Fall Teaching Conference & Winter Teaching Week

The Bok Center sponsors a Fall Teaching Conference and Winter Teaching Week each year. These pre-semester conferences offer new Teaching Fellows a chance to prepare for the semester, as well as for more experienced teachers and scholars to continue to develop their skills and to explore areas of interest in teaching and learning.

Please note: The Fall Teaching Conference and Winter Teaching Week are limited to GSAS students and others at similar career stages engaged in the teaching of Harvard College undergraduates.

Fall Teaching Conference

Held over two days with programming geared toward new and experienced graduate student teachers at Harvard, the Fall Teaching Conference features workshops and sessions led by experts from across the university. 

The 2020 Fall Teaching Conference will be held on August 26 & 27, 2020.

View the faculty plenary from Day 2 of the 2019 Fall Teaching Conference

"Developing Your Classroom Presence," with Erika Bailey


Wednesday, August 28th
Fundamentals for New Teaching Fellows
Day 1 Schedule and Descriptions

Thursday, August 29th
New and Experienced Teaching Fellows
Day 2 Schedule and Descriptions

FTC 2019 Day 1 Schedule

FTC Day 2 Schedule


Winter Teaching Week

Held over three days the week before the spring term starts, Winter Teaching Week offers graduate student teachers at every stage an opportunity to explore different topics in teaching and learning. Day 1 focuses on fundamentals for new TFs, Day 2 explores a wide range of issues related to methods and classroom practice, and Day 3 focuses on teaching in General Education, communication and creative approaches. Registration is required.

This event may be photographed. For concerns, contact bokcenter@fas.harvard.edu.

Winter Teaching Week 2020 was held Wednesday through Friday, January 22-24. 


View the 2020 Winter Teaching Week Schedule

Session Category Time Location Register
Hit the Ground Running New TFs 9am - 12pm Science Center 302 Closed
Lunch All  12pm-1:30pm Science Center 302 Closed
Equitable and Inclusive Teaching All 1:30pm-3:30pm Science Center 302 Closed
Session Category Time Location Register
ITF Breakfast Communication 9am - 10am Science Center 418d Closed
Head TF Breakfast Experienced TFs 9am-10am Science Center 302


Let's Discuss! Making Discussion Meaningful and Engaging HUM/SOC SCI 10am - 12pm Science Center 302 Closed
Making the Most of Section: Active Learning, Feedback and Student Engagement All 10am - 12pm Science Center B10 Closed
Problem Solving in STEM Classes: Engaging Your Students in Section STEM 10am - 12pm Science Center 418d Closed
From Implicit to Explicit: Identity and Power Dynamics in the Classroom All  12pm - 1:30pm Science Center 302 Closed
MicroTeaching Sessions New TFs 1:30pm-3:30pm Science Center 418d Closed
Cultivating Resilience in Teaching and Learning: Using Growth Mindset All  1:30pm-3:30pm Science Center 302 Closed
Teaching with Images and Objects Experienced TFs 1:30pm-3:30pm Cabot Instructional Space  Closed
Fellows Programs Information Session All  3:30pm-4:30pm Science Center 302 Closed
Session Category Time Location Register
Coffee with Bok All 9am - 10am Science Center 302 Closed
Take My Course...Please!  Communication 10am - 12pm Science Center 302 Closed
Teaching in General Education All  10am - 12pm Science Center 418d Closed
Title IX Lunch All 12pm - 1:30pm Science Center 418d Closed
Responding to Student Writing Efficiently and Effectively HUM/ SOC SCI 1:30 pm - 3:30pm Science Center 302 Closed
Designing Alternative Activities and Assignments Communication 1:30pm - 3:30pm 50 Church St 308 Closed
Bok Center Open House All 3:30pm - 4:30pm 50 Church St 308 n/a

Winter Teaching Week Catalogue

Wednesday, January 22, 2019

Hit the Ground Running 
Pamela Pollock, Director of Professional Development, Derek Bok Center 
Rebecca Miller Brown, Assistant Director, Graduate Student Programming, Derek Bok Center

What can you, as a new TF, do to get ready for the first day of class and beyond? Come to this introduction to the fundamentals of teaching to practically prepare to teach for the first time, to learn about resources available to you as you begin your teaching career, and to build confidence in the process! We follow the arc of the semester in this workshop, starting with the first day of class and moving through lesson planning, delivery, and giving and receiving feedback. Please bring a syllabus to use (your own or one for a class you might teach). This session is designed for TFs teaching for the first time in the spring term, but is open to anyone at the early stage of their teaching career who would like more guidance on the fundamentals of teaching. You will have the opportunity to present a microteaching lesson on Thursday afternoon, to practice your instructional skills and receive feedback from peers and an experienced facilitator. 

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Equitable and Inclusive Teaching
Noelle Lopez, Assistant Director, Equity and Inclusion, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
Marty Samuels, Associate Director for Science, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning 

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 strategies you can use to create conditions conducive to helping your students feel both welcome and capable of learning effectively in your classroom. 

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Thursday, January 23, 2019

ITF Breakfast
Sarah Emory, Assistant Director for International Teachers and Scholars, Derek Bok Center 
with experienced International Teaching Fellows

Are you a TF who got your undergraduate degree at an institution outside the U.S.? If so, you may have questions about teaching undergraduates at Harvard. How might the undergraduate experience here differ from your own experience? As an International TF, what do you need to know to navigate teaching in Harvard classrooms successfully? In this interactive breakfast discussion, you will have the opportunity to explore issues related to teaching across borders and boundaries, hear from experienced TFs on what they found useful when they started teaching, and discuss useful strategies for building connections with undergraduates. 

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Head TF Breakfast
Adam Beaver, Director of Pedagogy, Derek Bok Center
with the Bok Center’s Pedagogy Fellows

Want to learn more about how to be an effective Head TF? Looking for a forum to talk through what it’s like to work closely with your coursehead, and to coordinate a larger teaching team? Join the Bok Center’s Director of Pedagogy and a team of veteran Head TFs for an informal breakfast discussion about the ins and outs of the job. 

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Let's Discuss!  Making Discussion Meaningful and Engaging
Lauren Davidson, Assistant Director of the Learning Lab, Derek Bok Center
Rebecca Miller Brown, Assistant Director, Graduate Student Programming, 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. 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 room, and we’ll think about ways to meet teaching goals while preserving spontaneity and organic interaction. New and experienced TFs are welcome.

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Making the Most of Section: Active Learning, Feedback and Student Engagement
Pamela Pollock, Director of Professional Development, Derek Bok Center

How can you plan your section to keep students active and engaged from beginning to end? 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 and avoiding the dreaded silence, 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.

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Problem-Solving in STEM Classes: Engaging Your Students in Section
Tamara Brenner, Executive Director, Derek Bok Center 

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. 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.

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Lunch Session: From Implicit to Explicit: Identity & Power Dynamics in the Classroom
Noelle Lopez, Assistant Director, Equity and Inclusion, Derek Bok Center 
with the Undergraduate Pedagogy Fellows

What assumptions do you have about students in your class? How can identities related to race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, and more affect classroom dynamics?  This session will begin with the Bok Center’s Undergraduate Pedagogy Fellows presenting an introduction to the multiplicity of Harvard undergraduate identities through both narratives and statistics. The Fellows will also offer an introduction to how power and privilege manifest within the classroom in the forms of microaggressions and "hot moments," and explain how students often wish TFs would deal with and work to prevent such moments. The session will conclude with a facilitated discussion of participants' own experiences identifying and dealing with classroom power dynamics. First-time and experienced teachers welcome.  

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Microteaching Sessions
Pedagogy Fellows and Bok Staff

This session, designed as a follow-up for new TFs in Hit the Ground Running, is an opportunity for you to practice and get feedback on the fundamentals of teaching in a supportive environment. You should come to this session prepared to teach a 5-minute lesson on an introductory concept in your field to a group of non-experts. Please plan to teach using the board, as there will be no AV support available. Consider your topic, organizational strategy and classroom presence (see this framework). How will you structure your lesson? How will you make sure your students are interested and engaged? After the 5-minute lesson there will be 5 minutes for questions, followed by 5 minutes of feedback from the group and an experienced facilitator.  You will learn from your own experience of practice teaching, as well as from observing and giving feedback to your peers. 

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Cultivating Resilience in Learning & Teaching: Using Growth Mindset
Marty Samuels, Associate Director for Science, Derek Bok Center

Growth mindset—the belief that your skills and intelligence are malleable and can be improved with hard work and practice—has been shown to be a vital aspect of learning. In this session, we will focus on developing a growth mindset for ourselves and for our students, and why both are important. It is often all too easy to think of ourselves as finished products with set skills, but this can hinder our attempts to be willing to learn new knowledge and skills. Fostering a “growth mindset” can motivate us – and our students – to focus on the process of learning, to embrace challenges as learning opportunities, and to improve our abilities through practice. Teaching students to have a growth mindset has been shown to prevent students from giving up in response to academic challenges and thereby can improve student performance and reduce achievement gaps between student groups. The goal of this session, designed for graduate students and teachers at any stage, is for participants to leave with some concrete strategies for when and how to help students focus on how to thrive – rather than just survive – in their college classes by considering themselves on a journey towards developing new skills and knowledge in which meaningful challenges are to be embraced rather than avoided.

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Teaching with Images and Objects
Rebecca Miller Brown, Assistant Director, Graduate Student Programming, Derek Bok Center

Images and objects are valuable tools for teachers: they illustrate arguments, give tangible expression to ideas, and provide a means to engage with concepts in new and novel ways.  How can they be integrated most effectively in class? How can we teach students to “read” them carefully and critically? In this session, we will explore strategies for encouraging analytical reasoning, critical thinking, and observation skills, all by engaging our students, and ourselves, in the practice of close looking. We will think about different ways to incorporate images and objects into our teaching, with a particular focus on stimulating classroom discussion and supporting students’ learning goals.  Please bring an image or object that you feel represents teaching in your discipline and be prepared to share it with the group.  

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Fellows Programs Information Session

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, applications for which are due February 10th!  

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Friday, January 24, 2019

Coffee with Bok

Start your morning before your first session by coming to have coffee with Bok Center staff. Ask your teaching questions and learn more about our resources!

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Take my Course...Please!
Adam Beaver, Director of Pedagogy, Derek Bok Center 

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.

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Teaching in General Education
Eleanor Finnegan, Assistant Director, Faculty Programming, Derek Bok Center
with Laura Hess, Director, Program in General Education

General Education courses connect what students learn in the classroom to the lives they lead outside of college.  How will you help your students make this connection?  Come to this session and learn about the goals of Gen Ed and its place in the curriculum, and find out about the challenges and opportunities that teaching in this program presents.  Please bring a copy of your course description – either electronically or in hard copy – that you can share with someone else.  

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Lunch Session: Title IX
Seth Avakian, Program Officer for Title IX and Professional Conduct 
Danielle Farrell, Director of Student Services, GSAS

This session addresses principles of professional conduct and classroom management for teachers as it relates to Title IX requirements 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 community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity on the basis of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Participants will learn how to handle a disclosure of a potential violation of the sexual harassment policy and participate in hypothetical scenarios based on real-life experiences of TFs.

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Responding to Student Writing Efficiently and Efffectively
Jonah Johnson, Assistant Director for Writing Pedagogy, Derek Bok Center; Head Preceptor in the Writing Program 

Have you graded a thousand papers and need some new ideas? Are you worried about how much time you spend grading?  Do you need help managing your time, or wonder about how to give feedback that will be the most helpful to students? In this session, we’ll discuss best practices for responding to student writing. We’ll address questions including: How can you write the most effective and efficient margin and end comments? How can you help students with a wide range of writing problems? And how can your responses engage students as writers and thinkers?  You will come away with useful strategies to employ on that next stack of papers. 

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Designing Alternative Assignments and Activities
Marlon Kuzmick, Director of the Learning Lab, Derek Bok Center
Jordan Koffman, Learning Lab Fellow, Derek Bok Center

In the average course, students will spend a large chunk of their time listening, a large chunk of their time reading, and some of their time making things. This session is devoted to the making chunk, and, within this chunk, to modes of making that are either newly emergent or overlooked. We will quickly explore a number of different media and tools, from speaking to 3D-modeling to photography. No previous experience of any sort is required, as we are not aiming to become experts. Instead, our procedure will involve 1) experimenting with the new medium or tool, 2) reflecting on how a student might use it to develop skills and express ideas, and, 3) designing and testing assignments and activities related to our disciplines.

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Bok Center Open House

Join us for an open house at the Bok Center! Learn more about all the resources the Bok Center and our campus partners provide to support you while you are teaching. Enjoy beverages and snacks and learn about ways to engage with us.

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Check out our TF Handbook!

Hit the Ground RunningThe 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.