Fall Teaching Conference 2021
The Fall Teaching Conference is designed to prepare new and experienced PhD student teachers for their roles as Teaching Fellows in the FAS. Participants will consider various aspects of teaching, learn about resources available, get new ideas, and have the opportunity to collaborate and share advice with TFs across disciplines to prepare for the semester ahead. This year’s conference will focus on the translations between remote and in-person teaching.
Conference sessions will be offered from August 16–August 26, 2021. More information about format and details will be shared in June.
In the meantime, please explore the online resources on our Hit the Ground Running Canvas Site. Work through a series of self-paced modules and access curated resources on topics in teaching and communication from the Bok Center and other campus offices.
Winter Teaching Week 2021
Winter Teaching Week is designed to support new and experienced graduate student teachers in their roles as Teaching Fellows in the FAS. Through asynchronous and synchronous training you will consider various aspects of teaching remotely, learn about resources available to you, get new ideas, and build confidence. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate and share advice with TFs across disciplines to prepare for the semester ahead.
Please note: Winter Teaching Week is designed for GSAS PhD students and others at similar career stages engaged in the teaching of Harvard College undergraduates.
We offered a training for undergraduate Course Assistants on Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22.
Winter Teaching Week 2021 has concluded. Thank you for joining us for so many engaging sessions! You can find resources and follow-up materials from the Fundamentals training and many of the workshops on the Hit the Ground Running Canvas site.
Fundamentals Training. Join a 3-session training via Zoom to cover the basics of teaching remotely and practice and collaborate with peers. The training consists of three 90-minute interactive sessions held on consecutive days and will run from January 13–January 21. Please note: this training is the same as that offered during the Fall Teaching Conference in August 2020.
Practice teaching sessions. Join an experienced facilitator and a small group of your peers to practice delivering a short lesson in Zoom. Assignment: Prepare a 3-5 minute interactive lesson in which you define an introductory concept from your field. Use the chance to try out different Zoom features: share slides, practice using the Zoom whiteboard, or use the chat. This framework will help you prepare. After the lesson, you will have a chance to practice handling questions and get feedback from the group.
Sessions run Tuesday-Friday, 1/19-1/22, from 4:00-5:30. Please note: these sessions are limited to GSAS PhD students and others at similar career stages engaged in the teaching of Harvard College undergraduates.
- Methods. Sessions for new and experienced TFs to explore strategies to enhance their teaching practice and make the most of section
- Professional Development. Sessions for advanced PhD students to learn and practice strategies to communicate their research and design a syllabus
- All. Informational sessions for all TFs
Please note: workshops are limited to GSAS PhD students and others at similar career stages engaged in the teaching of Harvard College undergraduates.
Once sessions are closed for registration, resources and follow-up materials will be available on the Hit the Ground Running Canvas site.
Winter Teaching Week Workshop Descriptions
Equitable and Inclusive Teaching
Noelle Lopez, Assistant Director, Equity and Inclusion, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
Veronica Dea Santana, Assistant Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
In this session we’ll introduce some key concepts from the research on inclusive teaching, consider common challenges to fostering equitable and inclusive learning environments, and discuss approaches and strategies you can use to create conditions conducive to helping your students feel both welcome and capable of learning effectively in your classroom.
Have you graded a thousand papers and need some new ideas? Are you worried about how much time you spend grading? How can you make sure your feedback is accurate, consistent, and actually useful for students? In this session, we’ll discuss best practices for responding to student writing, which will help you grade that next stack of papers more efficiently and effectively. We’ll discuss general principles of giving feedback along with specific questions including: how to write margin and end comments, how to use your feedback to engage students as writers and thinkers, and how to utilize written feedback to create a more inclusive teaching and learning experience. Note: Please complete the Responding to Student Writing Module on the Hit the Ground Running Canvas site, in preparation for this session.
Harvard Undergraduate Perspectives: A Panel for International TFs
Sarah Emory, Assistant Director for International Teachers and Scholars, Derek Bok Center
with an experienced panel of undergraduate Culture and Communication Consultants
Are you a TF who got your undergraduate degree at an institution outside the U.S.? How might the undergraduate experience at Harvard differ from your own experience? What does it mean to be a teaching fellow (TF) and what do Harvard undergraduates expect from TFs? In this interactive panel discussion, undergraduate students will share their perspectives on what makes for a successful TF and discuss how building rapport can help foster an effective learning environment. You will have the opportunity to hear directly from Harvard undergraduate students and ask them questions. Note: Please complete the Teaching as an International Scholar module on the Hit the Ground Running Canvas site in preparation for this session.
How can you plan your section to keep students active and engaged from beginning to end? What Zoom tips and tricks do you need to know? How do you know if your students are really learning? How can you find out how you are doing as a TF? In this interactive session you will 1) get some concrete strategies for planning your section 2) understand how these strategies actually improve student learning, and 3) discover how to use these techniques to get feedback on both how you are doing as a teacher and what students are learning.
Let’s Discuss! Making Discussion Meaningful and Engaging
Rebecca Miller Brown, Assistant Director, Graduate Student Programming, Derek Bok Center
Lauren Davidson, Assistant Director of the Learning Lab, Derek Bok Center
What makes for an effective discussion in your discipline? How do you balance your goals for the session with student questions and interests? How do you navigate challenges, such as a conflict or tangent you’re not sure will pay off? Join us for a discussion of these and other questions about how to make discussion more meaningful and engaging, even in Zoom. We’ll play with the various moves people make in discussing, while asking ourselves how we can introduce students to the idea that discussion, like writing, is a learned skill. We’ll offer strategies for encouraging participation from all corners of the class, and we’ll think about ways to meet teaching goals while preserving spontaneity and organic interaction. New and experienced TFs are welcome.
Problem solving is a central activity in science, engineering, and math classes. In this workshop, designed for both new and experienced TFs in the STEM disciplines, we will explore strategies for teaching with problems, with an emphasis on online teaching. How and why might you encourage students to work in groups to solve problems? How can you enable a variety of students to participate and share their answers and ideas with the class? This workshop will provide you with practical methods for creating an inclusive classroom environment for all students to learn to solve problems and tackle scientific and mathematical concepts.
Communication & Professional Development
Are you preparing to give a presentation, conference paper, or lecture this term? Do you worry about managing anxiety while speaking and staying present with your audience? In this session, we will build vocabulary for effective and engaging speaking, learn strategies for managing anxiety, and practice speaking as a physical act. Using exercises from the theatre, we’ll explore how to stay grounded, introduce vocal variety to keep your listeners engaged, and connect with your audience in Zoom. Participants should be prepared to give a very short introduction of themselves and their research area (no longer than 30 seconds) to put into practice the strategies modeled in this session.
How do you respond when someone asks you what you are working on? How can you describe your high-level research to your introductory students? Do you struggle to get out of the weeds and explain the big picture? In this session we will build upon what you learned in Erika Bailey’s Engaged Communication session to practice and get feedback on communicating your research. We consider how the basic principles of good pedagogy are also the basic principles of effective and engaging speaking: having clear goals and structuring the content to help the audience understand and become engaged in the material. This session is designed for advanced PhD students who want to be more engaging teachers or prepare for remote conference presentations, job interviews and job talks.
In this workshop we will explore the relationship between stand up comedy and teaching, and how lessons and dynamics that occur in successful comedy routines could be relevant to the classroom. To be a good comedian, you have to be able to persuade your audience to let you show them a new perspective on things—to welcome a diverse crowd, to establish some shared premises, to think about questions which have never occurred to them before, to see the world as an outsider would, and to wonder why, exactly, we behave in the ways that we do. In some cases, these new perspectives may be simply humorous; but often, they carry a bite, and allow the audience to reflect critically (even uncomfortably) on the world we have created. In theory, these are exactly the skills we value when teaching the liberal arts, too. By studying video of famous routines and engaging in a number of fun improv exercises, we’ll explore the ways in which we might transpose the wisdom of the comedy club to the college classroom.
As an experienced TF, how do you reflect on your teaching experience, and prepare job market materials that tell the story of the teacher you are and the teacher you want to become? Specifically, how can a syllabus function in this way? Most tenure-track job postings request a sample syllabus. How do you go about creating one? This workshop introduces a method of curriculum planning called backwards design. The idea is simple: you can’t start planning how you’re going to teach until you know what you want your students to learn. Together we’ll brainstorm learning goals for our courses, then work backwards and discuss appropriate methods of assessment and instruction to help reach them. What kinds of assignments will let you measure your students’ learning? From here we will create a syllabus outline that you can fill in with the kinds of lectures/readings/experiences that students need to prepare for the assignments. We’ll also talk about how this process helps you reflect on your own values and priorities as a teacher. Participants should come prepared with ideas for a course in their discipline and expect to leave with at least the outline of a new syllabus.
Sessions for All
Are you interested in working at the Bok Center? Our graduate student fellows engage in a range of activities, from working as peer consultants, to designing creative assignments, to supporting STEM outreach. Stop by to learn more about all of our fellows programs for GSAS PhD students, including the Pedagogy Fellows, Media & Design Fellows, and Life Sciences Outreach Fellows. Check the Join Our Team page for application materials and deadlines.
This session will provide a brief orientation to the Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW (HGSU-UAW). We will discuss the benefits and rights contained in our first contract, ways the union can help Teaching Fellows with workplace issues, and mechanisms of contract enforcement, as well as future plans.
This session addresses principles of professional conduct and classroom management for teachers as it relates to sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct and Harvard’s commitment to gender equity. We’ll discuss how one balances Harvard University’s commitment to the free exchange of ideas while maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the University community is, on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity. Participants will learn how to handle a disclosure of a potential violation of the interim Title IX sexual harassment policy and/or the interim other sexual misconduct policy, and participate in hypothetical scenarios based on real-life experiences of TFs.
Check out our TF Handbook!
The Bok Center's Hit the Ground Running is a great place to start when you have questions about who your students are, their expectations of their Teaching Fellows, how to create an inclusive classroom, how to structure a lesson plan, and much more! Read it online, or stop by the Bok Center to pick up a hard copy. Copies are distributed at the Fall Teaching Conference and Winter Teaching Week.