Great discussions and input this week, everyone!
It was interesting to see what names you want your students to call you. I think we concluded that if you don’t have the title Dr. or Professor, you don’t use it. Many of you were uncomfortable with Mr./Ms./Mrs., which leaves only formal first names (“Michael/Elizabeth”) or more familiar nicknames (“Mike/Beth”). Chris A. found a provocative essay, That’s “Doctor Instructor” to You, by Rebecca Schuman (@pankisseskafka on Twitter) in Slate.
The goal of the class this week was first to figure out what you should say and do in the first class to motivate learning, personalize the class for each student, and establish expectations. Working from this list of items (PDF) drawn from the two Wieman papers, here are the Venn diagrams we constructed:
|Tuesday, 11 am||Tuesday, 2 pm||Thursday, 12:30 pm|
|(Images by Peter Newbury CC-BY-NC)|
If you don’t have time to do everything (and you probably don’t), it seems like you should concentrate on these:
A – welcome the students
B – tell them what name you expect to be called
F – an icebreaker activity
H – introduce the teaching assistants
J – use authentic situations and problems
Q- explain why you’re teaching the way you’re teaching (especially if it’s non-traditional)
My biggest pieces of advice:
- Check out the classroom ahead of time and try out all the audiovisual (especially if you’re using your own laptop in class), figure out how to turn the lights on and off, open and close the window blinds, and so on. From the moment you step into the classroom on the first day, you want to show the students you have 100% control of the classroom.
- Constantly be aware of your mindset — your growth mindset — about the students’ abilities to learn your material. Watch for moments when you think to yourself, “why bother, they’re not going to get this.” If teaching the concept doesn’t support your learning outcomes, then sure, don’t teach it. But if you decide to drop something because you feel some students aren’t smart enough or good enough or dedicated enough to learn it, that’s when you need to stop and think objectively about why the material is (or isn’t) suitable for the class.
You can find the two Wieman papers on the Week 10 Homework page.
Here are the slides we used:
Behind the Scenes
I’m really happy with how the class ran, with us working collaboratively on the Venn Diagrams. Last year, we did everything together on the board but this year, I had you work in groups at your tables. I think it was better because more of you had a chance to talk (6 small, simultaneous discussions instead of 1 large discussion.) My job was
- to set up the activity: I had a plan, I made sure everyone had whiteboards and pens, hand-outs, clickers, and so on
- to give clear instructions about what I wanted you to do
- carefully monitor the time, to send you out and call you back together, so we could get through the material I’d chosen. Having that clock (with a second hand) on the wall made this easier. Do all the classrooms have easy-to-see clocks? There’s another thing to check out when you visit your classroom before the first day.
- “chair” the big discussion so that people with something to say had opportunities, within the time constraints. Sometimes you have to cut people off and move on but try to be aware of who you’ve cut off and give them the next opportunity.