Faculty Focus on Teaching: A collaborative venture to develop pedagogic insights, ambitions, and techniques

Awardee: Joe Blatt (HGSE)

Summary: Awardee plans to create an online, video-based process for analyzing and sharing effective teaching strategies among faculty colleagues.

“Video gives us a ‘shared text’ that enables us to talk together very concretely about teaching goals—and so to learn from one another.” —Joe Blatt

Authentic portraiture, a look inside the classroom

Harvard faculty have a wealth of teaching insight and experience to share with one another, but sharing takes time and can set up vulnerabilities to criticism, and showcasing “great teachers” can actually increase barriers to adoption. The Harvard Graduate School of Education used grant funding to expand its “Faculty Focus on Teaching” project by offering authentic video portraits of instructors inside their sometimes imperfect classrooms and carefully creating forums for discussion about these portraits.

Though curated and produced with the buy-in of featured faculty, the videos are intentionally unpolished and candid, rather than scripted and edited. This has lowered barriers, and promoted dialogue and an uptake in shared practices.

Based on the grant work, the team will continue to produce video portraits and has created a guidebook for others interested in launching similar efforts.