Faculty attending lecture

Practical Teaching Guides

Instructional Technology and Design Services has compiled a set of instructional guides that apply to a variety of teaching scenarios faculty may encounter. These practical approaches incorporate research based pedagogical strategies for engaging students and achieving course specific learning goals.

Teaching Freshmen Classes

You might have heard this from students in your freshmen class: “Professor, will this be on the test?” Some students who just entered college think that study is all about memorization, which is something they are used to in high school. Transitioning from high school to college can be challenging. Below are some strategies and tools to make the transition smoother for 1st year students:

Communicate

Communication: First year students might not have a clear idea of how a college class functions and what it takes to be successful. Instructors should explain what they expect from students and their learning in the very first class. Examples, descriptions and feedback should be provided for greater student understanding. Furthermore, it’s also a good idea for instructors to know what students expect to learn from the course. A simple survey using Google Forms can gather information from students regarding their expectations.

Explain

Explain the course assessments: Provide a detailed description of the types of assessment you will use. Use a variety of assessment techniques, including summative and formative options. Reduce the need for memorization by incorporating opportunities for deeper learning, more complex problem solving, and adaptive learning. Some options might include, an ePortfolio (Google Sites), polling tools like Kahoot, or active learning techniques.

Teach

Teach learning strategies: After being clear about the expectations of learning, students may still not know how to meet them. Help students understand how to learn both in and out of classroom, including how to preview the content before class, how to take notes effectively during lectures, how to participate in classroom discussions, and how to prepare for the exams. Tools like Thinglink can assist you in enhancing images and videos with additional information in order to teach learning strategies.

Plagiarism

Educate them about plagiarism: Do not suppose that the freshmen students already know how to prevent plagiarism. Spend time educating them on proper citation and your institution’s policies on academic integrity. Montclair State uses Turnitin for assessing plagiarism in specific courses and can be implemented from within Canvas.

Feedback

Provide feedback and support frequently. A student who waits for weeks to know how they are doing in the course might have a difficult time catching up later. Piazza is a Q&A tool that allows for collaboration and providing feedback and support.

Resources


Teaching First-Year Students, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching:

Nathan, R. (2006). My freshman year: what a professor learned by becoming a student. NY, N.Y. Penguin Books.

Upcraft, M., Gardner, J., & Barefoot, B. (2005). Challenging and supporting the first-year student: A handbook for improving the first year of college (1st ed., The jossey-bass higher and adult education series). San Francisco, Jossey-Bass

Erickson, B., Peters, C., & Strommer, D. (2006). Teaching first-year college students (Rev. and expanded ed., Jossey-bass higher and adult education series). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Teaching Large Lecture Classes

Teaching a large class can be challenging. Taking attendance, engaging a large number of students, providing constructive feedback, and assessing student learning outcomes are all examples of the challenges teaching a large class can present. The resources in this section provide best practices, recommendations and solutions to promote engaging learning experiences in large classes.

Professor lecturing

Strategies and tools include:

  • Polling tools for assessing prior knowledge
    Kahoot (gamified polling software)
  • Backward design of lectures, Lecture Pause
  • Think-Pair-Share, or One-minute papers
  • Flip the classroom using video and multimedia
  • Journey map or outline of lecture

Strategies for teaching Large classes ( Yale University):
Examples of successful strategies for engaging large classes:

  • Using a peer-led team learning approach which invites back students who have successfully completed the course to return to work with students currently enrolled in the course.
  • Instead of providing a Powerpoint presentation, a history instructor provided a skeletal version of the PowerPoint to let students fill in the details by attending lecture.
  • Flip class by prioritizing cooperative problem solving during class time.

Effective learning in large classes:
(NC State University College of Engineering, Dr. Richard Felder, 2016.)

  • In-class exercises: Pose a problem or ask the students individually or in groups to
  • Draw and label a flow chart
  • Sketch a plot of what the problem solution should look like
  • Give several reasons why the solution might be useful
  • Find one or two ways to check a solution

 

Teaching LARGE Classes 
(University of Texas at Austin Faculty Innovation Center, 2019)

  • Using the “bookend approach” (Smith, 2000), the class opens with a question or task to help you understand how students already know about the materials. The next part is a series of activities between lecture and student work (individually or in groups). The last part is a summary or guided reflection of the class.
  • Break your lecture into chunks by using different activities such as problem solving tasks, or role-play.
  • Organize your syllabus to be a map of the course. Create the communicate course policies.
  • Use detailed rubrics for all grading. (Use student peer review anonymously)

Going Deeper: Formal Small-Group Learning in Large Classes
Karl A. Smith, NEW DIRECTIONS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING, no. 81, Spring 2000.
(This article highlights the strategies for implementing group work in large classes)

  • Informal strategies with extensions
  • In-class project work
  • Jigsaw strategies
  • Structured academic controversy
  • Base groups
  • Problem-based learning
  • Restructured lecture-recitation-laboratory
  • Eliminated lecture, substitution of hands-on laboratory
Teaching Seminar Classes

Seminar classes, often seen in upper-level undergraduate and most graduate courses, tend to be smaller than the traditional undergraduate lecture class. Smaller classes are easier to incorporate various learning techniques, such as small group discussions, and they offer greater instructor to student interaction than larger classes. Some strategies for engaging students in a smaller seminar course include assessing prior knowledge through the use of polling tools (Kahoot, Poll Everywhere), incorporating a Minute Paper activity, a Reflection and Sharing exercise, or Role-playing and Debate.

What follows are examples of techniques implemented in smaller classes:

Active Learning Techniques in Small Seminar Classes, Randy Riddle, Duke University, 2016.

Best Practices:

  • Offer challenging assignments and activities, but ground them with explicit instructions and appropriate background
  • Pose constant questions for the students to explore and engage with the material
  • Create time where students can think and work individually and in pairs or small groups with their colleagues
  • Pause in class and make time for students to reflect on the class activities
  • Encourage risk-taking but offer clear and immediate feedback

Ideas for Activities in Small Seminar Classes:

Background Knowledge Probe
Before students begin a lesson, a survey containing a series of short questions submitted electronically or through a simple show of hands in class can help you adapt your teaching to address students’ needs.  You can find out about possible misconceptions about the subject, gaps in knowledge that might need to be addressed to prepare for the reading or assignment, or get ideas for discussion topics. After discussions and in-class activities, follow-up questions can guide you on further resources that might be needed by the students, lingering questions about the readings or assignments, and the overall reaction of the students to the assignment and in-class activities.

Minute Paper
Encourage students to reflect on a topic by writing a couple of paragraphs at the end of class. You can collect the papers and offer points for completing the assignment, using the reflections as a starting point for discussion and activities in the next class session.

Think-Pair-Share
Probably the most common active learning technique, Think-Pair-Share is a three-step process. First, give students a question or problem to consider – give them a few minutes individually think and jot down notes. Then, divide the students into pairs to discuss their answers with each other. Finally, call on random pairs or all the pairs in turn for discussion. With well designed questions, short case studies, or examples, debate and analysis can emerge as students try to convince each other on the merits of their point of view.

Focused Listing
In a focused listing activity, students respond to a prompt by discussing and writing suggestions on a whiteboard or common piece of paper.  It can be used to introduce a topic or synthesize information before other activities. In addition, you can return to the list with the students to gauge their thinking before and after class discussions and activities.

 

Small Seminar Classes,
From The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Central Florida, 2018.

  • If lecturing, provide advance notes available to download that include significant blanks, so students have to listen intently and mentally engage the material
  • Pose constant questions to the room rather than provide answers (note: you may find that only the same group of students are willing to speak up). The use of charts, diagrams, and photographs in your slide presentation may serve to prompt such questions, but the instructor should try to remember not to immediately launch into an explanation
  • Create time for students to work individually on problems projected on the screen
  • Ask students to draw a picture on scratch paper of your concept, using no words but still demonstrating comprehension
  • Pause occasionally, leaving only silence in the room, for students to reflect on critical topics
  • Use “one minute papers” to ask content questions, which can be collected and used as a micro-quiz (graded or otherwise) to gauge whether students really are understanding the material. Variations include asking them to list which topic was understood the least, to see if the entire class shared the same lack of comprehension.

Active Learning in the First Year Writing Classroom,
Adapted from The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, Dartmouth University, 2015.

Teaching STEM (STEAM) Classes

STEM education refers to teaching students science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in real-world lessons that allow students to make connections between school, work, and the global economy. In many instances, STEM is replaced by STEAM to include the visual and performing arts in order to present a comprehensive and well rounded educational experience. Due to the nature of the methods arts instruction employs and the strategic outcomes met as a result, STEAM covers a wider range of learner-based instruction. Typically STEAM classes engage in Experiential Learning, where students are involved in simulations, demonstrations, field observation, or experiments.

Montclair State University offers a great deal of learning experiences based in STEAM. One such example is the MIX Lab part of the Entrepreneurship Program in the Feliciano School of Business. The MIX Lab is a state of the art Maker Space, with innovative 3D Printing design and technologies. Students can design, fabricate, test and then produce small scale products in order to advance their digital design skills for the evolving market.

The Dayton Regional STEM Center in Dayton, Ohio has designed a framework for a high quality STEM experience. Some of their components include:

  • Design to engage ALL students regardless of ethnicity, academic achievement, native language, socio-economic status, abilities or prior knowledge.
  • Intentional and aligned with academic standards and practices
  • Designed to engage students in following the engineering design process to solve a problem
  • Connected to non-STEM disciplines incorporating reading, writing and communication
  • Collaborative and student driven, yet requires individual accountability within a group setting
  • Designed to include a performance assessment component, allowing student to demonstrate the skills and content they have learned
  • Designed to require student to select and effectively use multiple technology tools to solve the problems
  • Designed to simulate a real-world environment and make connections to STEM careers

Here are more STEM Teaching Resources:


STEM Lab Examples:

A STEM lab can support core curriculum by incorporating science tools. Here are some guidelines on how to design an effective STEM lab:

Creating Meaningful Assessments

Assessment is a vital component of student learning. It encompasses a variety of methods used to collect, synthesize, and interpret information to aid in educational decision-making (Airasian, 2000). Assessments may be evaluative in nature (e. g., course grades), or instructional (adjusting instruction to improve student learning). Effective teaching utilizes meaningful and valid assessments aligned with learning objectives. The online environment in particular offers several advantages and challenges when implementing assessments. Visit our Assessments page for more detailed information.

Formative-Assessment

Conducted before or during the course in order to improve or adjust the course material, formative assessment provides students with feedback (immediate, if possible) so that they can adjust their own learning performance. Formative assessment methods may include both informal (non-graded performance) and formal methods (graded performance such as quizzes and other assignments). In addition, formative assessment is most effective when faculty actively reflect on the results of these assessments. They should be conducted in the context of “a number of students have this misconception; in what ways can I improve my lesson going forward to correct this AND revise my approach in anticipation of future courses to avoid this?” Some examples of formative assessment are:

  • A brief paper where students provide an overview of the lesson for the instructor’s feedback and/or peer feedback. Students then reconstruct their papers based on this feedback.
  • Paraphrasing for a particular audience (for example, “explain the concept of relativity to your grandmother”).
  • Generate an essay question based on integrating the materials from multiple chapters.
  • Fill in locations on a map.

Summative-Assessment

These methods occur at the end of a unit of instruction, a term, or a course. Summative assessment determines the extent to which a student has demonstrated the learning outcomes for the purpose of making some kind of judgment or decision. It utilizes formal assessment methods, tests, quizzes, papers, and projects. Summative assessment falls into two categories – objective and performance:

Objective Assessments
Typically thought of as paper/pencil tests, objective assessments utilize items (multiple-choice, true/false, matching, short answer items) that have only one correct answer. These are effective and efficient in measuring knowledge and comprehension levels of cognitive outcomes, but rarely assess high levels of cognitive outcomes. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning is useful for setting outcomes.

When creating, developing, and grading an automated quiz or test, consider the following:

  • Review learner outcomes and item banks from your adopted text.
  • Follow guidelines for objective items.
  • Create item pools around key concepts—avoid trivial recall.
  • Determine feedback: score only, correct answer only, or correct answer with suggestions for remediation.

Performance Assessments
Performance assessments require students to complete a performance task that is then evaluated using predefined criteria. Performance assessments are able to measure higher levels of cognitive outcomes, such as application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Performance assessments may include essays, term papers, group work, products, projects, presentations, exhibitions, demonstrations, and portfolios. Depending on the type of task, performance assessments may encourage student creativity, active learning, cooperation among students, and the utilization of a variety of resources.

Engaging Learners Using Multimedia

Multimedia has been defined as “a form of media which is incorporated with numerous components of different media, such as sounds, animation, text, graphics, and video. “ (Mayer, 2001). Multimedia applications use a combination of elements to deliver the content. Research suggests that students will participate in the learning process more actively when instructors integrate multimedia into their course material. In addition, each student has a different learning style. For example, some students like to read the text, others may prefer visual formats such as graphics or charts, while some are more engaged by video presentations. In any case, multimedia components can be tailored to students’ preferences.

Some of the benefits of using multimedia in your class may include scaffolded learning, improved problem solving, and access to a variety of information.

Some best practices for using multimedia in your course:

  • Chunk the content into small pieces (normally less than 6-minutes long) when you create or select video to deliver your material. This makes your video lectures more memorable and emphasizes the key components. Long videos often lead to cognitive overload.
  • When you add images to your learning material, choose copyright free options and ones that are relevant to the content. Creative Commons is a comprehensive site for a wide range of media.
  • When designing a multimedia project, consider your learning objectives. In other words, don’t assign a multimedia project without aligning them with learning objectives.
  • Provide tutorials on how to use the multimedia tools. Don’t assume that your students know how to use these tools. Don’t let a technical barrier impact student learning. You should provide an opportunity for students to learn the tools in your assignment.
  • It is recommended to use rubric for your assignments. Share the rubric with your students ahead of time so they understand the expectations of your assignment.
  • Include a discussion for students to reflect on their projects. The discussion will help students to think critically throughout the process and it allows them to share the different learning perspectives of working on the projects with their peers.

Instructional Technology and Design Services (ITDS) supports faculty with the integration of video and multimedia into University courses. The ITDS Team can assist in the creation of high-quality video in our
 professional studio and editing facilities.

recording in front of green screen

The University has also adopted Panopto as a tool for creating engaging and accessible video. Panopto is an all-in-one video platform. It not only provides desktop lecture recording and automatic captioning services, but also offers pedagogical features to add learning interactions within a video. It is seamlessly integrated with the Canvas learning management system, and Montclair State’s solution of choice for recording lectures. For more detailed information please visit our Multimedia Services page.

Resources and References

Optimize Your Learning Space

There are strategies for optimizing the learning space that can be applied to any class size. Some work better in small classes, but many can be implemented in large classes as well, including large lecture classes. Movable furniture – chairs and tables with wheels – are a great way to modify the classroom to better accommodate a variety of learning strategies. White boards are also a great low tech option. These strategies offer maximized student engagement and can facilitate collaboration and communication in the classroom.


Below are a number of examples of how learning spaces can be optimized depending on your needs. You can also review more strategies with particular attention to Active Learning, in our Active Learning Spaces section.

  • Prioritize physical changes over technology upgrades
    Institutions with established active learning classrooms found that lower-resource changes typically lead to an outsized impact. Relatively simple physical modifications—such as whiteboards, swivel chairs, or tables with wheels—can have a greater impact on learning outcomes than expensive technology. Monitors and screen-sharing technologies, on the other hand, are expensive to install and maintain and will quickly become outdated, which requires an additional cost to replace. Adapted from: How Active Learning Spaces Support an Evolving Pedagogy, Ann Forman Lippens, Education Advisory Board (EAB), 2016.
  • Learning Environment Design
    A wide range of factors are at play in relation to learning space design, including: learning theory, changing student demographics, technology and more recently, employability skills. Collectively, they underscore the complexity and importance of designing spaces that support both teaching and learning. Adapted from: Monitoring Implementation of Active Learning Classrooms at Lethbridge College, Andy Benoit, Lethbridge College, 2014-2015.

Examples of Room designs at Lethbridge College:


Figure 1. Round room. “Monitoring Implementation of Active Learning Classroom at Lethbridge College” by Benoit, A, 2017, Journal of Learning Spaces, 6(1), 14-25.

 

Figure 2. Node room. “Monitoring Implementation of Active Learning Classroom at Lethbridge College” by Benoit, A, 2017, Journal of Learning Spaces, 6(1), 14-25.

 

Figure 3. Nursing lab. “Monitoring Implementation of Active Learning Classroom at Lethbridge College” by Benoit, A, 2017, Journal of Learning Spaces, 6(1), 14-25.

 

Figure 4. AN2739. “Monitoring Implementation of Active Learning Classroom at Lethbridge College” by Benoit, A, 2017, Journal of Learning Spaces, 6(1), 14-25.

Flip Your Classroom

A flipped classroom means that students get their first exposure to coursework outside the classroom, often by reading or via online videos. Once in class, the instructor guides students to get a deeper understanding of the course material through classroom activities like discussion, group work, a Jigsaw exercise, and others. One of the key benefits of a flipped classroom is the use of class time for direct interaction with the instructor and the material.

Some things to consider when flipping a class:

  1. Before you start, get everyone on board
    If you are considering transiting your traditional classroom to a flipped classroom, make sure you communicate this idea with your students and your academic department before the implementation. It’s important to explain that the goal of flipping the classroom is to gain more time in class for engaging activities and make the classroom more learner-centered. You will also need to decide which part (or parts) of the class you want to flip. In some cases, recorded lectures and readings are set online, while active learning elements are used in the classroom. Discussions are great strategies to use as crossover between the face to face and online environments.
  2. Provide the first exposure before class
    A varieties of materials can be used to provide students with an initial exposure to course material. Articles, voice-over PPTs, a screencast, or other multimedia can go a long way to introducing students to you and the course. Panopto is a new tool for creating engaging and accessible video. Be sure to keep the learning goals and objectives of your course in mind, as this will help you select the most appropriate learning materials.
  3. Provide incentives to students for their pre-class efforts
    To make sure that the classroom activities go on smoothly and effectively, a task associated with student preparation should also be provided. Grades can be assigned as an incentive to complete the assigned task. It can be a minute paper, a discussion, a reading quiz, or a web-based quiz game. Quizizz and Kahoot are gamified formative assessment tools that can be used in class to assess prior knowledge.
  4. Classroom activities should focus on higher order thinking
    Since a flipped class allows students to gain basic knowledge outside the classroom, in class time can be used to promote higher order thinking (for example, how to use and apply the new knowledge). Again, the activities should be aligned with the learning goals and objectives.

Teaching as a GA or TA

Teaching Assistants at Montclair State University have one or more of the following responsibilities in courses for which they do not have primary responsibility: coordinate, lead, or assist in the instructional process; meet with students during office hours; grade papers; proctor/grade exams; and counsel students.

Most of the guides on this page include strategies that apply to Graduate or Teaching Assistants and we recommend you review as many of them as possible. Below are some general teaching guidelines:

Preparing

Preparing to Teach:

  • If this is your first time teaching, you may feel nervous. That is understandable and normal. To get started, refer to resources like this one, and do not be afraid to ask for help from fellow TA’s and experienced teachers. With experience, guidance, and reflection, you are likely to continuously get better.  
  • Begin with confirming the expectations of your teaching role. Are you supporting a course head or are you leading a class? Are you part of a team? If so, how will the team work together? What is your role with grading? Who can you ask for support?
  • Design or get familiar with the course you are teaching and ensure that the course materials (i.e., syllabus, requirements, assignment descriptions) are clear and easy to understand.
  • Think ahead about how you will introduce yourself to the class, and how you will get to know your students. Small ice breakers can help build rapport, and this will help you and your students work well together throughout the course.
  • The first day sets the tone for a semester and therefore it is the optimal time to communicate expectations and create a productive classroom climate. Plan the first day carefully. The The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard has a useful guide for the first day of class.

Learning

Facilitating Learning:

  • Plan each lesson with a clear learning purpose in mind. Align class content and learning activities with this purpose. Create and share on the board (and in your LMS) a brief agenda with the class so they can know what to expect.
  • Managing your time is a skill that will improve with experience. As you’re learning, here are some strategies for dealing with running out of time or finishing a lesson too quickly. End the class meeting on time and let the students know you will address additional topics first thing in the next lesson. Class ended too quickly? Direct students to turn to a partner and share one or two things they are still confused about in the course. Use this extra time to address some of those questions.
  • Build rapport by introducing yourself and allowing students to introduce themselves to you and each other. If the group is large, they can introduce themselves to classmates sitting next to them and write a quick self introduction using paper or online survey tools.
  • Build in opportunities for students to learn with and from each other (e.g., think pair shares, working on assignments during class, peer teaching and peer review).
  • Manage discussions using various discussion leading strategies (e.g., ask open-ended questions, change up the group format from discussion pairs to small groups to whole class). Columbia’s Center for teaching and Learning offers some great ideas for discussion strategies.
  • Whenever possible, allow students to apply what they’ve learned using active learning strategies (e.g., minute-paper, solving a problem, answering real time polls, etc.)

Labs/STEM

Facilitating Labs and STEM Learning:

In addition to the strategies for facilitating learning, some techniques are more specific to STEM environments:

  • Labs
    • Ensure safety by presenting your lab’s standard operating and safety procedures and then quizzing students on the spot. After the first few meetings, assign a student to review these protocols and add anything missed.
    • Make sure you’re very familiar with the lab policies on grading, attendance, make-up labs, and late work. Direct students to this information in the syllabus and refer to it throughout the semester if issues arise.
    • Make sure you’re also familiar with the lab equipment of the classroom and take some time to do any experiments yourself before leading the class.
    • Encourage interaction. Assign tables of students to work out a problem together. Let students work in pairs. Have pairs or groups use the board to share their solution with the whole group.
    • Check student understanding by floating around and asking questions that go beyond a basic ability to follow the lab assignment directions. “What happened here?” “Why?”
    • Ask students to explain in their own words what they learned from a lab assignment.
  • Problem sets
    • Model how you would approach solving a problem by talking out loud as you read and comprehend the problem description. Be openly explicit about any assumptions and your understanding of what the problem is asking. Have students practice and demonstrate this with a partner, or to the whole group.
    • When reviewing problem sets completed for homework, ask the class to vote on which problems deserve more time for explanation rather than going through each one in order. This gets at problem areas quickly rather than potentially wasting time on questions that posed no issues for students.
    • Have students do problem questions in small groups during class using the boards. This way, each group can see, compare, and discuss how different groups worked out their solutions. Acknowledge that implicit bias exists and may be affecting how you grade or interact with students (this happens to the best of us). Use strategies to prevent issues with bias by being mindful about who you call on in class (and how often) or blind grading (hiding student names so you don’t know whose assignment you’re grading).
    • Acknowledge that implicit bias exists and may be affecting how you grade or interact with students (this happens to the best of us). Use strategies to prevent issues with bias by being mindful about who you call on in class (and how often) or blind grading (hiding student names so you don’t know whose assignment you’re grading). See more below for grading and feedback.

Office-Hours

Holding Office Hours:

  • Even though office hours could help, some students avoid them because they may be intimidated, not sure of what to expect, or unclear of the purpose. Encourage students to use office hours; make clear the times and location and explain how they work and how students can benefit.
  • Open your office hour meetings with a minute or two of chit chat to make things comfortable. “How is your term going?” “How was your weekend?”, etc.
  • Then get down to business by asking students what brought them. Some students will know and get to the point. Others may need guidance. If so, ask them general questions such as how the course is going, or how they are approaching the course work.
  • As much as possible, lead students to their own answers rather than providing them. For example, if a student is stuck on a problem, ask them questions to guide their problem solving rather than showing them how you would solve the problem.
  • Based on their needs, brainstorm action items. For students who seem overwhelmed, help them break things down into smaller, manageable chunks and direct their focus on what they have control over.
  • Be open if you don’t have all the answers. This gives you an opportunity to problem-solve together and model how to work through course material. Alternatively, you could explain that you will get back to them after you have a chance to look into things.

Grading/Feedback

Grading and Feedback:

  • If assignment descriptions and grading criteria are clear from the beginning, this can mitigate questions and concerns. Refer to your syllabus for assignment guidelines, grading policies, and rubrics to maintain clarity, consistency, and objectivity.
  • Let students know the extent of your ability to deal with grades, if necessary. You may be the go between between the student and the faculty lead.
  • When providing written or oral feedback, acknowledge things students have done well. Brainstorm or provide constructive suggestions for what they could improve (and how) moving forward.
  • Consider how technology can facilitate the grading process. Using Canvas rubrics, scanning paper-based assessments, and making notes directly on assignments in pdf format, can help you stay organized and be more efficient.

Developing-Skills

Developing Teaching Skills:

  • Ask for feedback from students, other TAs and your lead faculty.
    • From students: Do an anonymous early semester survey with two simple questions: What is working? What could be improved and how?
    • From other TAs: Ask a peer to visit your class and share observations. Visit the peer’s class to observe and compare notes.
    • From lead faculty: If possible, schedule periodic meetings to discuss progress and bounce ideas around. If faculty are available, having them visit your class to observe, even for 10 or 15 minutes, could be beneficial.
  • Speak to faculty or TAs who excel at teaching and where possible, observe them and learn from their experience
  • Practice patience with yourself and your students. Teaching can be challenging, especially if you are new to the practice.
  • Consider critical reflective practice and documenting your teaching as you go. This can come in handy, not only for your own professional development, but also for any future job searches that require evidence of effective teaching and teaching philosophy statements.

Be inspired! We know things are busy, but the world of teaching and learning in higher ed can be a very exciting place! Here are a couple of excellent teaching resources to review: The Teaching in Higher Ed podcast with Bonnie Stachowiak, Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher by Stephen Brookfield, and writings by James Lang (blogs or books).

Resources and References