Beginning the Class

Explicitly Indicating Class Has Begun

Strengths:

  • Great way to initiate class: “Let’s get started” ☺

Weaknesses:

  • It will help your students to realize it’s time for class to begin if you explicitly say something like “Let’s get started” — Make sense?☺
    • Use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice beginning your lesson/presentation with:
      • One of the many ways of saying “Let’s get started”
      • An attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters/how today’s lesson connects to real life and/or that there’s a gap in the information covered by previous lessons
      • introducing/outlining today’s topic(s)

Beginning with an Attention-Catching Introduction

Strengths:

  • Great job starting with a question likely to make your students think, make them curious if their guess is correct, and therefore interested in your lesson from the beginning
  • Great job using real-life examples your students can relate to: “How much do you think a Ph.D. student should earn after graduation?” and “Would you rent an apartment in Ames at $X per month?” ☺

Weaknesses:

  • You may want to begin class with some kind of attention-getting greeting, not directly by explaining what will be covered in class today (because your students might not realize without some kind of attention-getter that class has started)
    • Use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice beginning your lesson/presentation with:
      • One of the many ways of saying “Let’s get started”
      • An attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters/how today’s lesson connects to real life and/or that there’s a gap in the information covered by previous lessons
      • introducing/outlining today’s topic(s)
    • Watch TED talks, taking notes for each talk on the specific techniques that speaker applied, enabling him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially caught the audience’s attention, connected his or her topic to real life, used supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicated passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if that technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the speaker’s techniques to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.

Via Introducing/Outlining Today’s Topic(s)

Strengths:

  • X, you do a great job of beginning your lesson by summarizing what you’ll cover today ☺
  • Good job starting your lesson verifying whether or not students know a key term from today’s lesson ☺ — “marginal revenue” and “marginal cost”
  • Your TEACH exam introduction was effective and you did a good job of judging which technical terms are likely to be unknown to students and then explaining them

Weaknesses:

  • Although starting a class with an example can be good, the raters apparently found your description/explanation of your example unclear. Thus, one of them suggested that a “safer” way to start your class is by telling your students what your objectives/goals/main points for that class session are, so the students can use that information to guide their interpretation of your examples — Make sense?
    • Use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice beginning your lesson/presentation with:
      • One of the many ways of saying “Let’s get started”
      • An attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters/how today’s lesson connects to real life and/or that there’s a gap in the information covered by previous lessons
      • introducing/outlining today’s topic(s)
    • Students will understand you more easily if you write new topics and technical terms whenever you introduce them, because they then won’t get distracted by wondering whether they’ve spelled this new term correctly in their notes or by wondering whether they’ve understood your pronunciation of the new term correctly — Make sense?

Via Communicating How Today’s Lesson Connects to Real-Life/Previous Lessons

Strengths:

  • You did a good job beginning your TEACH lesson with a real-life example students can relate to ☺
  • Great job beginning your class by connecting what students know naturally (buyers want to pay less; sellers want to earn more) and what has been previously taught to what you’re teaching today ☺
  • Great job connecting today’s lesson to what was learned last time. . . .showing how the two were connected ☺
  • Great job using what your students already know about/associate with your key terms based on everyday life in order to build their understanding of the terms’ specific technical meaning within your field
  • Great job explaining the context for what you’re teaching today — although X taught a lot of last class’s intended content, there’s one part he didn’t manage to teach ☺

Weaknesses:

  • Be more explicit about how your introduction connects to the rest of your lesson, e.g. “Since all of you are familiar with computers, I want to use the concept of a “computer” to help you understand the difference between a “class” and an “object” in Java computer programming — Providing an explanation of your introduction like this will not only help your students understand how your introduction connects to the rest of your lesson, but will also provide an outline of your lesson for that day that will help them understand your flow of logic as you teach step-by-step— Make sense?
  • “He did not provide enough background information for the topic.”
    • Use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice beginning your lesson/presentation with:
      • One of the many ways of saying “Let’s get started”
      • An attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters/how today’s lesson connects to real life and/or that there’s a gap in the information covered by previous lessons
      • introducing/outlining today’s topic(s)
    • Use 4/3/2 to practice introducing any background information that your students/audience need to benefit most from your lesson/presentation
    • Use 4/3/2 to practice explaining your topic via interesting examples (especially real-life examples from your own life or everyday student/human experiences!)
    • Watch TED talks, taking notes for each talk on the specific techniques that speaker applied, enabling him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially caught the audience’s attention, connected his or her topic to real life, used supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicated passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if that technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the speaker’s techniques to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.

Teaching Your Lesson

General Comments on Promoting Engagement

Strengths:

  • You did a good job in your TEACH exam at connecting/building rapport with your class and building their interest in your topic (e.g. via your own enthusiasm for your topic, humor, helping them understand how it connects to their lives, future courses, real life, etc.) — and supported what you were saying with appropriate gestures and other nonverbal cues, etc., in ways that match American university context norms ☺
  • Throughout your presentation, you do a GREAT job of connecting your topic to topics your students are interested in — Wow!!! ☺
  • X, at the beginning of this semester when you joined my 180D class, you already had good teaching skills and I think you became an even better teacher over the course of the semester, as demonstrated by my comments:

Weaknesses:

  • The ability you demonstrated during your TEACH exam to match U.S. norms in how you:
    1. connect/build rapport with your class and build their interest in your topic (e.g. via your own enthusiasm for your topic and via helping them understand how it connects to their lives, future courses, real life, etc.)
    2. support what you were saying with gestures and other nonverbal cues

was acceptable, but not outstanding. Students will enjoy your class more and therefore probably learn more from it if you can work on growing in this area (e.g. by using better eye contact?). . . .

General Comments on Promoting Understanding

Strengths:

  • During your TEACH exam, your explanation of your content was clear and contained an amount of detail appropriate for a freshman/sophomore class. You did a good job at including examples and other supporting evidence to help demonstrate your points/build students’ understanding as well as at using the chalkboard to build and support students’ understanding of your content ☺
  • X, at the beginning of this semester when you joined my 180D class, you already had good teaching skills and I think you became an even better teacher over the course of the semester (e.g. you show what you mean using visuals, gestures, analogies, and having your students imagine situations comparable to the one you’re trying to teach)
  • X, at the beginning of this semester when you joined my 180D class, you already had good teaching skills and I think you became an even better teacher over the course of the semester, as demonstrated by my comments

Weaknesses:

  • (See the teaching-related exercises listed under “What I need to remember and work on as regards FLUENCY” above)

Via a Well-Organized Lesson

Strengths:

  • One rater mentioned you were well-organized overall, though you apparently needed to look at your notes in order to be able to provide an example
    • Use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice beginning your lesson/presentation with:
      • One of the many ways of saying “Let’s get started”
      • An attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters/how today’s lesson connects to real life and/or that there’s a gap in the information covered by previous lessons
      • introducing/outlining today’s topic(s)
    • Use 4/3/2 to practice introducing any background information that your students/audience need to benefit most from your lesson/presentation
    • Use 4/3/2 to practice explaining your topic via interesting examples (especially real-life examples from your own life or everyday student/human experiences!)
    • Brainstorm potentially “tricky” parts of your lesson/presentation (or a list of concepts in your field/textbook that you know undergrads tend to struggle with) and use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice explaining these concepts in a 1) easy-to-understand and 2) interesting way
    • Brainstorm potential questions you think students are likely to ask about your lesson and use 4/3/2 to practice answering those questions in a way students are likely to find 1) easy to understand and 2) interesting
    • Practice answering “Common Questions for International TAs” available from the University of Minnesota

Via Clear Transitions from One Idea to the Next

Strengths:

  • Great use of transition markers (first, then)
  • Great job moving very smoothly and naturally from one step  ☺

Weaknesses:

  • Use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice beginning your lesson/presentation with:
    • One of the many ways of saying “Let’s get started”
    • An attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters/how today’s lesson connects to real life and/or that there’s a gap in the information covered by previous lessons
    • introducing/outlining today’s topic(s)
  • Brainstorm ideas for how you can connect each main point of your presentation/lesson to your next point (or subpoint) and them practice making each of these transitions (probably 3-5 times each) until you can make them smoothly and fluently — Make sense?

Via Interesting/Real-Life Examples

Strengths:

  • Great job using real-life examples your students can relate to: “How much do you think a Ph.D. student should earn after graduation?” and “Would you rent an apartment in Ames at $X per month?” ☺
  • You used interesting examples to explain the difference between two of your points (two of your topics?)  ☺
  • Great job connecting your slide to your audience. . . “None of us were born at that time” and “How old will you be” — “things which were ‘Made in China'”
  • Good job using humor, “In 2050, I’ll be almost 60. . . .oh my!”

Weaknesses:

  • In your TEACH exam, it would have been helpful if you had tried to include supporting examples for each, or at least a couple, of your points to help students fully understand their differences
  • You may want to work on including more examples or other supporting evidence to help demonstrate your points/build students’ understanding (as well as to work on using the chalkboard more often to build and support students’ understanding of your content via visual aids) — these are other things for which you were rated as merely “satisfactory”
    • Use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice beginning your lesson/presentation with:
      • One of the many ways of saying “Let’s get started”
      • An attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters/how today’s lesson connects to real life and/or that there’s a gap in the information covered by previous lessons
      • introducing/outlining today’s topic(s)
    • Use 4/3/2 to practice explaining your topic via interesting examples (especially real-life examples from your own life or everyday student/human experiences!)
    • Watch TED talks, taking notes for each talk on the specific techniques that speaker applied, enabling him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially caught the audience’s attention, connected his or her topic to real life, used supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicated passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if that technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the speaker’s techniques to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.

Explaining Why the Topic Matters

Strengths:

  • Good job explaining why each step is important, e.g. why students would want to use algebra to simplify the numerator

Weaknesses:

  • Great job beginning by indicating that your topic is important (but it would have been better if you had provided a brief explanation of why, not merely told us the fact)
    • Use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice beginning your lesson/presentation with:
      • One of the many ways of saying “Let’s get started”
      • An attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters/how today’s lesson connects to real life and/or that there’s a gap in the information covered by previous lessons
      • introducing/outlining today’s topic(s)


    Via Supporting Visuals

    Strengths:

    • Your lesson today was VERY interesting!!! (by using the rise and fall of your voice, gestures, integrating visuals and examples)
    • You did a good job using the chalkboard to build and support students’ understanding of your content ☺
    • Very clear handwriting of an appropriate size on the board ☺
    • Good job writing the definitions of today’s key terms on the board so students who want that information for their notes, but have trouble writing down your spoken definition fast enough can write it down — and also so they can review your written definition for these newly-learned terms as needed whenever you use them throughout your lesson!!!☺
    • Good job getting out of the way of what you’ve written on the board, so that ALL your students can see it (i.e. so your body doesn’t block your way) ☺
    • Great job verifying with your students that it’s okay for you to erase the board, not only by asking them, but also by looking at all of us to make sure we don’t look like we’re hurrying to take notes

    Weaknesses:

    • Yes, even if you had had no trouble pronouncing the difference between “afferent” and “efferent,” I think your classmates and I would still have had trouble understanding these terms simply because they are new to us. That’s why it’s so valuable to write terminology with which you expect students to be unfamiliar on the board. Then they will know you’re using a new term they haven’t yet learned and that you aren’t using an unfamiliar pronunciation for a term they actually do know! (Also, your writing the term on the board will show them how to spell it their notes ☺.) Make sense?
    • The raters had trouble reading some of your long words on the board because your handwriting was too small (Remember students sitting in the back of the classroom need to be able to read your writing!)
    • Your handwriting on the board for “selection sort” and “bubble sort” is messy (and therefore hard to read)
    • I think you need to move your body away from what you’ve written on the board a little more frequently so it doesn’t block the sight of students like X and Y, probably between each step (because obviously they can’t see what you’ve written on the board through your body, so it will be hard for them to follow you if they can’t see what you’re talking about step-by-step!)
    • Check your spelling “Mao Zendong” — your students may have trouble trusting you if you have trouble spelling key technical terms in your field! ☹ / if you can’t spell in pinyin/English one of the most famous people from your country ☹
    • You wrote “passive” (or “permissive”?) on the board and then verbally said the other word. This confused your “students” because the two words mean totally different things.
    • X, although your presentation itself was excellent, you may want to work on better “graphic design” of your PowerPoint, so it also looks professional
    • Students will understand you more easily if you write new topics and technical terms on the board whenever you introduce them, because they then won’t get distracted by wondering whether they’ve spelled this new term correctly in their notes or by wondering whether they’ve understood your pronunciation of the new term correctly — Make sense?
    • Brainstorm possible visual aids you could include in your lesson to support your students’ understanding, e.g. key terms, diagrams or charts for the board and/or props
    • Practice 4/3/2 in an empty classroom for a lesson requiring you to write on the board and practice getting out of the way of what you’ve written after you finish, so all students can see and learn from what’s on the board — Make sense?
    • Practice writing clearly, in a large enough font, in an empty classroom and check your handwriting size/clarity by afterward going to the back of the classroom to see whether students sitting there will be able easily to read what you’ve written
    • Watch TED talks, taking notes for each talk on the specific techniques that speaker applied, enabling him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially caught the audience’s attention, connected his or her topic to real life, used supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicated passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if that technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the speaker’s techniques to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.

     

    Via Supporting Gestures/Nonverbal Cues

    Strengths:

    You supported what you were saying with appropriate gestures and other nonverbal cues, etc., in ways that match American university context norms ☺

    Your lesson today was VERY interesting!!! (by using the rise and fall of your voice, gestures, integrating visuals and examples)

    Great use of gestures, e.g., pointing to the appropriate place on the board, etc. ☺

    Good use of gestures (not only pointing to the appropriate part of the board as needed, but also communicating with your arms as well as your words ideas like “way better”!) in order to support your teaching ☺

    Great job verifying with your students that it’s okay for you to erase the board, not only by asking them, but also by looking at all of us to make sure we don’t look like we’re hurrying to take notes

    • Weaknesses:

    Brainstorm possible gestures you could include in your lesson to support your students’ understanding

    Watch the video for one of your recent presentations (or that of someone whose presentation ability you highly respect) and notice 1) gestures used that support listeners’ understanding, 2) gestures used that distract from the presenter’s topic, 3) parts of the lesson where additional supporting gestures could be added (and brainstorm what those additional supporting gestures could be!)

    • Watch TED talks, taking notes for each talk on the specific techniques that speaker applied, enabling him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially caught the audience’s attention, connected his or her topic to real life, used supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicated passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if that technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the speaker’s techniques to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.

    • Via Pointing Out Probable Pitfalls

      Strengths:

      Great job pointing out the most tricky part and how we need to be careful there. . . .this helps your students feel you really want them to succeed ☺

      Weaknesses:

    Brainstorm potentially “tricky” parts of your lesson/presentation (or a list of concepts in your field/textbook that you know undergrads tend to struggle with) and use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice explaining these concepts in a 1) easy-to-understand and 2) interesting way

    Brainstorm potential questions you think students are likely to ask about your lesson and use 4/3/2 to practice answering those questions in a way students are likely to find 1) easy to understand and 2) interesting

    •  Encouraging Student Involvement Via Questions, Etc.

      Strengths:

    Good job calling on students to help them get involved and pay attention to your explanation throughout, because they know they might be held responsible for knowing the information you’re teaching

    Great job getting student involvement by asking for students’ “favorite number”! ☺

    You have done a fantastic job organizing your lesson around questions that you progressively build your students’ ability to answer — Very impressive!!! (especially considering in fact, none of your classmates know much at all about electrical engineering)

    Great job using questions step-by-step to structure your lesson — very impressively done!!! ☺

    Good job including your students in your thinking by the language you choose to use “So we [do . . . . here], right?”

    Good job referencing the definitions previously provided by your students wherever possible throughout your lesson ☺

    Good job mentioning one of your classmates’ previous statements when addressing a later question — that really helps your students feel “listened to” and that their comments really do in some way contribute to the class — that will help motivate them to listen/learn well so they can provide additional valuable contributions in the future (This is evidence of very good teaching skill!)

    • Weaknesses:

    In the OECT, you’ll want to be careful in how you say “we talked about that in the last class” or it might sound like you’re unjustly critical about your students not knowing information even though (like in the case of the OECT raters who haven’t attended a previous class) there’s no way they could have known

    X, as I mentioned in my feedback on your last presentation, I am not really concerned about you teaching in the U.S. context in terms of your English, but I am very concerned in terms of your following U.S. politeness norms. You tend (as far as I can tell, exclusively) to be very directly and publicly critical of your students and their performance. To be honest, you also tend to be much more bossy/authoritarian than is common in U.S. contexts even when you’re just talking with your classmates in ordinary conversation (I assume because you know your explicit knowledge of English is a lot stronger than theirs). I’m concerned that unless you learn to apply U.S. norms while living/working in the U.S., you will hurt and anger your U.S. students (hurting both their learning and your course evaluations), and equally importantly, that you will hurt your American/Western colleagues if you treat them similarly, and thus lose the opportunity to gain their friendship (i.e. Although Americans rarely talk about face and certainly don’t have the explicit understanding of “face” that Chinese have, in fact, the same concern for face operates probably just as strongly here as in China, only it shows up in different contexts —Make sense?)

    FYI: It would probably be good for you to be aware that you occasionally (probably because of your Asian educational background?) can sometimes be little more directly critical of students’ poor performance than is usual in the U.S. context, which may hurt or upset your students here. . . .My biggest concern (based on your presentations generally over the course of this semester, not just this one) with you by far regarding your OECT is not your English, but your “politeness” according to American norms. . . .from my observation, teachers in China (and a few other countries) tend to be much more direct and critical of their students than in the U.S. (for example, when you said your students had “failed miserably” in dealing with Dr. Crawford’s “web search” and “web evaluation” questions. . . .it is okay to use that language, but in an American context, you need also to include “hedging” language, e.g. in a sympathetic tone of voice, “but in grading, I realized that most of you, to be perfectly honest, failed miserably on these websites”) — This is really, really, really important. . . .Please talk to me if you don’t understand what I mean!. . . .Although I can’t remember now what your OECT feedback said, I suspect that your not applying American politeness norms in your teaching style may have been a huge factor, quite possibly the primary factor, in why you didn’t pass the OECT last time — I therefore really don’t want it to hurt you this time. Make sense?

    When asked to compare the “for loop” and “while loop,” he said “You know that?” – not quite appropriate in the teaching setting!”

    Brainstorm possible questions you could ask to get students involved in your lesson

    Brainstorm how you could “include students in your thinking” by the language you choose to use, e.g. “So we do . . . . here, right?”

    Brainstorm possible ways you could respond to students’ incorrect answers in a way that is unlikely to shame or offend them and thus make them unwilling to answer future questions

    • Via Sounding Interested in Your Topic and Students

      Strengths:

    You looked interested in teaching, which is a VERY important part of being a good teacher ☺

    After the first 30 seconds, you sounded interested in your topic (and therefore interesting to listen to!)

    X, you are an excellent teacher!!! — you sound interested in your topic and interested in teaching your students and have a tone of voice that communicates to students that you care about their learning. This will make your students comfortable asking you questions ☺

    • Weaknesses:

    X, you started out (for about the first 30 seconds) not sounding at all interested in your topic, like you really didn’t want to be in class. This will make your students not want to be in your class either — make sense? (If I were an OECT rater, this would start me off wanting to rate you very low. . . .)

    Watch the video for one of your recent presentations (or that of someone whose presentation ability you highly respect) and notice 1) facial expressions or gestures or tone of voice used that communicate either interest in teaching and in listeners or disinterest in teaching or in listeners. Identify one specific change you can make in your next lesson/presentation to communicate to listeners that your topic is interesting and/or that you care about them and their learning — Make sense?

    • Watch TED talks, taking notes for each talk on the specific techniques that speaker applied, enabling him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially caught the audience’s attention, connected his or her topic to real life, used supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicated passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if that technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the speaker’s techniques to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.Via Handling Problems Smoothly

      Strengths:

    In both your OPI and TEACH exam, whenever you had trouble communicating something, you did a good job of rephrasing / repronouncing / adding visual support / etc. so your listener(s) ultimately could understand your meaning ☺

    Good job gracefully accepting your student’s correction of your syntax ☺

    Good job in gracefully handling your accidental math mistake on the board☺

    Good job handling having more time than what you actually planned material for — you very smoothly moved to talking about why this is important ☺

    • Weaknesses: 

    Students will understand you more easily if you write new topics and technical terms on the board whenever you introduce them, because they then won’t get distracted by wondering whether they’ve spelled this new term correctly in their notes or by wondering whether they’ve understood your pronunciation of the new term correctly — Make sense?

    Brainstorm potentially “tricky” parts of your lesson/presentation (or a list of concepts in your field/textbook that you know undergrads tend to struggle with) and use Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice explaining these concepts in a 1) easy-to-understand and 2) interesting way

    Brainstorm potential questions you think students are likely to ask about your lesson and use 4/3/2 to practice answering those questions in a way students are likely to find 1) easy to understand and 2) interesting

    Practice answering “Common Questions for International TAs” available from the University of Minnesota

    Brainstorm (and perhaps practice) possible ways of gracefully handling common classroom “problems,” such as:

    having a student correct a mistake you make on the board or how you’ve expressed something in English

    having more (or less) time than you planned material for today

    having one or two students who dominate your question-answer time/lab work group/etc., thereby making it difficult for other students to participate

    having a student who is reluctant to answer questions you ask to the class

    having a student who is reluctant to participate in group work

    having a student regularly arrive late to class

    having a student regular fail to complete assignments

    having a student respond disrespectfully to you in class

    Exercise your ability to “think on your feet” by practicing role plays of everyday situations

    • Via Appropriate Eye Contact

      Strengths:

    You did a great job of maintaining appropriate eye contact with your “students” during your TEACH exam ☺

    You maintained good eye contact with your “students” during the TEACH exam ☺

    Good eye contact with ALL your students (You did the best of all students at this today!) ☺

    Good eye contact much of the time (sometimes only with X’s side of the room, though) ☺

    Good eye contact with your student who asked the questions and sometimes also with the rest of the class/with the girls’ side of the room, even though as a math major you frequently need to write on the board ☺

    Good eye contact with your students, so you saw X immediately when she asked her question (though when answering a student’s question, don’t just look at that student — most likely, other students have the same question, so make eye contact with all students just like you normally would, except begin and end with the student who asked the question and increase the number of times you look at that student throughout your explanation process to make sure he/she, who asked the question, is definitely following your answer — make sense? ☺)

    Good job only looking at the board when you really need to — at the beginning of the semester I was concerned I wouldn’t succeed at helping you to make eye contact enough with your students to enable you to catch when they were having trouble understanding your explanation — now I don’t think you’re likely to have any problem with that at all

  • I know eye contact with female students is hard for you because in your culture, it’s understood differently than in the U.S., but you actually did a fairly good job at this — Wow!!!

Weaknesses:

  • It seemed like you looked only at X basically the whole time (e.g. I raised my hand for probably a minute before you saw me ☹)You basically never looked at us, only at the board ☹X, did you make so “little eye contact” with your students because Korean cultural norms regarding appropriate eye contact are different than U.S. cultural norms? Or do you think it was because you were nervous? Unfortunately, teachers who make inadequate eye contact in the U.S. often experience student behavior problems because American students tend to believe that teachers who appear not to be confident do so because they’re not competent, i.e. they often think “If she herself doesn’t believe she’s qualified to teach, why should I think so!?! Such students may also wonder “Is she not confident because she doesn’t know her field or because she doesn’t know how to teach? — and because they don’t know the answer to that question, they tend not to trust even the content you’re teaching! (FYI: This can severely impact American student politeness toward you because in U.S. culture — unlike many Asian cultures — respect is viewed as something that must be earned and most definitely not something given merely because you happen to have a particular job position. Thus, if students think based on your apparent lack of confidence that you yourself don’t believe you’re competent enough in your field to teach them, they will feel angry that they’re in/paying for your class. . . .and they will probably not hide these feelings! ☹  Therefore, work hard regarding apparent confidence to “fake it till you make it” — Make sense?  (I assume that, in fact, you already do already feel confident in your understanding of the content you are teaching, but because confidence in your ability to teach/present is something that naturally grows when you repeatedly experience success, I have built in lots of opportunities — as you know from our syllabus ☺— for you to experience success in teaching/presenting in 180D — Make sense? )Whenever you teach/present, don’t just look at your notes, PowerPoint, or the ceiling. Instead, try to make eye contact with a new student or audience member (in varying parts of the room) approximately every time you begin to make a new point. This will let you see — and let your students/audience members know you care to see — whether or not they’re following your explanation — make sense?Turn sometimes to the guys‘ side of the room and make eye contact with them, too (so you can see — and so they know you care to see — whether or not they’re following your explanation) — make sense?Remember ALWAYS to turn back after writing on the board to make eye contact with your students (“The board is for your audience, not for you!”), so you can see — and so they know you care to see — whether or not they’re following your explanation — make sense? (This is very important!!!)
    When answering a student’s question, don’t just look at that student — most likely, other students have the same question, so make eye contact with all students just like you normally would, except begin and end with the student who asked the question and increase the number of times you look at that student throughout your explanation process to make sure he/she, who asked the question, is definitely following your answer — make sense? ☺
    • Watch TED talks, taking notes for each talk on the specific techniques that speaker applied, enabling him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially caught the audience’s attention, connected his or her topic to real life, used supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicated passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if that technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the speaker’s techniques to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.

    • Via Appropriate Volume

      Strengths:

    In your TEACH exam, you spoke appropriately loudly for the size of your classroom and distribution of “students” in it ☺ (This is fantastic, because Korean speakers often struggle with this in English since the “loudness” norms in our two languages tend to be somewhat different ☺)

    Great volume — I’m not at all worried about your volume as a teacher anymore! (I was really concerned at the beginning I wouldn’t be able to succeed in helping you master this problem. . . but you definitely have. I’m soooooooooooooo proud of you!!!)

    • Weaknesses:

    You spoke a little too quietly for the size of the classroom you were teaching in and for the distribution of students in it

    X, you spoke very quietly for the size of our classroom and the distribution of people in our room. Especially at first, I had trouble following you because of this. Also, this makes you sound less confident (and therefore not trustworthy as a teacher) and also less interesting — make sense?

    X, do you think you spoke overly softly because the “loudness” norms in Telugu are softer than in American English? Or do you think it was because you were nervous? Unfortunately, teachers who speak overly softly in the U.S. often experience student behavior problems because American students tend to believe that teachers who appear not to be confident do so because they’re not competent, i.e. they often think “If she herself doesn’t believe she’s qualified to teach, why should I think so!?! Such students may also wonder “Is she not confident because she doesn’t know her field or because she doesn’t know how to teach? — and because they don’t know the answer to that question, they tend not to trust even the content you’re teaching! (FYI: This can severely impact American student politeness toward you because in U.S. culture — unlike many Asian cultures — respect is viewed as something that must be earned and most definitely not something given merely because you happen to have a particular job position. Thus, if students think based on your apparent lack of confidence that you yourself don’t believe you’re competent enough in your field to teach them, they will feel angry that they’re in/paying for your class. . . .and they will probably not hide these feelings! ☹  Therefore, work hard regarding apparent confidence to “fake it till you make it” — Make sense?  (I assume that, in fact, you already do already feel confident in your understanding of the content you are teaching, but because confidence in your ability to teach/present is something that naturally grows when you repeatedly experience success, I have built in lots of opportunities — as you know from our syllabus ☺— for you to experience success in teaching/presenting in 180D — Make sense? )

    You’re still not yet consistent in speaking appropriately loudly for the American context, so keep working on this, e.g. via Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 in a large classroom, pretending you’re speaking to someone in the back of the classroom who is very interested in what you’re saying, but is a little deaf ☺

  • Watch TED talks, taking notes for each talk on the specific techniques that speaker applied, enabling him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially caught the audience’s attention, connected his or her topic to real life, used supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicated passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if that technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the speaker’s techniques to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.
  • (I assume you were too loud because you accidentally over-accommodated to English norms, knowing that Korean speakers often struggle with speaking loudly enough in English since the “loudness” norms in our two languages tend to be somewhat different. . . .however, via your many presentations throughout our semester, I think you’ll naturally learn appropriate presentation volume relative to American norms )
    • Via Your Confidence as a Teacher

    X, although the raters indicate your “enthusiasm”/”presence” was “satisfactory,” this is a lower rating than they gave you for most other things. Maybe this is explained by the following comment: She has good pronunciation, nicely slow for teaching a class. She was just not that confident and experienced.” American students tend to believe that teachers who show lack of confidence do so because they’re not competent, i.e. they often think “If she herself doesn’t believe she’s qualified to teach, why should I think so!?! Such students may also wonder “Is she not confident because she doesn’t know her field or because she doesn’t know how to teach? — and because they don’t know the answer to that question, they tend not to trust even the content you’re teaching! (FYI: This can severely impact American student politeness toward you because in U.S. culture — unlike many Asian cultures — respect is viewed as something that must be earned and most definitely not something given merely because you happen to have a particular job position. Thus, if students think based on your apparent lack of confidence that you yourself don’t believe you’re competent enough in your field to teach them, they will feel angry that they’re in/paying for your class. . . .and they will probably not hide these feelings! ☹  Therefore, work hard regarding apparent confidence to “fake it till you make it” — Make sense?  (I assume that, in fact, you already do already feel confident in your understanding of the content you are teaching, but because confidence in your ability to teach/present is something that naturally grows when you repeatedly experience success, I have built in lots of opportunities — as you know from our syllabus ☺— for you to experience success in teaching/presenting in 180D — Make sense? )

    X, both your eye contact and volume were rated as merely “satisfactory.” I wonder if this explains the fact that your “enthusiasm”/”presence” score is also merely “satisfactory” when basically all your other global scores are higher. That is, perhaps the fact that you were apparently often “too shy” to look at your audience and the fact that your volume was unusually low for the American context (given the size of the room you were in) caused the raters to feel you were either uncertain of your content and/or of your own ability to communicate. Obviously, when you’re sounding uncertain, it’s very hard to communicate either enthusiasm or “presence”!

    X, don’t say “I think the professor explained/said, etc.” This will make your American students think you actually don’t know whether the professor said it or not, maybe because you were too lazy to talk to the professor to find out whether or not he said that or, if the professor of that course requires you to attend the undergrad class you TA for, that you were too lazy to pay attention to what the professor said and didn’t say — make sense?

    You’re still not yet consistent in speaking appropriately loudly for the American context, so keep working on this, e.g. via Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 in a large classroom, pretending you’re speaking to someone in the back of the classroom who is very interested in what you’re saying, but is a little deaf ☺

  • Watch TED talks, taking notes for each talk on the specific techniques that speaker applied, enabling him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially caught the audience’s attention, connected his or her topic to real life, used supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicated passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if that technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the speaker’s techniques to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.
  • Make a habit of identifying exactly how the content you’re presenting can benefit your audience (whether classmates, conference attendees, or whoever) and then make sure you’re presenting that content as clearly/interestingly as you can figure out how to do it, in order to help your audience truly learn it. If you focus your attention on communicating your content as best as you can to help your audience, you’ll have much less time to worry about whether or not you’re “qualified enough” or whether or not you’re the “best person” to present your content/do your job or other confidence-destroying thoughts! In reality, it very, very, very rarely matters whether you’re the best person to be doing a job or not, because in fact, you’re the only person available to share information your students/audience need. . . .that is, if you don’t share this information with your students/audience, they’re likely  never to get it! So focus your attention on figuring out and practicing how to present the valuable information you offer as clearly/interestingly as you can figure out how to do it, in order to help your audience truly learn it. Make sense?Think through exactly what you have to offer as a second-language speaker of English that is difficult or impossible for native speakers of English to offer 1) their ESL/EFL students and 2) the pronunciation/applied linguistics pedagogy and research fields. Speaking English as a second language does have real advantages — for example, Jin Kim’s COCA introduction video would be much less convincing if it had been produced by a native speaker of English: http://youtu.be/dZiO88Z5xAI). Also, think through whether there are any areas of teaching/research that interest you for which it doesn’t matter whether you’re a native or nonnative speaker of English. That is, in some cases, your L1/L2 status probably makes no difference at all. In many other cases, native- and nonnative-English-speakers both have real advantages and strengths (and disadvantages and weaknesses!) to bring to the teaching/research “table.” Therefore, one of the best ways of capitalizing on our different strengths and neutralizing our different weaknesses for the greatest benefit possible is working together and choosing consistently to learn from one another.

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