Re: Open Discussion

Daniel A Ponech (dapst26+@PITT.EDU)
Thu, 3 Mar 1994 18:34:10 -0500

I have been stymied almost every time I tried to do more to improve my ability
to teach and operate in the classroom. While working as a Tutor I at York
University in Toronto, I tried to get in on a course offered to grad
students on "University Teaching and Learning". Imagine! A *course* on
teaching techniques! I checked calendars from universities all over
Canada and found only a couple of other schools that even listed courses
of this type. It didn't take long for the course to fill and my chance to
get in on the experience as a non-degree student evaporated. (The course
hadn't been offered in years; "lack of interest" was citied as the reason
why it was originally taken off the books. It filled to capacity in
record time.)

The most any school has offered me in terms of helping learn to teach was
a couple of seminars or weekend workshops. When I went looking for a
Ph.D. programme, I asked about what the school had to offer in terms of
"teacher training". "Well, you might get a T.A.ship" was the usual
answer. "But what training?" I would press. This was followed by "eer"'s
and "ummm"'s and a change of subject.

Now that I'm on my way in a Ph.D., ("On my way in a Ph.D." Sounds like a
car advertisement, doesn't it?) I am constantly reminded by my professors
about the value of good teaching. Based on what others have written, I'm sure
other grad students have heard the same. Despite the lofty words, I am no
further ahead in developing concrete techniques for developing courses,
evaluating students, etc.

Have other grad students, past and present, had any success in developing
programmes for teacher training through their grad councils or other
organizations? I am tired of relying on others and am prepared to sit
down with my grad council to start small with a series of seminars and
workshops. After that, I figure it's time to press the university. Is it
worth it?

Daniel A. Ponech Welcome to the University of the 90's;
University of Pittsburgh Where we've got what it takes,
To take what you've got!
David Reimer