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Tools and Tips for Teachers

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Being a newcomer to the craft of teaching can be an overwhelming experience, and many new faculty members haven't received the kind of mentoring that allows them to move into the classroom with minimum anxiety and maximum effectiveness... For example, Teaching Tips spends fewer than three pages discussing the creation of a course syllabus; Tools for Teaching devotes a chapter of ∼15 pages to the subject, which includes a two-page checklist of items that a syllabus should address... Others will be helpful to a scientist pressed into service in a first-year seminar or general education course (e.g., facilitating discussion and teaching students to read actively)... Thus it provides an effective roadmap for teaching within one's discipline or for venturing outside it... Finally, “Lifelong Learning for the Teacher” considers how to use these skills to enhance one's own talents throughout one's teaching career... Tools for Teaching is chunked into 12 sections comprising 61 chapters over 556 pages; here the references are given at the end of each chapter rather than at the end of the book, which makes it convenient to locate a reference mentioned in the text for further exploration. “Getting Under Way” addresses similar issues to those covered first in McKeachie's Teaching Tips: designing a course, constructing a syllabus, setting a proper tone in the first classes. “Responding to a Changing Student Body” tackles how to tailor one's teaching for today's diverse student body, broadly construed—adult (older than 22 or 23) students, students with diverse academic preparation, students with disabilities, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and so forth. “Discussion Strategies” obviously focuses on ways to encourage participation in discussion-based classes. “The Large Enrollment Class” covers primarily effective lecturing and ways to personalize the learning experience for students; it is followed by “Alternatives and Supplements to Lectures and Discussion,” which is a grab bag of other means of helping students learn, whose topics range from the expected (e.g., group learning and case studies) to some I found surprising and intriguing, such as using simulations... For example, McKeachie's Teaching Tips contains a chapter on teaching laboratories by Brian Coppola, a topic not addressed by Tools for Teaching, and the final chapter on maintaining vitality is distinctive... On the other hand, a number of practical matters such as effective use of office hours, writing recommendations, and so forth that every faculty member deals with are covered only in Tools for Teaching... I was less familiar with it and worried that my long acquaintance with Teaching Tips might color my review, so I asked two new postdoctoral teaching/research fellows in my department to give their reactions to the books... Somewhat to my surprise, both preferred Tools for Teaching, although both found much worthwhile in both books... These drawbacks notwithstanding, I have long been a fan of McKeachie's Teaching Tips, and I am a new fan of Tools for Teaching... If one were looking to choose only one, McKeachie's Teaching Tips would be a good choice for an experienced teacher looking to expand his or her repertoire of educational skills, while Tools for Teaching is an effective and thorough introduction to the craft of teaching for the newcomer to the classroom.

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Tools and Tips for Teachers
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View Article: PubMed Central

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Being a newcomer to the craft of teaching can be an overwhelming experience, and many new faculty members haven't received the kind of mentoring that allows them to move into the classroom with minimum anxiety and maximum effectiveness... For example, Teaching Tips spends fewer than three pages discussing the creation of a course syllabus; Tools for Teaching devotes a chapter of ∼15 pages to the subject, which includes a two-page checklist of items that a syllabus should address... Others will be helpful to a scientist pressed into service in a first-year seminar or general education course (e.g., facilitating discussion and teaching students to read actively)... Thus it provides an effective roadmap for teaching within one's discipline or for venturing outside it... Finally, “Lifelong Learning for the Teacher” considers how to use these skills to enhance one's own talents throughout one's teaching career... Tools for Teaching is chunked into 12 sections comprising 61 chapters over 556 pages; here the references are given at the end of each chapter rather than at the end of the book, which makes it convenient to locate a reference mentioned in the text for further exploration. “Getting Under Way” addresses similar issues to those covered first in McKeachie's Teaching Tips: designing a course, constructing a syllabus, setting a proper tone in the first classes. “Responding to a Changing Student Body” tackles how to tailor one's teaching for today's diverse student body, broadly construed—adult (older than 22 or 23) students, students with diverse academic preparation, students with disabilities, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and so forth. “Discussion Strategies” obviously focuses on ways to encourage participation in discussion-based classes. “The Large Enrollment Class” covers primarily effective lecturing and ways to personalize the learning experience for students; it is followed by “Alternatives and Supplements to Lectures and Discussion,” which is a grab bag of other means of helping students learn, whose topics range from the expected (e.g., group learning and case studies) to some I found surprising and intriguing, such as using simulations... For example, McKeachie's Teaching Tips contains a chapter on teaching laboratories by Brian Coppola, a topic not addressed by Tools for Teaching, and the final chapter on maintaining vitality is distinctive... On the other hand, a number of practical matters such as effective use of office hours, writing recommendations, and so forth that every faculty member deals with are covered only in Tools for Teaching... I was less familiar with it and worried that my long acquaintance with Teaching Tips might color my review, so I asked two new postdoctoral teaching/research fellows in my department to give their reactions to the books... Somewhat to my surprise, both preferred Tools for Teaching, although both found much worthwhile in both books... These drawbacks notwithstanding, I have long been a fan of McKeachie's Teaching Tips, and I am a new fan of Tools for Teaching... If one were looking to choose only one, McKeachie's Teaching Tips would be a good choice for an experienced teacher looking to expand his or her repertoire of educational skills, while Tools for Teaching is an effective and thorough introduction to the craft of teaching for the newcomer to the classroom.

No MeSH data available.