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CETLI staff from a range of disciplines are available to consult with Penn graduate students or postdocs. They are happy to talk about a range of teaching issues from current questions about how a class is going to questions about developing a future class or preparing materials for the job market.

CETLI consultations are conversations that consider your goals and your questions.  These non-evaluative consultations may address any number of topics, including but not limited to:

  • preparing a class
  • leading discussions or problem-solving recitations
  • setting standards for and grading student work
  • writing a teaching philosophy or statement for the job market
  • preparing materials for a teaching portfolio

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Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows may request an observation from either a CETLI graduate fellow (through the CETLI observation form) or a CETLI staff member. In either case, observees should know that CETLI observations are strictly confidential and non-evaluative. They are intended to be part of a conversation about teaching that encourages reflection and allows observees to set their own goals and direction for teaching improvement.

Requests for observations should be placed as early as possible, and a minimum of three business days in advance, so that CETLI will be able to arrange for an observer, and to allow the instructor and observer to have a pre-observation conversation. We will try to accommodate all requests, as we recognize that many guest lecturing opportunities come up on short notice.

Observations at CETLI are a process of three meetings:

1. Pre-observation meeting

At this meeting, usually held within a week before the class, the observee has a chance to describe the class and explain the goals of the class to the observer.

2. Observation

The observer will attend the observee's class and take notes on both the content of class and how the observee teaches. These sessions are often recorded so that both observer and observe have some sense of what happened in the class. (Graduate students wishing to earn the CETLI teaching certificate must be recorded.)

3. Post-observation meeting

This meeting, which should be held within two weeks of the class, will allow observer and observee to talk together about what worked in the class session and what did not. The focus of this conversation should be feedback and reflection.

Observation Request Form