Teaching Tips- Planning Your Section in the Sciences


We are just winding down from an excellent Fall Teaching Conference, held last Wednesday and Thursday at Sever Hall.  Among the many helpful sessions offered to new and experienced graduate student Teaching Fellows was a session titled “Planning Your Section in the Sciences.”  Presented by Kelly Miller and Emily Jacobs-Palmer, the session offered practical advice for teachers to implement over the upcoming semesters.  They graciously allowed us to share their tips with our blog audience.  A brief introduction to the class is below, along with a slide deck.

Planning Your Section in the Sciences

Emily Jacobs-Palmer, Departmental Teaching Fellow in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Kelly Miller, PhD Candidate in Applied Physics

In many fields of science and math, content is largely taught through illustrative problems and examples, and of course we encourage our students to work as many problems as possible. But choosing good problems to teach and teaching from them is more an art than a science. How challenging should the problem be? How directly does (or should) it get at the concept be ing addressed?  Will simplifying assumptions help students learn from the example, or just make it unrealistic? How much should the teacher work out for the students, and when should she step aside and let the students struggle with it? And of course, how similar should an in-class example be to what’s asked in the homework? Looking at problems and examples from these perspectives will help you choose which to use for effectiveness as well as for content.

Want to learn more? View the slide deck here.  Thanks, Emily and Kelly!

Photo credit: Emily Jacobs-Palmer

Slide Credit: Kelly Miller

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