Bok Seminars

bok seminarsBok Seminars cover a variety of topics and are designed for GSAS students with a range of backgrounds and experiences, from new to experienced TFs. Attendance at each session is expected; students who miss more than one session will not receive credit for the seminar for the Bok Teaching Certificate. Seminars meet for 6 sessions unless otherwise noted. Registration is mandatory; you will receive a confirmation email prior to the start of the seminar.

Jump to:
Foundations of Teaching in STEM
Foundations of Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Teaching with Purpose: Critical Pedagogy in Practice
Designing “Alternative” Assignments & Activities (a Learning Lab Seminar)
Public Speaking for Teachers & Scholars
Teaching Practice for International Teachers and Scholars
Teaching and Learning Across Cultures
English, Culture, and Communicating Science: A Seminar for International SEAS Graduate Students

Foundations of Teaching in STEM

Led by Marty Samuels
Schedule: Mondays, 2:00- 4:00 pm, January 29- March 5 | Location: 50 Church Street, Room 375

This seminar is designed to help cultivate the knowledge and skills necessary for effectively teaching collegiate science and engineering. We aim to help you make your classes as inspiring and empowering as the research you conduct at your lab, studio, or office by importing the enthusiasm of discovery into your classroom. In so doing, this seminar will rely heavily on the evidenced-based practices on teaching and learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and provide ample opportunity for students to practice applying this research to their own teaching. We will focus on identifying and writing student-centered learning goals, developing a variety of active learning exercises that facilitate student learning, and writing effective problem set and exam questions to inspire and measure learning, while fostering an inclusive classroom environment. These skills will be discussed as both applicable to leading a section in a class as a new TF or to developing a class of your own as a more experienced teacher.  Canvas

Focus Areas: Pedagogy

Foundations of Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Led by Adam Beaver, Jonah Johnson and Noelle Lopez
Schedule: Tuesdays, 2:00- 4:00 pm, January 30- March 6 | Location: 50 Church Street, Room 375

Teaching in the humanities and social sciences presents many challenges, not least of which is that it is very hard to prepare a script or to identify foolproof “tips and tricks.” Because these disciplines are attracted to ambiguity and value interpretive richness, every class discussion could, in theory, go in an infinite variety of directions; frequently you, as the teacher, are learning something completely new about the material at the very same time as you are teaching it to the students. How, then, can you learn to reside comfortably in your own authority, and to feel confident in your ability to manage complex discussions? Are there any reliable ways to improve your students’ writing? What are the most important things you want to achieve with your students? In this seminar we will equip you to teach your students how to read, how to discuss, and how to write like a humanist or social scientist. While our focus on these foundational activities should prove especially useful to new and early-career teachers, more experienced teachers are also welcome to share their wisdom and revisit their approaches.

 

Focus Areas: Pedagogy

Teaching with Purpose: Critical Pedagogy in Practice

Led by Eleanor Craig and Noelle Lopez
Schedule: Thursdays, 10:00 am- 12:00 pm, February 1- March 8 | Location: 50 Church Street Room 375 

What makes learning meaningful and empowering for students? How can we as teachers develop classroom practices that reflect our social values and commitments? How do we support students in bridging life experience and rigorous study? This seminar will engage these questions through the lens of critical pedagogy. We'll consider the emergence of critical pedagogy in particular contexts of social justice struggles, and we'll explore ways to bring critical power analysis to teaching in a variety of disciplines. Participants will reflect individually and collectively on how critical pedagogical theories might transform teaching practice in Harvard classrooms and beyond.  Participants should plan to do light reading -- a maximum of 2 hours -- between meetings. Readings will include works by authors such as Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux, and bell hooks. Participants must be able to attend all six sessions. All levels of teaching experience welcome!

 

Focus Areas: Pedagogy, Language and culture of the classroom

Designing “Alternative” Assignments & Activities (a Learning Lab Seminar)

Led by Marlon Kuzmick
Schedule: Wednesdays, 2:00-4:00 pm, January 31- March 7 | Location: 50 Church Street, 3rd Floor Open Space

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 seminar is devoted to the making chunk, and, within this chunk, to modes of making that are either newly emergent or overlooked.

Over the course of six weeks in the Bok Center’s Learning Lab, we will experiment with 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 (we will be getting feedback from the Learning Lab Undergraduate Fellows, who test the various materials we produce in the Learning Lab).

 

Focus Areas: Pedagogy, Course and assignment design

Public Speaking for Teachers & Scholars

Led by Jen Doody
Schedule: Section 1: Tuesdays, 9:00-12:00 pm, April 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th | Section 2: Thursdays, 12:00- 3:00 pm, April 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th.  
Location: 50 Church Street, Room 375

As graduate students and scholars, we are constantly being asked to verbally represent ourselves and our ideas -- in classrooms, conferences, interviews, and a range of personal and professional relationships. The seminar is designed to help you become aware of your habits of communication – both good and bad – and to provide you with concrete strategies to improve your public speaking skills in a variety of contexts. In this seminar, you will develop a new talk each week; learn the basics of powerful speechwriting; understand, address, and overcome their individual, public-speaking anxieties; and develop the skills to make any presentation compelling and memorable. By presenting to the class each week, you will build exceptional hands-on experience in projection, gesturing, interacting with the audience, vocal and emotional variety, using volume to command attention, and the subtle but immense power of silence. Students must be able to attend all sessions, and additionally must be available for an additional two-hour small-group meeting time each week.

Registration for this seminar is closed.

Focus Areas: Professional Communication

Teaching Practice for International Teachers and Scholars

Led by Pamela Pollock
Schedule: Thursdays, 10:00-12:00pm, February 1-March 8 | Location: 125 Mt Auburn Street, Room 307

Do you feel nervous about teaching? Do you worry about how your English sounds to your undergraduates? Are you interested in reflecting on and practicing your teaching? This practice-based seminar is designed to help international graduate students practice and get feedback on their teaching and speaking. Each week we will explore a new teaching strategy, and the following week we will practice it in microteaching.

Due to under-registration, this seminar is cancelled.  Intersted students are encouraged to enroll in Teaching and Learning Across Cultures (below).  

Focus areas: Pedagogy, Language and culture of the classroom

Teaching and Learning Across Cultures

Led by Pauline Carpenter
Schedule: Thursdays 2:00-4:00pm, February 1 to March 8 | Location: 125 Mt. Auburn Street, Room 307

Harvard students and teachers come from a variety of backgrounds and bring to the classroom their own culturally-based norms and expectations. As a TF, what culturally-based expectations do you bring; and what about your students? How can you create productive learning experiences that are inclusive of diverse cultural backgrounds? In this interactive seminar, we will explore teaching and learning across cultures by reflecting on how cultural values and communication styles influence classroom interactions like participating in discussions, presenting information, asking questions, building rapport, or giving and receiving feedback. We will discuss how to foster inclusive learning environments that recognize and value cultural differences and brainstorm approaches to leading intercultural classrooms more effectively. Sessions will be devoted to a variety of topics on intercultural communication and participants will have opportunities to learn about, practice, and get feedback on strategies for teaching across cultures in Harvard classrooms. This seminar is designed for international TFs and scholars, but is open to anyone interested in developing their ability to teach interculturally.

 

Focus Areas: Language and culture of the classroom

English, Culture, and Communicating Science: A Seminar for International SEAS Graduate Students

Led by Suprawee Tepsuporn
Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30-7:00pm, January 30 to April 26| Location: Maxwell-Dworkin, Room 221

Are you an international graduate student who wants to communicate more effectively in English? Do you want to build your confidence for teaching or explaining your research? This seminar offers non-native English speaking graduate students the opportunity to develop the oral and intercultural communication skills necessary to be successful in their graduate programs and beyond, with a particular emphasis on skills for teaching and communicating in the STEM disciplines at Harvard. Students will work on oral English comprehensibility and accuracy, learn and practice teaching and presentation strategies, improve impromptu speaking skills, and build the ability to interact with a diverse group of undergraduates. Students will also hone science communication skills fundamental to engaging with others about their fields, whether it be sharing updates with research teams, giving talks to non-specialist audiences, or presenting at conferences or in interviews. This seminar is designed for SEAS students who have not met the GSAS English language requirement, or who want to focus on the fluency, vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar of spoken English for teaching and other professional contexts.

 

Focus areas: Pedagogy, Language and culture of the classroom

Make It Stick: Applying the Science of Learning to your Teaching

Led by Tamara Brenner and Marty Samuels
Schedule: Tuesdays, 3:00-5:00, October 3 through November 14 (no class October 24) |  Location: Science Center 418d

Do you wonder how you can help your students learn more effectively and be able to remember and apply what they are learning well into the future? In this course, we will read the book, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, by Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel. The book explores recent discoveries from cognitive psychology in an accessible, engaging manner. Together, we will discuss how understanding the science of learning can impact the manner in which we teach and design our courses. Over the course of this seminar, each participant will develop strategies for enhancing student learning in a course they might teach.

Focus Areas: Pedagogy

Teaching for Equity: Power, Privilege and Identity in the Classroom

Led by Eleanor Craig and Leena Akhtar
Schedule: Friday, September 29 from 12-4, October 13 12-2pm, October 27 12-2pm, November 10 12-2pm and December 1 12-2pm | Science Center 300H

How do oppressive structures outside of the classroom play out in section discussions? How do questions of race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability impact classroom dynamics? This Bok seminar, which was created in response to demand for an extended treatment of these questions, is geared toward TFs and others who lead discussion sessions with students. We will work to refine our awareness of how structural inequality impacts the classroom, deepen our vocabularies for analyzing its effects, and strategize ways to foster equity through our pedagogy.
 
The first meeting is a 4-hour workshop which will provide groundwork for a series of continuing conversations throughout the Fall semester. Lunch will be served. Subsequent meetings will be responsive to participants’ interests and needs as well as chances to delve more deeply into particular topics.  Attendees of all sessions (12 in-person hours) are eligible for Bok seminar credit. Anyone who attends the first session is welcome come to subsequent sessions even if they cannot make all of the dates.

Teaching and the Job Market: Getting From “TF” to “Colleague”

Led by Adam Beaver
Schedule: Mondays, 2:00-4:00 pm, September 11- October 30 | Location: Science Center 418d

Are you on or near the job market? Enthused or concerned about the prospect of assembling a teaching portfolio, writing a syllabus, or giving a teaching demonstration? Wondering what, exactly, a “teaching philosophy” is, and how you get one? While Harvard hopefully has given you opportunities to practice and receive feedback on your teaching, it is often the case that your career as a TF is shaped by forces beyond your control: that is to say, that you’ve taught in courses, in modalities, and with assignments set by someone else, which may or may not reflect your own personality as an instructor. When you hit the job market, then, it’s natural to feel some anxiety about how to explain who you are as a teacher in a coherent and compelling way. Do you have enough experience? The right kind of experience? The answer, of course, is yes: yes, you do. The challenge is how to organize and communicate that experience in a way that will show a search committee not just what you have done, but also how much you’ve learned from it, and that you are likely you keep developing in the right direction as a colleague. In this seminar you will get intense, hands-on experience designing a teaching statement, a syllabus, a portfolio, and a teaching demo.  

The Weapon of Influence: How to Communicate Persuasively

Led by Marion Laboure and Chiara Trombini
Location: 125 Mt Auburn Street, 307 | Schedule: Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30 pm, September 13- October 18

How do you influence and motivate people? How can you use persuasion effectively in a classroom environment or during an academic conference? This seminar draws on themes from Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, with the goal of developing your communication skills. In each session we will focus on different persuasion strategies from the reading and put those skills into practice. This is a project-based class; participants have the opportunity to design, build, develop, and practice a 5-minute persuasive talk on a topic of their choice. 

Focus areas: Professional Communication 

The Theater of the Classroom

Led by Sarah Jessop
Schedule: Thursdays, 2-4pm; September 21th—October 26th (6 sessions) | Location: Arts at 29 Garden

So much from the theater –its process, methods, and training-- can be informative to our practice as teachers in the classroom. A performer works to develop their voice and physical presence; these same practices can help enliven a teacher’s sense of presence in the classroom. Directors and designers see physical space, visuals, script, movement, and interactive elements as all part of a palette with which they can design an audience’s experience. Adopting a similar sense of creative autonomy while in the classroom can help free up our intuition as teachers. Each week we’ll immerse in a new practice from the theater, then use that practice to inform and expand our teaching methods.

Public Speaking for Teachers & Scholars

Led by Jen Doody
Schedule: Tuesdays, 10:00 am- 12:00 pm, September 12- October 17 | Location: Science Center 418D

As graduate students and scholars, we are constantly being asked to verbally represent ourselves and our ideas -- in classrooms, conferences, interviews, and a range of personal and professional relationships. The seminar is designed to help you become aware of your habits of communication – both good and bad – and to provide you with concrete strategies to improve your public speaking skills in a variety of contexts. In this seminar, you will develop a new talk each week; learn the basics of powerful speechwriting; understand, address, and overcome their individual, public-speaking anxieties; and develop the skills to make any presentation compelling and memorable. By presenting to the class each week, you will build exceptional hands-on experience in projection, gesturing, interacting with the audience, vocal and emotional variety, using volume to command attention, and the subtle but immense power of silence. Students must be able to attend all sessions, and additionally must be available for an additional two-hour small-group meeting time each week. 

Focus Areas: Professional Communication

Public Speaking for Women in Academia: Understanding and Embracing Your Voice

Led by Jen Doody
Schedule: Thursdays, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, September 14- October 19 | Location: Science Center 418D

From being deemed "shrill" to "bossy," women regularly encounter challenges in public speaking that male speakers do not. This seminar will help you understand your current habits of communication—both and good and bad—and will provide specific strategies to help you discover your own unique speaking voice. You will develop a new presentation each week while learning techniques to calm the body, stand your ground, and expand your own vocal spectrum. By presenting to the class each week, you will build hands-on experience in lowering your voice and speaking deliberately and confidently. As the course progresses, you will develop strategies on how to manage complex, confrontational, and even hostile audiences. Working one-on-one with the instructor in speech-writing techniques will strengthen your understanding of how to successfully counter challenges or rejections in your presentations, while remaining resilient under pressure and in control. Students must be able to attend all sessions, and must also be available to meet with the instructor for one hour each week.

Focus Areas: Professional Communication

Public Speaking for International Teachers and Scholars

Led by Pamela Pollock
Schedule: Tuesdays, 1:30-3:30 pm, September 19-October 31 | Location: 125 Mt. Auburn Street, 307 

This seminar is designed to help non-native speakers of English become aware of their habits of communication, both good and bad. Public speaking is stressful for everyone, and the norms associated with it can be quite culturally based. In this seminar we will address these issues with a specific lenses for international teachers and scholars. You will learn concrete strategies to improve your pronunciation and public speaking skills in a variety of contexts, including classrooms, conferences, interviews, and a range of personal and professional interactions. Each week we will focus on a different speaking task and focus. This seminar is suitable for non-native English speakers of all levels, backgrounds and abilities.

Focus Areas: Professional Communication, Language and Culture of the Classroom

Classroom Communication Skills for International TFs

Led by Pauline Carpenter
Schedule TBD. Usually M/W 9:30-11 and 3-4:30 T/Th 9:30-11

This seminar is designed to help international graduate students develop the oral communication skills necessary to be successful in their graduate programs, with a particular emphasis on skills necessary for teaching in the Harvard classroom. Students will work on improving their oral English comprehensibility and accuracy, learn and practice general pedagogical strategies for teaching interactively, improve their impromptu speaking skills, and build their ability to interact effectively with undergraduates. This seminar is designed for students who have not met the GSAS language requirement, or who want to focus on the nuts and bolts of  fluency, vocabulary, and the pronunciation and grammar of the spoken English in the Harvard classroom context.

Application required. Please email Sadikshya Nepal to apply.

Focus Areas: Professional Communication, Language and Culture of the Classroom, Pedagogy
 

Jump to:
Hit the Ground Running: A Seminar for New TFs
How Am I Doing? Using Feedback to Improve Your Teaching
Public Speaking for Teachers and Scholars
Teaching and the Job Market: Getting from "TF" to "Colleague"
Problems and P-Sets: Creating and Teaching Questions in STEM
Teaching with Purpose: Critical Pedagogy in Practice

 

Hit the Ground Running: A Seminar for New TFs

Led by Pamela Pollock and Rebecca Miller
Location: 125 Mt. Auburn Street, 307 | Schedule: Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, June 11-21, 10:00 am-12:00 pm

What can new TFs do to get ready for the first day of class and beyond? In this seminar, you will practically prepare to teach for the first time, learn about resources available to you as you begin your teaching career, and build confidence in the process! We will follow the arc of the semester; each session will be devoted to a teaching topic, including the first day of class, inclusive teaching, lesson planning and delivery, giving and receiving feedback, and using Canvas effectively. Participants should have a syllabus to use throughout the seminar (their own or one for a class they might teach) and they will have access to a sandbox Canvas site to use for practice. This seminar is ideal for students teaching for the first time in the Fall term, but is open to anyone at the early stage of their teaching career who would like more guidance on basic pedagogy as well as on how to use Canvas. 

Register for this seminar here

Focus Areas:  Pedagogy, Course and Assignment Design, Assessment

How Am I Doing? Using Feedback to Improve Your Teaching 

Led by Pauline Carpenter
Schedule: Mondays and Wednesdays, 2pm-4pm June 11-June 27 | Location: 125 Mt. Auburn Street, 307

We may wonder or worry about how we’re doing as teachers-- but how do we know? Our own interpretations may not be accurate, and end-of-semester Q-evaluations come too late to make any changes in the current semester. But it doesn’t have to be this way! In this seminar, participants will begin by exploring the nature of feedback and the role of feedback in developing as teachers. We will review, discuss, and model effective mechanisms for collecting feedback, making sense of it, and using it to improve our practice-- in the pursuit of better learning, classroom experiences, and final course evaluations. By the end of the seminar, each participant will create their own plan for collecting feedback, which may include some combination of early feedback, classroom assessment techniques (CATs), critical reflective practice, and peer observations within and/or across disciplines. Participants will also start thinking about how to document the process of collecting and responding to feedback for the purpose of developing a teaching portfolio. 

Register for this seminar here

Focus Areas: Pedagogy, Assessment, Reflections on Teaching

 

Public Speaking for Teachers and Scholars

Led by Jen Doody
Location: 50 Church Street, Room 375 | Schedule: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, June 25, 27, 29, Monday, July 2 (4 sessions), 12 pm-3pm

As graduate students and scholars, we are constantly being asked to verbally represent ourselves and our ideas -- in classrooms, conferences, interviews, and a range of personal and professional relationships. The seminar is designed to help you become aware of your habits of communication – both good and bad – and to provide you with concrete strategies to improve your public speaking skills in a variety of contexts. Students in this seminar will develop a new talk each week; learn the basics of powerful speechwriting; understand, address, and overcome their individual, public-speaking anxieties; and develop the skills to make any presentation compelling and memorable. By presenting to the class each week, participants will build exceptional hands-on experience in projection, gesturing, interacting with the audience, vocal and emotional variety, using volume to command attention, and the subtle but immense power of silence. Students must be able to attend all sessions, and additionally must be available for an additional two-hour small-group meeting time each week. 

This seminar is currently at capacity, register for a spot on the waitlist here.

Focus Area: Professional Communication

 

Problems and P-Sets: Creating and Teaching Questions in STEM

Led by Marty Samuels
Location: 50 Church Street Room375 | Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, July 9-20, 3-5pm

When you first begin teaching, you may be confronted with the task of writing problem set questions. What considerations should you keep in mind when doing so? This seminar will focus on developing problems and questions for science and math courses. We will focus on crafting meaningful problems that motivate student learning and that are based on the concepts and skills taught in class. By writing problems for our own disciplines, we will consider the rhetorical questions students should ask themselves as they solve the problems, and how these rhetorical questions mirror the prompting questions you can use to lead problem solving sessions during a weekly section or office hours.  Additionally, we will get practice and feedback on teaching the problems that we create.

Register for this seminar here.

Focus Areas: Pedagogy, Course and Assignment Design, Assessment

 

Teaching and the Job Market: Getting From “TF” to “Colleague”

Led by Adam Beaver
Schedule: Wednesdays and Fridays, July 11- August 3 (8 sessions), 10:00 am-12:00 pm  | Location: 125 Mount Auburn Street 3rd Floor Open Space

Are you on or near the job market? Enthused or concerned about the prospect of assembling a teaching portfolio, writing a syllabus, or giving a teaching demonstration? Wondering what, exactly, a “teaching philosophy” is, and how you get one? While Harvard hopefully has given you opportunities to practice and receive feedback on your teaching, it is often the case that your career as a TF is shaped by forces beyond your control: that is to say, that you’ve taught in courses, in modalities, and with assignments set by someone else, which may or may not reflect your own personality as an instructor. When you hit the job market, then, it’s natural to feel some anxiety about how to explain who you are as a teacher in a coherent and compelling way. Do you have enough experience? The right kind of experience? The answer, of course, is yes: yes, you do. The challenge is how to organize and communicate that experience in a way that will show a search committee not just what you have done, but also how much you’ve learned from it, and that you are likely you keep developing in the right direction as a colleague. In this seminar you will get intense, hands-on experience designing a teaching statement, a syllabus, a portfolio, and a teaching demo.    

Register for this seminar here.

Focus Areas:  Professional Communication, Pedagogy, Reflections on Teaching

 

Teaching with Purpose: Critical Pedagogy in Practice

Led by Eleanor Craig and Noelle Lopez
Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 10- 26, 10:00 am-12:00 pm | Location: 50 Church Street Room 375

What makes learning meaningful and empowering for students? How can we as teachers develop classroom practices that reflect our social values and commitments? How do we support students in bridging life experience and rigorous study? This seminar will engage these questions through the lens of critical pedagogy. We'll consider the emergence of critical pedagogy in particular contexts of social justice struggles, and we'll explore ways to bring critical power analysis to teaching in a variety of disciplines. Participants will reflect individually and collectively on how critical pedagogical theories might transform teaching practice in Harvard classrooms and beyond.  Participants should plan to do reading between meetings. Readings will include works by authors such as Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux, and bell hooks. All levels of teaching experience welcome!
 
Enrollment is capped at 12 participants.

Register for this seminar here.

Focus Areas: Pedagogy, Language and Culture of the Classroom