Teaching Certificates

As is the case with any skill or craft, becoming a more effective teacher involves a lot of practice—but also requires engaging with expert knowledge and taking the time to reflect deeply on your own process. Our teaching certificate programs will help you cultivate habits of experimentation and reflection that will serve you well over the course of your career. The Bok Teaching Certificate is designed for all teachers; the Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture, developed in collaboration with the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, allows students interested in second language pedagogy to demonstrate the depth of their engagement with research and practice in the field.

The Bok Teaching Certificate

teaching certificate

The Bok Center's Teaching Certificate offers graduate students and teaching fellows a tangible marker of their ongoing commitment to developing as teachers in higher education. The Certificate is structured to give participants the opportunity to reflect critically upon their performance as teachers and to actively experiment with various modes of communication in lectures, seminars, labs, and across the academic profession.

Students may pursue a Certificate through a variety of different avenues, depending on the pedagogical training offered in their respective departments, their own specific skills and interests, and how these intersect with the Bok Center's own programming. In order to receive a Teaching Certificate, participants must fulfill the requirements in each of the following three areas: (1) Learn; (2) Practice; and (3) Reflect. Click below for full details.

Click to view the Bok Teaching Certificate Requirements

Take one seminar in the fundamentals of teaching. This may be satisfied by either:

  • A department's or program's pedagogy course (view a current list); or
  • One of our core Bok Seminars in the Fundamentals of Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Fundamentals of Teaching in STEM, or Classroom Communication Skills for International TFs*.

Take two additional Bok Seminars on topics of your choosing.

* This requirement applies to any student beginning work toward the Teaching Certificate from Spring 2018 onward.  If you began working toward the Certificate prior to Spring 2018, you may take any Seminar that is classified in the Pedagogy focus area.

NB: Bok Seminars are are tagged in five focus areas: Pedagogy, Course and Assignment Design, Professional Communication, Language and Culture of the Classroom, and Assessment and Reflections on Teaching. Candidates for the Teaching Certificate should think carefully about how to assemble a meaningful program of electives which will allow them to tell a coherent story about their progress through the Certificate Program (see the "Reflect" requirement).

Demonstrate a commitment to practicing and experimenting with skills acquired through the program. This is demonstrated by having your course/section videotaped and observed by a member of the Bok staff. (Having your section videotaped as part of a departmental pedagogy class also counts toward the requirement). Video is a particularly effective way to put yourselves in the shoes of your students and reflect on the act of teaching. Does what you see on video match your own perceptions of your teaching? How does the video reflect the way you think of yourself as a teacher, and what you have learned through your experience teaching and pursuing a teaching certificate?

Create three products that capture critical reflections on teaching and learning:

  1. A teaching statement similar to one which might be included in a Teaching Portfolio.
  2. An original syllabus for a course you might propose to teach, whether at Harvard or at another university.
  3. A reflective piece of approximately 1000 words which integrates what the candidate has learned from the experience of pursuing the teaching certificate. Candidates should write a reflective narrative on their trajectory through the certificate, incorporating any or all of the following: the connections (or disconnections) between the seminars they took, what the experience has meant to them, particularly noteworthy take-aways that they will use in their future teaching or scholarship and ideas or suggestions to inform future iterations of the Bok Teaching Certificate.

NB: In addition to the guidance offered by our Online Resources, several of our Bok Seminars also provide a workshop environment in which you may create and refine these materials.

How to apply. Graduate Students interested in pursuing a Bok Teaching Certificate should self-register on the Bok Center's Teaching Certificate Canvas site via this link. The Bok Teaching Certificate is awarded on a rolling basis, whenever a candidate has completed the required coursework, fulfilled the practice requirement, and submitted his/her reflection documents. NB: Typically, completing the requirements for a Bok Teaching Certificate takes at least 2 semesters; there is no specified term in which the requirements must be completed.

The Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture

Certificate in Teaching Language and CultureIn collaboration with the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning offers a certificate program through which graduate students may demonstrate their commitment to excellence in the teaching of language(s) and culture(s). The certificate is open to graduate students who teach courses in language, culture, and literature in Harvard College. The certificate requirements include 1) teaching, 2) research and practice, and 3) professionalization. See full details below.

Click to view the Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture requirements

Teach a minimum of two semesters of foreign language/culture/literature courses at Harvard. NB: At least one of these courses must be in the language program.

Take two departmental courses:

  • One foundational language pedagogy course:
    • ROM-LANG 210: Language Pedagogy: Theories, Practices, and Approaches
    • CHINESE 280: Teaching Chinese as a Foreign/Second Language (J. Liu)
    • LINGUISTICS 173: Structure of Japanese (W. Jacobsen)
    • SLAVIC 126: Structure of Modern Russian (S. Clancy)
    • GERMPHIL 280: Approaches to Foreign Language Teaching (Parkes)
  • ROM-LANG 220: Second Language Research and Practice
    • A foundational language pedagogy course is a prerequisite to this course.
    • Additional equivalents may be approved from Linguistics or the Graduate School of Education.

Take two Bok Seminars. We especially recommend the following options:

  • Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom
  • The Art of Discussion Leading
  • Foundations of Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Present a poster on a professional development project at Harvard’s annual Foreign Language Advisory Group (FLAG) Forum.
  • Submit a Teaching Portfolio.

NB: In addition to the guidance offered by our Online Resources, several of our Bok Seminars also provide a workshop environment in which you may create and refine these materials.

How to apply. Graduate Students interested in pursuing a Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture should self-register on the Bok Center's Canvas site [coming soon!]. The Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture is awarded on a rolling basis, whenever a candidate has completed the required teaching and coursework and submitted his/her professionalization documents. NB: Typically, completing the requirements for a Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture takes 2 years; there is no specified term in which the requirements must be completed. A typical progression might look as follows:

G3 year Fall ROM-LANG 210: Language Pedagogy: Theories, Practices, and Approaches (or approved equivalent)
Spring

Bok Center seminar (Preferred: Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom)

G4 year Fall Bok Center seminar (Preferred: The Art of Discussion Leading)
Spring ROM-LANG 220: Second Language Research and Practice (or approved equivalent)
Poster presentation at the Foreign Language Advisory Group (FLAG) forum
Teaching portfolio submission