At my institution incoming graduate students must take a semester long course on pedagogy taught by current grad students. I may soon be in the position of having to teach this course and I'm looking for advice for readings to give the students. The problem is that our grad students don't teach till after they pass their quals, so effectively the pedagogy course is teaching people how to teach when they are more focused on their qual courses and know that they won't have to teach for at least a year. Consequently, most students view it as a complete waste of time and gain little from it. When I took this course I really tried to get something out of it and some of the lessons stuck with me. Still, at that time we mostly had readings taken out of guides for high school teachers and I'd rather have more applicable readings.
Here's what I've got so far:
- A small booklet the university produces with rules, resources for getting help when you teach, online resources the university uses, and honor code
- Old syllabi we can discuss
- All students will go observe other grad students teaching and write a report which we can discuss.
- Discuss some teaching mechanics, e.g. blackboard use, dealing with student questions, etc. Good resource seems to be the AMS blog and a document from Williams
- All students will need to prepare one lecture and deliver it. We can then give them feedback. As recommended by Gerhard, I think I'll try to video tape this and give them the tapes. Below are some further readings...
- Some notes by V.I. Arnold, some by John Baez, and some (recommended below) by Bruce Reznick. I'm starting to think a good exercise would be to assign these as readings and ask the students to find 3 things in a given reading which they disagree with. We can then discuss.
- Silly, but how to curve grades
- Perhaps some discussions of issues of pedagogy, e.g. why teach calculus the way we do, and pros/cons of giving handouts
- Discuss evaluations, teaching statements, and teaching letters with an eye towards applying for jobs
- Discuss giving talks in general
Does anyone have any other ideas for topics worth discussing or readings worth giving? I'm particularly interested in books on this subject which I could draw readings from.
Also (and this is probably too general), since these students will have at least a year before they actually teach, I'm keeping my eyes open for lessons that will stick with them and come in handy when they finally get in front of a class. If you have any nuggets that fit the bill, I'd be interested to hear them (all mine right now come from John Baez's notes or the notes from Williams)