Focus Session Descriptions

Thursday Focus Session Descriptions (For New International GSIs)

Being an Undergraduate at UC Berkeley

What do undergrads think about? Where do they live? How many hours do they study each week? What challenges do they face and what do they expect from you as their GSI? Come meet a panel of undergraduates who are willing to answer your questions about what it is like being an undergraduate at Berkeley.

Pronunciation for Teaching

Even small changes in your pronunciation can help ensure that you are understood by your students. This session will focus on a few simple strategies for improving your pronunciation in the classroom.

The Language of the Classroom

What vocabulary will you use to begin and end your class? To encourage your students? To respond to their questions? How formal should you be? What tone should you use? Get the answers to these questions and more.

Teaching in an Unfamiliar Institutional and Cultural Context

This workshop focuses on some of the central advantages and challenges of teaching in an unfamiliar cultural and institutional setting. The workshop will introduce strategies for working with cultural differences in the classroom, and lay out some of the key cultural and institutional characteristics of undergraduate learning at UC Berkeley.

Friday Focus Session Descriptions (For All New GSIs - Domestic and International)

GSI Reflections on Teaching

In this session, a panel of GSIs will reflect on their experiences as new GSIs, difficulties they encountered and how they addressed them, and steps they took to improve their teaching.

Undergraduate Perspectives

In this session, a panel of undergraduates will share their experiences in sections taught by GSIs and discuss what they most appreciate in their GSIs and what could be improved.

Faculty Perspectives on Teaching

A panel of faculty members will speak with GSIs about how to get off to a good start in teaching and steps GSIs can take to collaborate effectively with faculty. 

Working Inclusively with Students

Using real-life classroom scenarios, this session will enable participants to have a better understanding of Berkeley's diverse student body and to think in advance about how to create an inclusive learning environment. Campus professionals from the Disabled Students' Program, the Gender Equity Resource Center, the Berkeley International Office, and Counseling and Psychological Services will lead this interactive session.

Oral Presentation Skills

Speaking in front of a group can be an anxiety-laden exercise, even for experienced teachers. In this session, you will be introduced to ways to reduce your anxiety and make your presentations as effective as possible.

Getting Started in bSpace

bSpace is UC Berkeley’s online collaboration and learning environment. This workshop will present the “nuts and bolts” of bSpace, including how to set up a bSpace site and navigate its basic features. For those with very little or no experience with bSpace.

Addressing Plagiarism, Cheating, and Academic Misconduct

This interactive workshop will explore the types of academic misconduct common at Berkeley, approaches to prevent and address them, and tips for engaging students in a conversation when you think a student may have cheated or plagiarized.

Technology and the Classroom

Have you considered using PowerPoint as a teaching tool? How about video clips? Video conferencing? Clickers? Learn about the resources available on campus for integrating technology into your classroom environment.

Building a Teaching Portfolio

The teaching portfolio is a selected representation of your accomplishments as an instructor and is often part of applications for academic positions. This workshop presents teaching practices to establish in your first semester as a GSI that will help you develop your teaching portfolio. This workshop may be of particular interest to GSIs with prior teaching experience.

Facilitating Discussion Sections

Effective discussions sections allow students to engage more actively and deeply with course materials. This workshop discusses a variety of teaching strategies, including group work, to help promote student participation, engagement, and learning.

Facilitating Studio Sections and Performance- Based Classes

This session will address the specific needs of GSIs teaching studio sections in art practice, architecture, performance studies, and music.

Facilitating Laboratory Sections

This session addresses the specific needs of GSIs teaching laboratory courses in the sciences and engineering.

Strategies for Effective and Efficient Grading

Effective grading requires an understanding of how grading may function as a tool for learning, and a willingness to listen to and communicate with students. This session will cover general tips on how to make your grading both more effective and more efficient.