Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Classroom Observations

  1. Left-handed instructors make their 0s clockwise, while right-handed instructors make them counter-clockwise.

  2. When we give a novice instructor a class of 70 precalculus students (self- and test-identified as "bad at math") in an awkwardly shaped classroom (do we give a tuition discount for the obstructed-view seats behind the support pillar?) where the only door is in the back, we shouldn't be surprised when the students don't learn very much in class.

  3. When you bring your own multi-pack of dry erase markers in every color under the sun and then proceed to use all the colors, changing at random, are you intending to give your audience (class) a view into synesthesia by proxy? Do you have a point? Otherwise, it's sort of distracting.

  4. Your job is not to "show" them the material. It is to "teach" the material. These are not the same thing.

  5. I'm not really sure how much my students follow in real time, either.

  6. Your students ignore me entirely. Before class they talk about you and criticize you. Rarely do they complain about your classroom presentation. Most often they complain about grading. You need to be clear about what you expect, and you need to return graded assignments quickly.

  7. In the classes where the instructor knew (at least some of) the students' names (as evidenced by the returning of quizzes, taking attendance, etc.), things went more smoothly. (Correlation is not causation, and, thankfully, I was only observing a small sample of classes.)

  8. I learned a lot by watching you teach. I wonder if there is a way to get the new instructors to observe each other and to observe especially effective classrooms.