Apprenticeship Teaching

Elizabeth Losh

Office hours are Mondays 12:00-1:00 in PCYN 249

Contact: lizlosh (at) ucsd (dot) edu


Best Practices - Classroom Peer Observation

Please note: Peer observation serves a fundamentally different purpose from the regular official classroom visits of the Director or Associate Directors of CAT. Of course, we want to make even official observations positive experiences that develop your abilities and confidence as an instructor, as anxiety-producing as they might sometimes be, but we recognize the fact that your teaching peers can provide unique insights in a special environment of trust as you explore the roles of being teachers together.

Before Your Visit: Review tips about best practices in the CAT TA handbook.

During Your Visit: Have your peer introduce you, hopefully by emphasizing the importance of team teaching and professional development in CAT. Take thorough notes to refer to later. Focus on describing what you see and hear rather than interpreting it or evaluating it. Don't forget to note the time when the instructor you are observing switches to a new activity in the lesson plan, so you can reconstruct how time was used later. You may also want to take note of how many students spoke during the section and how often.

After Your Visit:

Write a description of the specific best practices that you observed during your classroom visit and how those teaching practices were implemented. Refer to the handbook, if possible. Your comments should be purely laudatory, although the praise should be backed up with evidence in the form of concrete examples. E-mail your peer partner privately with your observations, so that your colleague has the benefit of seeing what you observed first-hand during your visit. From the e-mail that you will receive in return, you can gain more language for talking about your individual strengths as a teacher in applications and interviews.

For the CAT 500 seminar descriptions of best practices in CAT teaching that were manifested during the observation period can be submitted collaboratively and without any identifying details to the instructor of record. For example, many TA groups in CAT classes are planning to author a single document that includes a range of different creative and effective ideas for teaching in section. Please use gender neutral language such as "the classroom instructor" or "the discussion leader."


Research - Annotation Wiki

In Winter you will be asked to read at least one scholarly article or book devoted to pedagogy in an area of your choice. The faculty instructor of record may have stronger expertise in certain areas (in my case digital pedagogy, composition pedagogy, and feminist pedagogy), but she or he will refer you to faculty able to help you find a good bibliogaphic reference in your area. Write a five hundred word annotation that can be posted to the class wiki, so that your fellow CAT TAs can benefit from your research.


Statement of Teaching Philosophy

As the capstone assignment for CAT 500, you will compose a common document needed by jobseekers: The Statement of Teaching Philosophy. The Fall and Winter assignments should be useful, since this can be a difficult genre to produce without relying on platitudes. Take advantage of what you have learned from your partner's observation of your teaching practices and from your own research in the scholarly literature about college pedagogy to create a 1-2 page document that expresses a strong vision and compelling experience that you would bring to the campus of your choice.