GRAD 5114 Post 1: Discover the authentic teaching style

As a instructor for the undergraduates, I keep discovering my own true teaching style. Before being a instructor, I have been a TA for undergraduates and graduates. However, there are great differences between the TA and instructor. As a TA, the main job is to follow what instructor has taught and then solve problems for students, which means there is no need to organize and discover everything for students. This semester, I need to write my own lecture notes, come up with problem sets and think very hard about the teaching philosophy.

After teaching for several weeks, I gradually get used to undergraduates and try to adjust myself for them. In my opinion, there is no perfect teaching style for students and instructor needs to adjust themselves with different groups of students. For example, I need to explain myself step by step about how to solve a problem rather than just providing key points for undergraduates. Also, I need to think of a consistent teaching logic for them to get used to otherwise they will easily misunderstand one definition with another. Another important think I would like to share is that instructor’s body language sometimes mean a lot as it will tell students which part is important and which part is difficult or not.

As a very young instructor, there is still a long way for me to become a really teacher in university and I sill need to learn a lot of things. There are some points I would like to learn after teaching this semester. First and foremost, I think it is urgent for me to establish a stable and framework of teaching style for me. Normally, I will start to teach something new with its definition and then how it can be used. But I need more class to strengthen this skill. Next, I would like to learn more about homework design. A good homework should help students to review notes but also enable them to have a deeper understanding of this course. Finally, I need to put more attention to students’ feedback. Sometime, I can teach smoothly and make myself understood but actually there are still some students who are confused about what I have said. Therefore, adjusting myself based on students’ quick feedback is quite important.

Published by Zhenyu

The third-year Ph.D. student from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech.

4 thoughts on “GRAD 5114 Post 1: Discover the authentic teaching style

  1. I appreciate you sharing what you want to learn after participating in this class. I also want to learn more about how to develop assignments that are experiential, engaging, and foster independence for students to develop their learning. I am interested in how to manage and provide feedback to students in a timely manner. When you have a class with 10-15 students it might be more manageable to provide feedback in a timely manner. How does one provide informative feedback with larger class sizes? I hope we will be able to discuss these questions and have a discussion with peers on what they have found to be effective.

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  2. Many of your points resonate very closely with me. One of the things I often consider is the general structure of the class and having a regular rhythm in terms of lecture –> discussion –> questions (or some variation of this). Sometimes I think the text may demand a different organization, and sometimes a change is necessary to keep things fresh; however, I think a typical class organization is helpful for setting expectations. One of the things I am working on is beginning class with a theoretical or philosophical question that connects to the assigned text, but which is not explicitly state. Thank you for your post, I share many of your concerns.

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  3. Many of your points resonate very closely with me. One of the things I often consider is the general structure of the class and having a regular rhythm in terms of lecture –> discussion –> questions (or some variation of this). Sometimes I think the text may demand a different organization, and sometimes a change is necessary to keep things fresh; however, I think a typical class organization is helpful for setting expectations. One of the things I am working on is beginning class with a theoretical or philosophical question that connects to the assigned text, but which is not explicitly state. Thank you for your post, I share many of your concerns.

    (Posting this comment again because it posted anonymously the first time. Hopefully, I am doing this right now).

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  4. Hi, thanks for your post this week. I think it is wise to create goals for yourself when it comes to developing your teaching style and figuring out effective strategies in delivering your course. Did you know that TLOS has workshops available that may help support some of what you are trying to accomplish? Most folks think they are just available to faculty, but they are also available to graduate students as well. Check out https://profdev.tlos.vt.edu/ . Since I learned about this resource, I have found many of these workshops to be useful and they are offering more all the time.

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