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 GSAS students teaching in Harvard College; the Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture, developed in collaboration with the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, allows GSAS students interested in second language pedagogy to demonstrate the depth of their engagement with research and practice in the field.

Please note: Our seminars and certificates are limited to GSAS students and others at similar career stages engaged in the teaching of Harvard College undergraduates.

The Bok Teaching Certificate

teaching certificate

The Bok Center's Teaching Certificate offers GSAS 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.

GSAS 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 that covers core principles in pedagogy and classroom practice. This may be satisfied by either:

  • A department's or program's pedagogy course (view a current list); or
  • One of these Bok Seminars: Hit the Ground Running, Foundations of Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Tools and Techniques for Discussion Leading, Foundations of Teaching in STEM, Problems and P-Sets: Creating and Teaching Problems in STEM, Classroom Communication Skills for International TFs, Course Design: From Transparency to Transfer, or How am I Doing? Using Feedback to Improve your Teaching

Take two additional Bok Seminars on topics of your choosing, including any of the above.

Our offerings are organized into broad categories based on target audience and topic: Foundations, Methods & Classroom Practice, Equity & Inclusion, Communication & Language, and Professional Development (for experienced TFs).  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 by having a video consultation. 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. GSAS Students interested in pursuing a Bok Teaching Certificate should self-register on the Bok Teaching Certificate Canvas site.  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 GSAS students may demonstrate their commitment to excellence in the teaching of language(s) and culture(s). The certificate is open to GSAS 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 any two Bok Seminars. The following may be of particular interest or relevance to language teachers:

  • Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom
  • Tools and Techniques for Leading Classroom Discussions
  • Foundations of Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • PreTexts (more information coming soon)
  • Present a poster on a professional development project at Harvard’s annual Foreign Language Advisory Group (FLAG) Forum.
  • Submit a Teaching Portfolio. You should design a portfolio that will be useful for your individual goals. For the purposes of the certificate, your portfolio should include at minimum:
    • a Statement of Teaching Philosophy,
    • a prospective syllabus, and
    • a sample assignment prompt, lesson plan, or class activity. For more detail on these items, see the Teaching Portfolio page in our Online Resources.

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. GSAS Students interested in pursuing a Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture should self-register on the Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture Canvas site. 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
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

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.