Category Archives: Teaching Assistants

Spring 2013 Teaching and Learning Workshops

We’re pleased to offer another series of weekly teaching and learning workshops throughout the Spring 2013 quarter. There are some oldies-but-goodies and also some new topics, including

  • how people learn
  • alternatives to lecture
  • peer instruction with clickers
  • writing learning outcomes
  • assessment
  • your digital identity and personal learning network
  • teaching statements

Workshops are every Tuesday from 11 am until 12 noon in Center Hall 316.

(Image: Teach/Learn by duane.schoon on flickr CC)

ScienceBridge Fellows

On January 24, I had the pleasure of giving a workshop to the UCSD ScienceBridge fellows, a group of Ph.D. students who participate in a program that teaches, trains, coaches them to be better science communicators. They do a lot of work creating lessons and presentations about science that are used in local San Diego high schools. If the ScienceBridge website is down (apparently, it has issues), this collection of videos will give you an idea of what they do.

The Fellows are looking ahead to careers in academia so the program organizers, Johnnie Lyman and Shelley Glenn asked me to run a workshop on writing a killer teaching statement. Amongst the tips and suggestions from places like the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt and the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning at the University of Michigan, there are 2 (well, 3) slides that are my favorites.

The CfT at Vandy has a nice list of what a teaching statement should include. Here’s what you get when you dump that list into wordle:

Wordle: Teacing Statement content from Vanderbilt CfT - keywords only


Clearly, a teaching statement should be about learning. Now, by default, wordle removes all the little words like “the”, “is”, “a”. You can force wordle to include them, though. Here’s the Vandy list with all the words:

Wordle: Teaching Statement content from Vanderbilt CfT - all words

Do you notice the difference? Learning is still important but so are you and your. A teaching statement is about YOU: what YOU believe is important, what YOU will do in the classroom, why the hiring committee should remember YOUR name.

My other favorite slide illustrates how to start writing your teaching statement. Recently, my friend Bridgette Clarkston (@funnyfishes on twitter) wrote a nice post about creating “Way Cool Presentations.” It links to some advice from Garr Reynolds (@presentationzen on twitter) about dividing your picture (or slide) into a 3 x 3 grid and placing important features on the 4 “power points” where the grid lines intersect. The dude on the bench and the text I added are sitting close to those. I like the way it turned out.

Step 1: sit and think about what teaching means to you. (Image: Just a thought by gintoxin78 on flickr CC)

Here are the rest of slides I used and some teaching statement terrific resources:



Wi13 TA Orientation

TA Orientation
Thursday, January 17, 2013
(1:30 – 2:00 pm: Check-in, refreshments)
2:00 – 4:00 pm: Workshop
Center Hall, Room 316 (map)

If you haven’t yet attended at TA Orientation at the Center for Teaching Development and you have a new TA assignment, you should attend this orientation. This 2-hr session will cover the highlights of being a TA at UCSD, from an introduction to how people learn to the roles and responsibilities of TAs to best practices for getting students engaged in science and humanities discussion sections.

(Image by VandyCFT on flickr CC)

This workshop is lead by Spencer Bagley and Sarah Esper. Both are experienced UCSD graduate students, familiar with modern theories of teaching and learning and able to give lots of practical advice “from the trenches.”

Please fill out this form to register for the event. This will tell us how many people to expect (so we have enough goodies) and will help us make the content relevant to the participants.

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