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  1. #21

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    As an update to this. I had my first discussion yesterday. Less than half the students showed up. (But, I figure, I am not going to sweat the people who don't put in even the minimal effort).

    I put a lot of effort into the handouts I gave, and decided that instead of e-mailing a lot of information and suggestions in smaller chunks, I would put them into physical handouts that I print out.

    The format I used was:
    1) Answer basic questions the students had.
    2) Give them a basic, general knowledge based, problem to work out, under a 10 min. time limit.
    3) Have one of the students who got it explain how to do it on the board (or I would do it, if nobody solved it).
    4) Solve an example problem based on concepts they should have learned.
    5) Have them work on a problem based on similar principles.
    6) repeated this a few times.

    Everything, that I planned on doing was in the handout I gave them (except the questions answered). At the end, they got my solutions to the problems I had them work in class.

    The students seemed significantly more engaged with the material than last quarter. Some were confused about things, but they actually asked questions for clarification.

    Note: As far as "efficiency" goes. This is actually taking me longer than what I did last quarter, but I feel like the "effectiveness" has improved. We shall see if the results actually bear this out.

    Also, I will be working on my handouts for next week over the weekend. For those interested in helping me improve the quality of these, PM me.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #22
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I actually tried out recently teaching by giving a complex problem and then having the group (of about 6 people) figure it out together, while sitting aside available for in case they reached an insurmountable obstacle... it's seemed to work rather well since everyone learns from each other and they get to learn through trial and error
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  3. #23

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    I had tried the group work thing last quarter. In fact, last quarter, my initial format was almost the same, except I explicitly asked people to form small groups.

    This time, I said they can work in small groups or ask each other for help if they want...all of them worked alone (but would ask me for help from time to time).

    Also, I made the problems quite a bit easier than I did last quarter.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #24
    FRACTALICIOUS phobik's Avatar
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    I'll have to read this more carefully, as I think I may have some personal contributions to make.
    To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
    ~ Elbert Hubbard

    Music provides one of the clearest examples of a much deeper relation between mathematics and human experience.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Note: As far as "efficiency" goes. This is actually taking me longer than what I did last quarter, but I feel like the "effectiveness" has improved. We shall see if the results actually bear this out.
    I have always found it difficult to be both efficient and effective, and most teachers I know do too. Teaching is a LOT of work. (sigh) However, I also think that as you get into a routine that works for you, you will become more efficient. I'm glad things are going a little better, at least.
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    I have always found it difficult to be both efficient and effective, and most teachers I know do too. Teaching is a LOT of work. (sigh) However, I also think that as you get into a routine that works for you, you will become more efficient. I'm glad things are going a little better, at least.
    Well. We aren't asked to teach every subject, like in elementary school--just general chemistry. It is just one subject (most professors have at least two subjects). Over summer, it is just one class, with (in my case) 17 students. In other quarters, it is more like 44-48 students (but the material is at a slower pace). Also, it is a team effort. We have a main instructor and a head TA (for all 150 students), and section TAs for smaller groups of students (I am a section TA).

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #27

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    One more update to this.

    I had my second discussion, yesterday.

    Apparently, I am doing something wrong because only 3 students attended.

    I thought maybe because it was the day after the holiday, that many people were on vacation. But I checked with other TAs and one had close to 80% of his students attend, and another even had students from other sections.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  8. #28
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    One more update to this.

    I had my second discussion, yesterday.

    Apparently, I am doing something wrong because only 3 students attended.

    I thought maybe because it was the day after the holiday, that many people were on vacation. But I checked with other TAs and one had close to 80% of his students attend, and another even had students from other sections.
    Have you asked the other TAs what they're doing?
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    Have you asked the other TAs what they're doing?
    I did. It seems like the formats we use are the same. Something is different about the details maybe. Or it was just really bad luck. I am not sure.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  10. #30
    Senior Member durentu's Avatar
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    The best way to teach, is to employ them as tutors.

    learning comes from teaching others.
    "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates." - Thomas Szasz

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