Teaching students to become creative and reflective teachers in their discipline

Douglas J Wulf

Session Information

Year: 2016 | Time: 4:15pm-5:45pm (Poster Session) | Location: (Fenwick 2nd Floor) Poster Session

Abstract

Departments should prepare students for careers in their disciplines, including discipline-specific teaching careers. In some cases, there is an acute need for teacher preparation. For example, the Chemistry-Teacher Education Coalition (CTEC) has highlighted the shortage of highly-trained science teachers in the U.S. and implores, “ … we are asking college and university chemistry departments across the U.S. to include teacher preparation as part of their mission and curriculum.”1 Minimally, departments must effectively mentor teaching assistants and graduate-student instructors.  Beyond understanding a discipline well, conveying expertise to the next generation is a skill in and of itself. Skills are acquired through practice, and although trial-and-error teacher preparation can sometimes eventually work, it is certainly more expeditious and less painful to provide guidance. Self-guidance is also possible via the practice of reflective self-analysis. Teaching can likewise be enhanced through encouraging the creative use of examples and counterexamples, memorable demonstrations, and the highlighting of unexpected connections. Using the example of GMU’s linguistics program, this session shows how coursework, a practicum, and internship opportunities have prepared students for careers as teachers of English as a second language (ESL) and other languages. It also describes how doctoral students are mentored as instructors of theoretical linguistics, and how an effort is underway to connect linguistics students with conducting research in language pedagogy.This session thus provides a variety of useful ideas applicable to the mentoring and training of discipline-specific teachers.

1(2016). Retrieved March 19, 2916, from http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/educators/chemistry-teacher-education-coalition.html

Keywords

active learning; experiential learning; graduate student mentoring; pedagogy; student writing; assessment; reflective practice

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