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Teaching Observation Report for Michelle Boyer Kelly .pdf


Original filename: Teaching Observation Report for Michelle Boyer-Kelly.pdf
Author: Mascha Gemein

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Teaching Observation Report for Michelle Boyer-Kelly
May 2nd, 2016
Dear Michelle,
Thank you for inviting me to observe your teaching in AIS160 Many Nations of Native
America three times this semester. This little summary encompasses the observation of
one large class lecture and two sessions of a discussion section with 20 students, all of
which were 50min in length.
All your lessons are clearly structured and organized, as outlined in your detailed lesson
plans. When formulating your goals or objectives, keep in mind that these should not serve
as agenda points or action items, but instead identify measurable outcomes of the class
sessions. You start your lessons on time and engage the students right away when their
attention is still high. The sequence within your teaching sessions is logical, the transitions
are clear, and the pace appears appropriate. The discussion sessions are effectively
chunked and include ample active learning opportunities. You typically save
announcements and other housekeeping items for the very end of the class.
Your disciplinary expertise is impressive, and you appear confident and professional in the
classroom. At the same time, you always keep your own elaborations at a level appropriate
to the students’ knowledge and conceptual grasp. Whenever specific concepts or terms are
mentioned that might require explanation or a reminder, you pause and make sure that all
students are on the same page.
When speaking, you combine good articulation, intonation, and volume with a persuasive
stage presence and steady eye contact with your audience. At times, it may be good to slow
down just a little bit, but generally you speak at a good speed. You explain ideas and
concept with clarity, define unfamiliar terms, highlight key ideas on the course level, and
provide effective examples. You also use irony and sarcasm; it might be good to point that
out to the students in the beginning because many did not know you well at that point and
were not used to this type of speech.
Your teaching materials are appropriate and structured clearly. When used, your
PowerPoint slides are accessible, pleasant, and effectively support your presentation. With
the PowerPoint, integrated film clips, and images projected with a document camera, you
added multimodal components.
Your rapport and interaction with the students appears excellent. You know your students
by name, approach them with respect, and are able to keep their attention with few
exceptions. In the discussion section, you encourage exchange and inquiry, elicit the
students’ ideas about the topic, and ensure conceptual understanding. When responding to
student comments, you might consider more follow-up questions to those who try to limit
their contributions to a couple of key words or phrases. At the same time, you might

commend contributions that include elaboration and reasoning as models for the desired
quality of oral contributions.
Your teaching style in discussion sections strongly emphasizes collaborative learning, and
your directions for group activities are clear and easy to follow. The majority of students
willingly participate in group tasks and classroom discussions. In one session, you asked
each student to take notes on the main points of that week’s reading assignment. Then, the
students self-organized into small groups and discussed their findings. In the next phase,
you had the groups report to you and generated a list of main points for the entire class to
see and discuss. As the final task, the groups were asked to write possible exam questions.
When the process was completed for the first reading, you had the students repeat an
abbreviated and more self-guided version of this sequence within the same group
formation, and the students performed very well.
Your teaching strategies aim not only at cognitive, but also affective learning components.
In one session, an exam review entailed the review of questions and solutions, but also a
conversation about the exam experience and the opportunity for students to discuss the
format and difficulty level of the exam. Another session featured an experiential learning
activity: Rather than engaging the students in a more abstract discussion about Indigenous
mapping, you guided them through mapping their own places and areas of relevance and to
think about what they felt comfortable sharing with others and what place-based
knowledge they would prefer to keep to themselves. Thus, they could experience on a very
personalized level what kinds of thinking and decision-making mapping projects require.
Overall, your teaching reflects a clearly learner-centered approach and you show
dedication to creating an active and collaborative learning environment for your students.
It was my pleasure to observe your sessions and to support your reflection of effective
teaching strategies.
Sincerely,

Mascha N. Gemein, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice
Graduate Coordinator, Certificate in College Teaching Program
Office of Instruction and Assessment (OIA), The University of Arizona
ILC 103B / (+1)520.626.3682 / mngemein@email.arizona.edu


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