Strategies for ITAs

Strategies for ITAs - STRATEGIES FOR ITAs Don McKeon Ph.D...

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Unformatted text preview: STRATEGIES FOR ITAs Don McKeon, Ph.D. Instructor of English 0014 (Oral Communication for ITAs) [email protected]t.edu; 231­9568 Office: Rm. 49; Grad. Life Center I. Introduction: Background to U.G. Instruction in U.S. Universities General Informality of the Classroom Interactive Nature of Teaching Activity – No straight lectures – Importance of class feedback I. Introduction: Background to Instruction in U.S. (cont’d) Variety of Teaching Styles w. respect to Learner’s Needs & Learning Styles – Changing Role of Instructor— from “Sage on Stage” to “Facilitator” – Needs Assessment Movement – Focus on the Learner I. Introduction: Background to Instruction in U.S. (cont’d) Distributive Approach to Assessment – Grades distributed over the semester Homework, Quizzes, Tests, Written/ Oral Reports, Projects, Term Papers, etc. I. Introduction: Background to Instruction in U.S. (cont’d) Distributive Approach to Assessment (cont’d) – Grades determined by a variety of tasks Location: In­class­, Out­of­class Assignments & Interactions Types: Homework, Tests, Projects, Reports, Oral Presentations, etc. Final Exams not more than 40% II. Before Class/Lab Find out your students’ overall level of knowledge of the subject Purpose: To know what information to – From instructors and/or experienced GTAs – From any information on prerequisites to your course emphasize, what to assume as known II. Before Class/Lab (cont’d) Language: Pronunciation & Grammar Practice key words and phrases Practice saying key statements in different ways: Paraphrase – Check for appropriateness of synonyms – Check with native speakers II. Before Class/Lab (cont’d) Language: Rhetoric (Structure/Style of Effective Writing & Speaking) Make sure your material is organized Practice making smooth transitions – Use a topical outline (see below) between sections II. Before Class/Lab (cont’d) Plan How to Use Your Visual Media (Powerpoint, Overheads, Chalkboard, etc.) – Make your visuals “reader­friendly” (neat, not overcrowded, etc.) – Don’t include too much material to avoid rushing through it – Check equipment ahead of time II. Before Class/Lab (cont’d) Prepare a Topical Outline (Phrase Form) – Don’t write out your talk in complete sentences, except for definitions, principles… To avoid reading your notes To maximize your audience contact while speaking: – Look at your class – Glance at your notes II. Before Class/Lab (cont’d) Prepare Questions to ask the Class – To help engage the students in the learning process – To gain feedback from the students To find out what they are learning To review any unclear points II. Before Class/Lab (cont’d) Consider where you can stop or what material you can omit in case you run out of time – Note: For lab teachers: Don’t rush through your material just because some want to start the experiment in order to leave early. III. During Class/Lab Communicating vs. Talking – Keep eye contact with all your class – Speak loudly enough for those in the back to hear you at all times Including repeating questions & answers for the benefit of those in the back Don’t talk to the chalkboard! III. During Class/Lab Communicating vs. Talking (cont’d) – Adjust your pace so that students can take notes – Slow down & repeat/paraphrase key points! III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) NOTE: Learning is an ACTIVE PROCESS – Consider ways to get your students involved in the learning process; Exs: Small group discussions One­minute papers (could be anonymous) at the end; e.g., – “What was the most important point you learned today?” – “What was the most confusing point?” III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) Create a Welcoming Class Atmosphere for Interaction – Let class know (repeatedly!) that they can ask questions if they don’t understand you – Don’t give the impression that you are bothered by questions (as if you were being “interrupted”) – Avoid comments that may embarrass students; e.g., “You should have learned that in high school.” III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) – But learn how to answer different types of questions; if a question… is beyond the scope of the class, invite the student to see you after class anticipates what you will cover later, indicate that you will get to it is unclear, ask the student to repeat it or say it another way; don’t ignore the question! (If you still don’t understand, ask the student to see you.) III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) – Some Notes on Asking Questions: If you don’t know the answer, tell the class so, and then do YOUR homework so that you can provide the right answer; students will appreciate your honesty Give adequate time for students to answer your questions, and look at the students while asking! III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) – Some Notes on Asking Questions (cont’d): Don’t let the same student answer all the questions Look away from that student and say, “Can anyone ELSE answer this question?”; or “Does anyone ELSE have a question?” III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) Assure the students that you are there to help them learn! – Demonstrate your interest in assisting them – Encourage them; don’t just correct them Note: Students are likely to overlook some language problems if they think you are supportive of their learning; otherwise, the same mistakes get magnified III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) Be enthusiastic about your subject! Be a facilitator: Consider ways to help – If you don’t show interest in it, you can’t expect that the students will – One of the joys of teaching is seeing your students become interested in what you teach! your students learn III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) Be clear, organized, coherent! State your key ideas slowly & deliberately! – Avoid accelerating to squeeze in everything in a limited time – Pause at section breaks to ask if there are questions III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) Be clear, organized, coherent! (cont’d) Always repeat/paraphrase anything important! – Get regular and early feedback in order to make adjustments in your language usage or teaching style III. During Class/Lab (cont’d) Learn your students’ names! Be personal Be professional – Interested in their learning needs – Respectful of their individual personalities – Aware of your role in assessing their work – Fair (treating all equally) – Take into account any special circumstances IV. After Class/Lab Remain in the room so that students can talk to individually Keep your office hours diligently – Note: Some students will never ask a question in class Answer all electronic communication as promptly as possible Encourage students having difficulty to talk with you individually V. Final Notes Requirement of SPEAK or TEACH Test for all ITAs who are required to teach: English 0014: Oral Communication for International Teaching Assistants [ESL II]; Spring ’07; CRN: 12481; 3 hrs., 1 cr. – Please see me if you need to be tested – 2 Sections: Meeting Rm. C, Graduate Life Center M & W: 2:30 – 3:45pm M & W: 4:00 – 5:15pm ...
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