New program uses students’ feedback to improve teaching skills

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    By ANDREW JACKSON

    BYU professors ask for students’ help in a unique program at BYU.

    Students Consulting on Teaching is a program in which student consultants respond to professors’ invitations to gather data and give them feedback on classroom activities.

    Lynn Sorenson, the assistant director of the Faculty Center, said SCOT has advantages for both the students and the faculty:

    Because the student consultants are not working for a grade, an objective perspective is provided.

    Students offer a helpful perspective by being familiar with the wide range of college teaching styles used by professors on campus.

    Instructors may prefer to get feedback from a student rather than another faculty member.

    Lisa Draper, the SCOT student coordinator, said the program’s success is due in large part to the student’s involvement.

    “The strength of the program is that we are students; we sit in classrooms all day, we know what works for us and what doesn’t,” said Draper, 23, from Carmel, Ind., majoring in English teaching.

    Draper also said that most of the instructors who use the program are already excellent teachers.

    “That’s why they’re excellent teachers. It’s because they are always improving their teaching. I would say the professors who most need us would never use the program,” she said.

    Draper said they send out letters to several BYU colleges each semester to influence professors to use the program.

    She said the program also sends letters to professors who may benefit from the feedback.

    Draper also encourages students to approach professors in a non-confrontational way about SCOT.

    SCOT is currently working with 30 professors, and has helped 254 professors since the program began in 1993, she said.

    Those interested in obtaining more information may go to 4450 WSC or call the Faculty Center at 378-7419.

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