Best Practices for Pedagogy Courses for First-Time GSIs
The following course activities were suggested by faculty members who have taught the pedagogy course multiple times.
GSIs do classroom observations or have their own teaching observed or recorded for review.
“In-class videotaping of teaching examples and peer critique. Not only was it practical, it was individualized.”
“Weekly videotaped presentations (10 minutes and 5 minutes of peer and instructor critiquing).”
“The GSIs observe two colleagues and write a report on what they see. It creates a sense of collegiality and they learn from each other. They also begin to see teaching as an art and science that can be studied.”
“Students love the ‘observations and feedback’: they observe teachers and are observed themselves.”
“Peer observations, video tapings and pre/post consultations, methodology (language) presentations to illustrate the theory of teaching.”
For guidelines on doing peer observations see LuAnn Wilkerson, “The Observer as Collaborator,” in Pod: A Handbook for New Practitioners, Professional Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, 1988. This text is available in the GSI Center.
GSIs reflect on teaching and learning.
“After using a lesson plan they created for their section, GSIs write a one-page reflection on what worked well and why, what didn’t and why, and what they would change the next time they use that lesson plan.”
“Journal assignments — these are weekly topics related to teaching. [Journaling] helps the GSIs think about [the topic] for several days and relate it to their teaching that particular week.”
“A lot of the way I handle the diversity of students in our pedagogy course is to have the students reflect on their own experience as students.”
“I begin each class with small group discussion of teaching in progress, what one GSI nicknamed “TIPs.” In groups of three, GSIs discuss what worked well this week and what problems they encountered. They problem-solve within the group, then decide on one problem they would like to present to the whole class for collaborative problem solving when we reconvene after fifteen minutes.”
GSIs design an assignment, or questions, or a learning activity.
“GSIs choose . . . a film or literary text they will teach [and] design questions and activities.”
“In their evaluations, students most often refer to the assignment that asks them to design a writing assignment for the course they’re teaching or plan to teach. They bring multiple copies and critique them in small peer-response groups — so an illustration of collaborative learning as well.”
“Using Bloom’s Taxonomy and Davis’s chapter ‘Asking Questions,’ GSIs create a list of questions they can use in their next class.”
GSIs build skills through role play.
“Role-playing exercises are excellent for showing [GSIs] how to guide students to the answers to their questions instead of giving away the answers.”
“I invited an Acting Improv instructor that I know pretty well to teach the GSIs some theater games and work on some skills that would help them in the classroom. It was both a lot of fun and educational, and I think GSIs might actually borrow some games to use themselves as well as to build the esprit de corps in our 301 class.”
Multiple presenters contribute to the course.
“Bringing one faculty member in to lead each session protected students from [getting only] a single perspective [and] allowed them to talk as colleagues with professors they have had.”
Others mention inviting resource people from the Student Learning Center, the Center for Student Conduct (on cheating and plagiarism), Counseling and Psychological Services, RTL, the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, the GSI Center, etc. For a list of possible campus contributors to your course, please see Campus Resources for Pedagogy Courses: An Informal Speakers Bureau.