via Inside Higher Ed: Preparing Professors to TeachPosted: October 18, 2010
On the day that our own Division of TA Training (DTAT) was presenting to the CLASS Chairs and Directors, we saw this article in Inside Higher Ed about similar initiatives getting developed at a variety of institutions, notably Berkeley, MIT, and Brown.
One of the most interesting things to emerge from this report is what I’d call the “knock-on” effect that occurs when faculty begin to teach grad students about teaching, and engage in the necessary discussion, explanation, and mutual learning on the subject of teaching within their discipline:
Takayama says the program unites participants into a community of peers, regardless of discipline or stature. It trains them to think about learning contextually, beyond the course materials. What exactly is learning? How do you assess students? How do you make teaching accessible and effective? Certificate programs “really are important not just for students, but also for faculty members and postdocs,” Takayama says. “The faculty are looking for thinking about their teaching in a scholarly way. They became faculty because they got degrees in their discipline, but they never thought about their process of teaching in a formal way.” And, of course, the programs teach graduate students these skills before they have the chance to realize they never learned them.
As a number of people observe in this article, this process benefits everyone involved: grad students, participating faculty, and the student populations they both teach.