The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning provides comprehensive resources, programs, and support for GSAS students who work as teaching fellows and teaching assistants.


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The 2012 Summer Seminar Series

Posted Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Click here to learn more and to sign up for the Bok Center's innovative summer seminars. And read about requirements for the Teaching Certificate Program. 


Theater of the Classroom: Performance Techniques for Teachers
The seminar will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1–4 p.m., July 3– July 19.

In this intensive workshop, we will use the Bok Center's Experimental Teaching Lab as a studio--a rehearsal space in which we work to develop our acting (i.e. teaching) skills through improv, vocal/physical training, and on-camera workshops.  And since the drama of the classroom also requires the teacher to play the role of director, we will think about the ways in which we craft the space of the performance (the classroom) and shape the performances of our ensemble of actors (the students).


This I Believe–Or Do I?  Developing and Stating Your Teaching Philosophy
This seminar will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1–3 p.m., July 24–August 9.

As those of you headed for the academic job market know, it is becoming increasingly standard for search committees to request that applicants submit a "Statement of Teaching Philosophy."  Unfortunately, applicants often find themselves struggling to prepare such statements at the last minute, often while simultaneously attempting to polish writing samples to perfection or even to finish off dissertations.  Moreover, as busy teachers and researchers, most of us find it quite difficult to carve out the necessary time and space during the academic year to arrive at insightful and original positions on teaching, and we can't very well offer a "Statement" if there's no philosophy to state.

Under these less than ideal conditions, we risk producing platitudinous clichés rather than original ideas, and doing nothing to separate ourselves from the 300 other applicants.  We may claim to empower students to think critically for themselves, or to champion the role of debate and open discussion in the classroom, or to believe in active learning–but who doesn’t? We all tend to grasp at the same low-hanging fruit, so we all end up sounding alike.  And from the search committee’s perspective this deadening repetition makes all of us appear several degrees less interesting as teachers than we actually are.

If you'd like to get ahead of the game, and to spend a couple of weeks during the summer thinking about teaching at a more leisurely and thoughtful pace with some like-minded colleagues, sign up for the Bok Center Seminar on "Teaching Philosophy."  We will begin by reading and discussing some representative (but short!) selections from some major writers on teaching–from Socrates to Dewey–and by looking at some recent research on teaching and learning. We will then proceed to look at some sample Teaching Statements before drafting, workshopping and revising our own.



Contact Shelley Westover (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more information.