Events



TA Guide For Survival: Tips For Teaching In The Classroom

Drs. Judith McLean and Michael Kane, Biological Basis of Behavior and Senior Graduate Students from Neuroscience and Psychology

Wednesday, August 31 | 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Trishala Parthasarathi, CTL Graduate Fellow, Neuroscience

Location: Richards B404

Summary: All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the Neursocience department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

The Ancient Language Classroom

Professor James Ker, Classics

Tuesday, September 13 | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Jane Sancinito, CTL Graduate Fellow, Ancient History

Location: 251 Cohen Hall

Summary: All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the Classics department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

Preparing A Teaching Portfolio For The Job Market

Professors Ian Fleishman, German and Rahul Mukherjee, English and Cinema Studies

Thursday, September 15 | 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Erika Kontulainen, CTL Graduate Fellow, German

Location: Max Cade Center, Room 329-A, 3401 Walnut St.

Summary: All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the German department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

Turning Fun Topics Into Serious Classes: Creating The Communication Course Syllabus

Professor Sharrona Pearl, Communication

Thursday, September 15 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Elena Maris, CTL Graduate Fellow, Communication

Location: ASC room 300

Summary: All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the Communication department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

Knowing Where to Begin: The Art Of The Syllabus

Professor Josephine Park, English

Wednesday, September 21 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Najnin Islam, CTL Graduate Fellow, English

Location: Fisher Bennett Hall, Room 330

Summary: In this workshop we will discuss ways to effectively construct syllabi and design our own courses. As instructors we are faced with a set of decisions that often, though not always, precede syllabi making. Questions such as, do we begin with a theme, a set of central questions or make periodization a key defining factor in the architecture of the syllabus? We will address some of these questions as well as talk about the ways in which we might shift the structure of the syllabus (or not) depending on the composition of the class we are teaching. How, for example, might the syllabus for an introductory class differ from that of an upper level seminar? Alternatively, how differently would we need to craft a syllabus for a general seminar compared to one aimed specifically for students majoring in the discipline?
Participants are requested to bring a syllabus with them. This can either be one they constructed or from a class they liked. We will have a conversation about these and hopefully generate useful strategies for our own work.
All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the English department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

Giving Good Feedback On Written Assignments

SaraEllen Strongman, CTL Graduate Fellow, Africana Studies

Monday, September 26 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: This workshop will offer graduate students an opportunity to discuss efficient and effective strategies for providing feedback on students’ written assignments. We will discuss the purpose of providing feedback to students and how to use feedback on assignments to help students improve their work in the future. We will also discuss the challenges of crafting feedback that enables students to understand grades—both letter and quantitative. This workshop is oriented toward graduate students teaching in the humanities and qualitative social sciences, but all students are welcome. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

More Participation, Less Observation: Leading Innovative Recitations

Dr. Meg Kassabaum, Anthropology

Tuesday, September 27 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Paul Mitchell, CTL Graduate Fellow, Anthropology

Location: Museum 345

Summary: This workshop is a space for discussion and inquiry about the art of the recitation. In addition to providing an open space for troubleshooting and questions, we will focus on asking how we can improve and move beyond techniques of guided discussion to encourage a culture of active, creative, and critical learning in recitation. All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the Anthropology department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

Managing Student Stress

Elena Maris, CTL Graduate Fellow, Communications

Wednesday, September 28 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: In this workshop, we will explore intersections of stress, mental illness, and learning in the university classroom. We will discuss how stress impacts learning, differences and overlaps between healthy, normal stress, distress, and mental illness, and possible signs that indicate that a student is struggling in the classroom. Workshop attendees will leave with strategies for helping students navigate intense periods of stress, information on how to connect students to resources on campus (like Counseling and Psychological Services), and ideas for promoting a culture of wellness in the classroom. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Teaching Sensitive Topics

Shantee Rosado, CTL Graduate Fellow, Sociology

Wednesday, September 28 | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: Teaching on sensitive topics – such as race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion – elicits specific concerns and responsibilities. What if a student cries or argues in class? What if a student says something racist or sexist? In this workshop, participants will discuss how to address sensitive topics and anticipate potential pitfalls in doing so at different stages of a course. Participants will discuss ways to address sensitive subjects at the front-end of course design (for example, while drafting lesson plans). Participants will also discuss how to address these issues in the classroom, where disagreements between students might arise or they themselves may be discomfited. Finally, participants will address how to mediate classroom conflicts when they do occur. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Teaching Research Methods

Professor Deborah Thomas, Anthropology & Africana Studies

Thursday, September 29 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: SaraEllen Strongman, CTL Graduate Fellow, Africana Studies

Location: Africana Studies Conference Room, 3401A Walnut Street, Third Floor

Summary: All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the Africana Studies department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

How To Help Students Improve Across The Semester

Erika Kontulainen, CTL Graduate Fellow, German

Monday, October 3 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: In this workshop we will discuss strategies for how to help students improve and make progress across the semester, both in terms of course content and more generally, in making students aware of their own learning process. Some of these strategies include communicating to students the goals and objectives for a course, designing valid and reliable course assignments, and being explicit about what students need to do in order to meet the criteria and expectations for a particular assignment or course. In this context, we will also be speaking about the importance of formative assessment and feedback as tools for progress and long-term learning. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Teaching Outside Your Field

Stan Najmr, CTL Graduate Fellow, Chemistry

Tuesday, October 4 | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: There is a certain comfort to teaching within your field. You know the nomenclature, the values, and the content pretty well. However, there may be an instance in the future (or present!) when you must teach a subject outside of your expertise. This may seem challenging, but it does not have to be. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies that you may employ to best prepare yourself to teach a class or course outside of your discipline. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Teaching Problem-Solving in STEM Classes

Trishala Parthasarathi, CTL Graduate Fellow, Neuroscience

Wednesday, October 5 | 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: Problem-solving is an important part of STEM classes and there are various ways to implement this in the classroom. In this workshop, we will focus on how different strategies can be used depending on the goals of the TA and professor. In addition, we will examine problem-solving from the students’ point of view and discuss how that might determine what approaches to use in the classroom. TAs leading recitation sections and other types of sessions that focus on problem sets are encouraged to attend. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Working With Struggling Students

Theo Lim, CTL Graduate Fellow, City & Regional Planning

Wednesday, October 12 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: In this workshop we will address approaches to identifying and helping students who are struggling to understand course material. We will discuss how to use different classroom settings to clarify topics that many students may be struggling with and how to effectively (and efficiently) make use of one-on-one or one-on-few office hours to work with struggling students. In this discussion-based workshop we will also focus on teaching introductory or required quantitative courses, and how to engage students who lack background, interest or confidence in the material. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Motivating Your Students To Do The Reading (And Do It Well)

Paul Mitchell, CTL Graduate Fellow, Anthropology

Wednesday, October 12 | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: Why don’t many students read assigned texts for their courses? And, if they do read, why don’t many students remember or understand what they read? This workshop will address these common concerns by exploring how instructors can frame readings and facilitate discussions so as to motivate students to read well. We will also address some ways that instructors can lead students to learn and practice good reading skills, how instructors can make explicit their expectations about what they want students to gain from assigned readings, and how to match reading and teaching strategies to different texts and disciplines. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Working With Students In Office Hours

Joseph Hoisington, CTL Graduate Fellow, Mathematics

Monday, October 17 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: Office hours are an opportunity to help students directly and individually. This presents some of the same issues as teaching well in the classroom, but it also asks more of us as teachers: To communicate with students one-on-one, to assess an individual student’s needs in greater depth and detail, and to decide how best to respond. In this workshop, we will explore the issues that arise in helping students during office hours, and we will discuss how we can meet them to make office hours support our classes and their learning. We will discuss how, during office hours, we can help students become more independent, confident and self-motivated learners. We will also discuss logistical matters like the scheduling and location of office hours. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Ethnographic Film In The Classroom

Professor Deborah Thomas, Anthropology and Dr. Arjun Shankar, School of Social Policy and Practice

Tuesday, October 18 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Paul Mitchell, CTL Graduate Fellow, Anthropology

Location: 345 Museum

Summary: Anthropology has a longstanding tradition of using film and photography as part of its research praxis. One of its primary vehicles has been the ethnographic film, a filmmaking methodology that takes the study of cultural Others and the ethnographic method as central to how films should be made and the insights that emerge therein. Over the past twenty years, visual techniques have evolved to accommodate the changing nature of ethnographic fieldwork, specifically as it pertains to the changing relation between the anthropologist and her participants. For example, anthropologists have developed filming and editing strategies that seek to de-stabilize the expert gaze, promote participatory approaches, and incorporate strategies to obviate rather than obfuscate the camera’s mediation.
In this session we discuss several ways that we have incorporated these techniques into our classroom practice. What are the special affordances of film towards research and the teaching of ethnography? How does ethnography change how we utilize film and photography? What unique insights might it lend? Dr. Thomas will speak about her use of film as part of her research along with the methods she deploys when having students make films as final projects in her classes. Dr. Shankar will speak about camra, a multimodal research collective here at Penn, along with how he teaches students to make films as part of their learning goals in class.

All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the Anthropology department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

Preparing For Class

Jane Sancinito, CTL Graduate Fellow, Ancient History

Wednesday, October 19 | 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: We think of teaching as something we do in the moment, in the room, with the students, but the ingredients for a successful class are often assembled before we walk through the door. This workshop will discuss techniques to insure that your lesson is as successful as possible. It will focus on the following questions: What are my primary and secondary goals for this lesson? What can I anticipate in my classroom? How can I plan to be flexible in my teaching? How should I budget my time? Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Writing Test Questions In STEM Classes

Rebecca Rivard, CTL Graduate Fellow, Cancer Biology

Thursday, October 20 | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: This workshop will offer graduate students from STEM fields an opportunity to discuss and design a wide variety of test questions. Students will have the opportunity to critique provided questions, create their own questions, and learn the most up-to-date theories regarding test question design.  This workshop will focus on how to make sure that you use test questions in the most effective and efficient ways possible. Students are encouraged to email test questions that they have been working on or are interested in discussing to Rebecca Rivard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at least 2 days before the workshop. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Fostering Student Participation

Najnin Islam, CTL Graduate Fellow, English

Monday, October 24 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: This workshop will focus on developing strategies to promote student participation in the larger context of our pedagogical goals. What kind of questions and exercises might we engage our students in? What other modes of participation, in addition to sharing individual ideas in class, might we encourage and help them to cultivate? We will spend some time reflecting on how moments of silence in class could be harnessed towards productive learning and how we, as instructors, can try to create an environment amenable to different participatory practices. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Identities In The Classroom: Yours And Your Students'

Helen Teng, CTL Graduate Fellow, Nursing

Tuesday, October 25 | 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: Each one of us brings our own individual lens to the classroom and our individual narratives contribute to the make-up of the classroom. This workshop aims to address how individual identities play a part in the classroom dynamic. We will explore our own identities and discuss strategies to tap into students’ identities and ways in which this knowledge may facilitate classroom interactions. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Teaching Students To Identify And Construct Arguments

Noa Hegesh, CTL Graduate Fellow, East Asian Languages & Civilizations

Wednesday, October 26 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Location: 305 Graduate Student Center

Summary: The ability to identify and construct strong arguments are two skills that are at the core of critical thinking. Learning to read for authors’ arguments, and to conceive and enact arguments of their own, are useful tools that will accompany and serve students long after graduation, whether they decide to pursue an academic career or follow a different path. This workshop will offer a few ways to engage with the students and allow them to discover and develop these skills by trial and error, and sheer practice. Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate. Also counts as a follow-up workshop for SAS participants in TA Training.

Protecting Your Students' Privacy

Scott Schafer, University Privacy Officer, Office of Compliance, Audit, and Privacy

Wednesday, October 26 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: SaraEllen Strongman, CTL Graduate Fellow, Africana Studies

Location: Africana Studies Conference Room, 3401A Walnut Street, Third Floor

Summary: Ever wondered if it was okay to post class photographs on Facebook? Discuss a student with another instructor? Share a student’s grade with their parents? This workshop is designed to answer all those questions and more. We will discuss University policy and FERPA regulations related to your students’ privacy rights including common pitfalls and issues with learning disabilities. All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the Africana Studies department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

Teaching The Holocaust

Professor Liliane Weissberg and Al Filreis, Director, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing

Thursday, October 27 | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Erika Kontulainen, CTL Graduate Fellow, German

Location: Kislak Seminar Room 627, Van Pelt Library

Summary: All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the German department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.

Beginning Again: Designing Your First Course

Dr. Nikhil Anand, Anthropology

Thursday, November 10 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Graduate Student Workshops

Convener: Paul Mitchell, CTL Graduate Fellow, Anthropology

Location: Museum 345

Summary: As many graduate students prepare for a career of teaching, in this workshop we will discuss some strategies and techniques for designing and teaching your first course. We will review the arts of producing the syllabus, identifying learning goals, and creating flexible structures through which learning goals can be attained by an increasingly diverse student body. All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the Anthropology department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.
Counts toward the CTL Teaching Certificate.