In my graduate programs, both theoretically aimed at producing professors, it struck me just how little of one's time was devoted to learning how to teach - the thing that a professor would spend most of his work time doing. I was determined to develop my teaching and make it better so I could do my job right. As it turned out, I didn't end up being a professor in the end - but that pedagogical development turned out to be very useful for an educational-technology career. In our office we talk a great deal about instructional design, a term I'd never heard as a graduate student or professor - but once I learned what instructional design was, I realized it was what I already did in my classes, I just hadn't heard the term.
Thanks to the excellent Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard was an easier place than many to get pedagogical development. I regularly had my class sessions captured on video watched them with teaching consultants, who would sometimes come to visit the class as well. I also took the Graduate Writing Fellows workshop, which gave me helpful ideas about interdisciplinary writing across the curriculum.
But the Bok Center's best resource was the magnificent Nancy Houfek, a voice coach for the American Repertory Theatre who applies dramatic-arts techniques to the classroom. Nancy is one of the most charismatic teachers I know, but aims to demonstrate how that charisma can itself be taught. The video below introduces her and the workshops I took from her. Her teaching is something to aspire to.
As a professor I kept using my colleges' teaching resources, like the Crown Faculty Center at Colorado College, and Stonehill's Teaching Squares program for mutual peer faculty instruction. Most of all I benefitted from conversations with Stacy Grooters, who at the time was Stonehill's one-woman teaching centre. The majority of Stonehill students were not like the critical, motivated, engaged students I had had at Harvard and Cornell and CC; they were used to an authoritarian system of rote memorization. I had no idea how to teach students from that background, and somewhere near the end of the first semester, I had a near breakdown trying to do so. Stacy was clearly used to faculty in my situation and did a great job of talking me through it. In many respects I wound up learning more about teaching well at Stonehill than I did anywhere else, and I owe much of that to Stacy's help.
Stacy introduced me to the POD Network, the association for pedagogical development, and I regularly follow developments on its listserv. As far as I'm concerned, my work at BU is all about pedagogical development - now for others rather than for myself. The important part of my job is to help professors teach more effectively. Technology is only there to serve that goal.