MicroTeaching Lab 1—-Too little time too many words to utter

Microteaching Lab is an opportunity to teach a 6 mins class and practice and integrate what we’ve learnt so far. The teaching is videotaped and will be watched afterwards for post-session homework. Before we delve into my exciting six minutes, let’s first look at the pre-session assignment on the detailed requirement on the teaching lab. My favorite part of this is on how to efficiently evaluate and communicate with each other about their performances.

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As we will continue to discuss in the program, you should think of in-class time both as an opportunity to present content to students and as an opportunity to give students practice and feedback on their learning. For the first microteaching, we’d like you to focus on presenting content to students. For the second microteaching, we’d like you to then design an in-class activity that will give students practice with that content and provide both you and “your students” feedback on their learning. Sessions 3-5 will help you prepare for you second microteaching. For now, focus on your first microteaching, applying what you learned in Sessions 1 and 2. You should also consider the following Microteaching Components.

Your lesson/presentation can be a “chalk talk” or include a PowerPoint/Keynote presentation. The delivery medium should be appropriate for the content you are presenting.

Your teaching presentation will be recorded, including Q&A and instructor/participant feedback that follows. Please plan to bring a laptop to your microteaching session so your facilitator can easily transfer the digital file to your computer. Or you can use your smart phone to record your presentation. If you prefer this recording method, please be sure to free up ample memory in your device for about 10-12 minutes of video.

Goals for the Session

  • Participants will provide insight to presenters regarding how their teaching is perceived by others.
  • Participants will observe and evaluate other styles of teaching and practice sharing their observations constructively with others.Presenter Information and Session Preparation
  • Each participant should plan to begin the presentation with an explicit statement of the intended learning outcomes. Intended learning outcomes can be written on a board, distributed on sheets for the audience, displayed on a slide, or stated at the beginning of the presentation.
  • Each presenter should:
    o clearly state measurable, specific and achievable ILOs for her/his session o consider the structure as well as the content of her/his presentation
    o utilize the elements of effective presentations

• Group members are expected to participate actively in others’ presentations in two ways:

o Playing “students”: asking questions, and/or answering questions the “teacher” asks.

o Writing down any comments they would like to make during the feedback period.

Comments should focus on evaluating how well the Intended Learning Outcomes articulated by the presenter at the beginning of the talk have been fulfilled. Audience members can also comment on other aspects of the presentation that they may deem important.

Sharing Feedback & Criticism

“Own” your messages. State your reactions with “I” rather than “you” as audience reactions vary. By owning your own reactions, you allow for the possibility of different responses. (You might invite other reactions as well.) Examples: “I appreciated the way you explained topic X,” or “I was confused when you said . . . because . . .”

Be specific and concrete. While it might be nice to know that someone liked your introduction, it doesn’t tell you very much. Instead, one could say, for example, “I liked the concrete illustrations of the theory X,” or “I liked the way you included your own background and interest in the introduction.”

Focus on presentation behavior, not on personality characteristics and judgments. For example, say “I would have liked more eye contact” rather than “It’s clear you’re really not interested in us since you never look at us.” Also, limit comments to behaviors that are changeable. Distracting gestures can be brought under control.

Calling attention to a stutter, however, is probably not helpful in a public setting.

Distinguish between observations, inferences, and judgments. All of these have some role in evaluation but they are quite different.

  • Observations have to do with what we see and hear; inferences and conclusions we reach based on those observations and judgments and/or evaluative response.
  • Listeners observe differently, and, more importantly, draw different inferences and judgments from what they see and hear. Therefore, start by reporting your observations and then explain what you inferred from them.
  • Speakers can hear a great deal of feedback on observations. Inferences and judgments are better received when the observations they are based on are clear. For example, “I noticed that you made eye contact with the students, which made me feel that you were genuinely trying to engage their attention.”Balance positive and negative comments. Try to emphasize the positive aspects of a presentation that the presenter can build upon constructively in the future to improve his/her style.

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I will not upload my six exhilarating minutes of teaching for a small group of five here due to my lack of eye contact with the camera and the unfinished content that could leave any viewer either in dying desire to find out more or utter confusion and disgust.

 

Since my reflection on the teaching footage will be presented later, let me recall briefly my personal experience during the teaching presentation first.

The class is focused on the experimental evidence and mathematical formulation of uncertainty relations. My biggest mistake is to think I could fit both in a six minutes class. Human brain is one funny machinery,  it inflates time when one is talking to oneself, and when you try to convert your thought stream through physical control of your mechanical body motion, time flies by without notice. One possible explanation is: the part of brain that processes and derives new informations is less active when the body is moving at the same time(speaking), and the cognitive function slow down which is manifested as a loss track of time. Long story short, I went over the material again and again each within just a couple of minutes, but when I actually put myself by the blackboard, the content of my teaching material suddenly soak up the time I have faster than I can prepare for it.

So…I barely finished Stern-Garlech experiment before time was up. Was a bummer how I failed to trim the content of teaching to slow down the pace and communicate better with the student. But on the bright side, I learnt one of the most important lessons by teaching the lesson: do more thinkings on the presentation means than the content, less is more!

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Reflections on your microteaching presentation

After you complete your microteaching session, please critically review the video of your presentation (don’t be too hard on yourself). Send an email (within 3 days of your presentation) directly to your instructor with the following information:

  1. What are three (3) things you noticed that you did well?
  2. What are three (3) things you will continue to work on? 

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3 things I noticed I did well from the video footage of my micro teaching are:

  1. My tone is very enthusiastic and exciting. My sound is definitely loud enough.
  2. I looked like I was solving the problem myself. This is also the kind of gesture that gets me interested in getting engaged with lecturer back when I was taking classes: an improvisational problem solving session is always more intriguing than a review session. I never liked the class where teacher is simply recounting what she/he already knew without reformulating the problem for student and solve it with them.
  3. I designed a sequence of experimental settings where students can go through with me in deducting what will be found at the measurement end. This simple strategy can easily capture student’s attention and break down the complex topic into more tangible pieces.

3 things I will continue working on.

  1. I haven’t had much eye contact with students and the speed of my speech is usually either very fast or stuttering.
  2. I like to delve into the detail of the algebraic explanation first as to sacrifice the time for bigger physical picture which might be more important for students to absorb during a lecture.
  3. I wasn’t taking everyone with me: some students were left at the bus stop. Did not ask enough questions and then re-adjust according to student’s reaction.

Love my classmate’s comment: props for you trying to teach the whole quantum mechanics in six minutes.

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