Teaching universities, while claiming to value good teaching, do little to help individual faculty members improve learning in their classrooms. One effective way to help teachers reflect on their teaching and improve their teaching skills is to have a colleague observe and discuss the teaching episode, yet these dialogues seem to be rare. Visits to the classroom, if they occur at all, are usually summative, with little or no discussion, and typically used for the purposes of evaluation. The formative dialogues program, however, provides opportunities for faculty members to request a collegial, nonthreatening observation and discussion of a teaching session. The program is easy to administer and promises to provide opportunities to enhance the learning environment of the health professional classroom.
Gail Rice is a Professor at Loma Linda University.