Graduate Students Learn New Teaching Skills during the 1st Summer Teaching Institute
June 16, 2011 -- During the week of June 6-10, the Graduate School led NC State's first Graduate Student Summer Teaching Institute. Thirty participants were selected to participate in the Teaching Institute which was designed to introduce graduate students to the fundamentals of teaching in the college classroom. The series was directed by Dr. Barbi Honeycutt, Director of Graduate Teaching Programs. Each of the workshops and sessions were facilitated by advanced graduate student teaching assistants who have completed the Certificate of Accomplishment in Teaching program which is part of the Graduate School's Preparing Future Leaders professional development initiative.
Dr. Honeycutt explains, "My goal is to help graduate students be successful in their teaching experiences here at NC State. Whether they are grading, holding office hours, leading lectures, teaching in a lab, or managing an online discussion forum, graduate students who teach should be supported, trained, and prepared for the responsibilities they will face. The Teaching Institute was one way we could reach a specific group of graduate students, give them opportunities to practice teaching, and build a community of peers they can now turn to for advice."
The Teaching Institute centered on introductory topics such as course organization, active learning strategies, classroom management, learning styles, and assessment. The sessions were designed to provide support and resources to graduate students who will instruct their own class for the first time during the upcoming academic year. One participant commented that the Institute provided a "great, interactive introduction to many facets of teaching. As I prepare for class in the fall, I feel like I now have a roadmap for how to get there."
Another participant explained, "In planning for the course I'm teaching soon, my concerns were more focused on lesson planning and time management. I think I have a better handle on both. For folks who are concerned about being in front of a group, this Institute provides some great first steps. There's something here for everyone."
Dr. Honeycutt invited four graduate student facilitators to lead the Teaching Institute. Jeff Allen (Foreign Languages), Susan Crook (Math), Amy Lockwood (Entomology), and Diane Silcox (Entomology) designed the sessions and provided an "insider's view" of what to expect when teaching for the first time. This type of peer-to-peer training allowed the facilitators to enhance their own professional development while providing an important service to the university. Susan Crook explains, "Being a facilitator for the Institute gave me the opportunity to work with a group of graduate students who were eager to improve their teaching. It re-sparked my desire to always keep learning new techniques and analyzing my teaching so as to constantly be improving. The graduate students were active participants in the institute and it was obvious that they all wanted to do anything necessary to become the best teachers possible. The Institute was a wonderful experience and I hope that it is held again in the future to help support graduate student teaching assistants."
The Graduate School hopes to offer the Teaching Institute again next summer. To learn more about Preparing Future Leaders' teaching programs, visit our web site: go.ncsu.edu/pfl
2011 Summer Teaching Institute Participants:
Special thanks to Bushra Anjum for the photographs. Bushra is a Graduate Student in Computer Science.
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