellent source of learning.
- Present at an upcoming faculty workshop as called upon by the Dean at that Regional site.
- Receive a 4 Square Instructor Polo shirt for that year
- Repeat every year.
Not everyone will do this, or even be able to, but I see the possibility of some interesting cross-pollination of ideas which will definitely benefit our students. Note, there may be some variation from one site to another so check with your Dean for specifics.
Give it some thought. If you want suggestions on which classes to visit, contact the Dean at your campus.