In this observation essay, we will try to discuss about the various teaching methods and practices which are included by a professor when teaching their students. So, there was two class which were observed: which included one taken by the major professor and the other by the international teaching assistant. I will try to compare both the teaching practices and in what area I should develop while teaching to undergraduate students.
Firstly, I attended the Discrete Math lecture which was taught by the major professor. So, in order to observe the class properly, I tried coming to class early by 11.00AM, so as to observe how the students would react when the professor arrives. Thus, sharp at 11.15 AM the professor arrived in the class and then some of the front bench students smiled and greeted the professor. He replied back with the same smile accent. After the arrival, he started discussing about the previous weekend and a quick revision. The class began with a small orientation as to where they are in the course and what will happen in the upcoming weeks. This was a helpful way to frame the activities of this particular class.
Once done with the revision, the professor continued with the class by defining a new topic called as logic. Everyone seemed interested and some of the started dissing about the topic among themselves. I feel he tried a method called inductive teaching where he started with an example and asked students that is it a negative sentence or positive? Negative, students answered. Then he wanted student students to change the that logic to positive form. And then he explains them how the structure of sentence is made. And next he asked some other examples verbally. I guess this is deductive part of teaching where the teacher explained some of the role and then tried to support that roles with some examples and practices.
Once the class went into the flow, there were some keen students who were asking for doubts. The professor encouraged the doubts and he made sure that his answer satisfied the students. Talking about the communication skills, he was clear, slow and clam. He also tried speaking some terms repeatedly so that everyone could understand. Heavy long terms where written on the whiteboard using black and blue color marker so that the students can differentiate between various complicated terms. Except the blackboard professor also used some of his other teaching material. He used the blackboard neatly. His writings were clear and could be seen from even the last bench and also did not stand parallel to the board making the students facing his back but stand making angle along the white writing board. But professor did not look at the students while writing and the students took the advantage and sometimes they misbehaved. Before going out of the class he completely wiped the board with a damp cloth. In order to make a class more interactive and fun, he tried to have an artistic touch by using some visuals. These visual were a part of the presentation slides and various pointer was used to label the visuals. Also, I would like to add that rather than writing lengthy solutions the professor included it in the presentation in order to save the time.
Talking about the use of space, the professor continuously moved inside the class across the front bench and made sure everyone in the class is attentive. The whiteboard was on the left side and the presentation was played on the right side of the class. So, basically, he tried to connect everything from the presentation slides and the whiteboard. All students were engaged throughout the entire class. A couple students were quiet, but Professor Seyeadmin encouraged them to participate by calling them by name, giving them time to think, and coming back to them. For instance, once she said, “Why don’t you think about that topic, and we’ll return back to you.” This was an effective strategy to pull into the discussion without too much stress for the student because it gave the student time to gather their thoughts. The students did not ask the professor a lot of questions due to the fact that he always modeled what he wanted his students to say. I found this to be very interesting, because the professor spent about 95 percent of the class using the target language which is English. I learned from the professor that the class had been working on the same topic and instructions for almost five weeks. Due to this aspect, the students were already familiar with most of the commands given to them by the teacher.
So overall the professor was confident and clear about his teaching and made sure that his students learned well. He always acknowledges the students and appreciated them for asking the questions.
Classroom Structure: All the windows are at the back side of the class and the only door is in the right side of the room. There were bench and table available for students. The bench and the table are semi-joined and can be adjusted. The benches were not that much congested. Students have space to easily move. The whiteboard is put in the wall of the class.
After that, I went attend a discussion class which was taken by Mr. Farid who is an International Teaching assistant. The class was a short class of 50 minutes where the students came and meet their TA in order to discuss their doubts and talk about their current homework assignment. Mr. Farid had a good teaching experience before, so he was quite friendly with the students. But once major thing he lacked was a good fluency in the English language since it was never his first language. Thus, I could hear occasional stammering and pauses between the conversations. Although he made sure that the students understood his explanation by repeating what he said earlier. One of the students asked about the current assignment, but he politely asked the student to see him in the office hours. I think this was a brilliant move as the explanation would have wasted the time of entire class and the student asking the question also did not feel bad.
Mr. Farid has a practice of saying ”wow”. This is appropriate to give praise. But I suggest that while it is often appropriate to say “wow” or “good” that sometimes teachers get into the habit of giving praise, and it does not necessarily explain to a student why it is good. Therefore, I suggest that Mr. Farid should think about perhaps saying something different once in a while rather than “wow.” The type of feedback I would suggest should more instructive, informing students why it is a good comment. For instance, “I can observe that you understood the concept really well,” or “You framed that response in a unique way,” etc. I think Mr. Farid did this a few times, and obviously, it takes time to notice and to think of a different type of response. He says “wow” far more often, though, and I suggest that it simply reflects upon this as his teaching response.
Talking about the grammar and compression Mr. Farid tried every-time that he speaks correctly. Also, sometimes he tried correcting himself while explaining some concepts to the students. He also used an effective classroom assessment technique to sum up the activities of the class. He gave each student an index card and asked them to write in one sentence the answer to this question- “What was the most important thing you learned today?” Students read their responses to the class just before they left for the day. There are 35-40 students in the discussion class. All the students were constituted of males and females. No gender differentials emerged during the class session.
In the end of the discussion Mr. Farid gave homework to the class and also mention that a copy would be uploaded on ELC. He corrected some of the late homework copy and gave back the copies to the respective students. But he did not give any feedback regarding that particular homework. I would suggest him create more comfortable situation in the class making the students more motivated and encouraged.
Overall, the involvement of the Teacher Assistant was good and students who participated in the class also tried to interact.
In conclusion, I tried compare both professor and ITA and to grasp the key important points. One major thing I learned from the observation is to maintain my calmness and a good in class interaction in order to make sure that everyone in the class understands the concepts. Also, one would use the class space wisely and always ask for questions after the end of explaining the concepts. Taking LLED 7769 helped me in improving my commination skills, my confidence, and grammatical errors. I hope to implement every positive thing I learned in my future presentation and class lectures.