What Are Our Students Actually Learning? Gauging Effectiveness in Teaching Negotiation

By — on / Pedagogy at PON, Teaching Negotiation

gauging effectiveness teaching negotiation

Ways of Gauging Effectiveness in Teaching Negotiation

Most instructors aspire to do more than simply teach students about negotiation. They want to teach students how to negotiate more effectively. That’s an ambitious goal, given the complexity of the process. Negotiation success requires keen analysis and deft social skills, along with a mix of confidence and humility. How should negotiation instructors go about gauging effectiveness in teaching negotiation? PON faculty Michael Wheeler and Lawrence Susskind, with Lara SanPietro, sought to answer that question through interviewing six negotiation instructors about how they assess the effectiveness of their teaching in various degree programs.

Check out the video below from the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) of Professors Wheeler and Susskind discussing their findings on gauging effectiveness in teaching negotiation with PON:

The interviewees shared their experiences teaching negotiation, how they measure learning success, and how they asses their effectiveness as negotiation instructors. They teach in graduate schools of business, government, law, and urban planning. Two of them also teach undergraduates. The interviews touched on curriculum design, course management, classroom pedagogy, monitoring/coaching individual students, as well as mentoring (and being mentored).

Embedded in much of what the interviewees discussed, is that instructors must be learners just as much as teachers. It is important to learn from colleagues who they observe who observe them. Instructors can learn from assistants with whom they work, and from students as well.

From these interviews, Professors Wheeler and Susskind compiled general strategies for improvement:

  1. Ask a colleague to watch you teach and give you feedback and suggestions in light of your stated teaching goals.
  2. Take time out to note mid-course corrections you intend to make (and why) and commit to measuring your progress by the end of the course, using whatever metrics make the most sense.
  3. Lay out specific experiments to build into subsequent versions of whatever courses you teach so you can compare results (in light of specific changes) from semester to semester.
  4. Collect open-ended, anonymous feedback forms or requests for suggestions after every class session.
  5. Ask teaching assistants to query students after important class activities to get their summary reactions to your teaching intentions and efforts.
  6. Bring in guest instructors who have very different views to share in the teaching of certain concepts or exercises in your classes. Juxtaposing variations will give students a better basis for giving you feedback on how effective you were.

Professor Wheeler and Professor Susskind have developed numerous negotiation teaching materials for the TNRC. Check out teaching materials by Michael Wheeler and teaching materials by Lawrence Susskind in the TNRC online store.

TNRC: A go-to resource for more than 25 years

In addition to offering more than 200 negotiation role-play simulations, the TNRC offers a wide range of effective teaching materials, including:

TNRC materials are designed for educational purposes. They are used in college classroom settings or corporate training settings; used by mediators and facilitators seeking to introduce their clients to a process or issue; and used by individuals who want to enhance their negotiation skills and knowledge.

Role-play simulations introduce participants to new negotiation and dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. Our videos, books, case studies, and periodicals are also a helpful way of introducing viewers to key concepts while addressing the theory and practice of negotiation and conflict management.

Check out all that the TNRC has in store >> 

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
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