Practice Teaching

In group practice teaching at the Bok Center, teaching fellows take turns teaching as if to the students in their section, while the rest of the group role-plays those students. The goal is to identify strong points that new TFs can rely on when starting to teach, to name any issues that the TF will need to address before or shortly into their teaching, and to allow the TF to get over any initial nervousness before they start in their real classroom or lab. The practice teaching also provides the opportunity for the course's senior staff to observe their TFs in action before classes start, which can provide helpful context if issues arise during the semester.

Typically, a group of teaching fellows from a single department or course meets with the instructor [coursehead, preceptor or Head TF] and Bok Center staff before they teach their first section. Each TF gives a brief, prepared lesson -- hopefully incorporating interaction with the (role-played) students -- and then hears comments from the group. Often this opens a general discussion of different approaches to effective teaching.

The Bok Center offers several variations of the above-described practice teaching:

  • Standard microteaching: Each TF is videotaped during his/her practice teaching for subsequent viewing and discussion in a confidential, one-on-one session with a Bok Center staff member.
  • Lab microteaching: Takes place in the actual teaching lab and has the other TFs and staff working the lab as students.
  • Nanocoaching: Each TF gives a brief introduction as if to the first meeting of their section, receives suggestions for improvement and is given the chance to try again.

In order to allow for more in-depth development of TFs' teaching skills, some courses do multiple practice teachings, e.g. an initial nanocoaching to identify presentation issues followed by one of the microteachings to give the TFs experience with engaging the students and the academic material.

To schedule practice teaching for a course, an instructor, preceptor, or Head TF should call the Bok Center (5-4869), preferably prior to the start of the semester. In addition, when there is sufficient demand "open" microteaching sessions can be scheduled early in the semester for TFs whose course or department has not organized a session. To request or sign up for an open session, call the Bok Center directly.

Online documents:

Statistics Microteaching TechnoMix