I’d like to share a story of my micro-teaching session. This microteaching activity is a part of summative evaluations in HWG702 – University Teaching for Teaching Assistants. This course is both the one I like the most and I hate the most. The content of the subject itself is very interesting for me. It mostly talks about how people actually learn, how to facilitate an ideal learning process.
What I felt when I was entering each class was the feeling of enthusiasm since many concepts are based on psychological perspective; and you know, I once really wanted to major in psychology (however, my parents weren’t supportive of this plan). The only thing which I most hate is a pile of assignments given in this course.
Actually, there is a lot that I want to write about the content of the course (pedagogical training) but, in this post I just want to share my experience on doing the microteaching. (I first started to write this post on 8th of November but haven’t managed to continue it till tonight)
We had to conduct a 10-minutes microteaching session with a topic that is relatively simple for a first year student in our respective field. I myself decided to give a mini-lecture on the very basic concept in radar. In our group, there were two people from physics department (Marcin and Diane, both from Europe), and three people from electrical engineering (me, Jahnvi from India, and one Chinese guyI forgot the name let us call him Mr. X 😦 sorry).
Jahnvi was the first one to teach. She discussed digital watermarking. After that, Mr. X gave us insight about LED. He also gave us the chance to play with real LED. Then, Marcin taught us about Nuclear Powerplant. It’s interesting that he mentioned Fukushima as I did a sit in at a Sociology class which was discussing this accident (the course taught by Indonesian prof, Mas Sulfikar Amir). For the activity session he gave us a little quiz and introduced us to a nuclear powerplant simulator website. Unfortunately, he ran out of time, so we didn’t have the chance to try the website at that time (I think the website is http://www.nuclearpowersimulator.com/).
And then, we finally arrive to the lucky number four: ….. *insert sfx here* ….. myself.
I kicked it off by asking the audience,
“When I say ‘radar’, what are the things come across your mind? There must be some visualization of it right. I want you to not say anything but keep that! Save the picture of it.”
And then, I moved on to the next slide, and asked them if the picture which they had in mind was on the slide. Interestingly, Jahnvi also imagined the image of DoA graphic which I put on my slide.
I was trying to keep calm, but I was so nervous that I had the tendency to lose the words I want to say (Marcin pointed this out). In the evaluation session, I was asked whether I was practicing for this session or not. I said to them I was practicing, but I was too nervous that I couldn’t deliver it according to plan. But in fact, I was not really practicing. I mean, I did visualize how I was going to conduct this session, but I was not really rehearsing to say the exact speech. (I just finished the slide before I came to the class; and I arrived late by the way)
Although I ran out of time before finishing the group discussion session (and I didn’t manage to show them the Bat Echolocation song), the topic of Bat Echolocation turned out very interesting for all of us. Even if I already closed my microteaching session and sat down, we were still discussing about it for the next few minutes. We were still discussing about how a baby bat thinks of a metal plate as a water and tries to lick it.
Peter, the facilitator of this session, told me that on overall, I was quite good. Despite the fact that I was nervous, it was not too obvious. I was still able to move around the class and gave some interactive lecture. And what I did at first (asking a question about what come across audiences’ mind when I say radar) was a good start to gain attention from the audience.
I was so glad that I receive positive feedback.
“He was like gives us a black box, and then he showed us in the next slide about it” (Jahnvi)
“I like it. It didn’t feel like a lecture, it’s more like a casual conversation” (Diane)
“I know being nervous is normal, but you have to practice and get used to it.” (Peter)
And finally, I want to thank Mr. X who filled up the feedback sheet for me. At the end of my evaluation session, Peter was wondering why all of us put the activity session in the end instead of putting it at the beginning of the session. From our reflection, the activity is the thing which engages the audience and makes the learning process interesting, especially if it is related to real-life phenomenon. (it looks like we agreed upon the motive behind the so called bookend procedure)
And then Diane stood up for her turn and said, “Don’t worry my method was very different from the others.“
She gave us some box filled with a powder and asked us to fill it with some water and play with it. Yes you were right, she brought the lab to the class, and the experiment was about to reveal how non-newtonian fluid works. She asked us to do activity first, and gave the explanation on the fly. Her approach was very unusual compared to our common format: gives the explanation first, activity later.
The non-newtonian fluid. I found this video on youtube (YOU DONT SAY).It’s interesting isn’t it?
I got so much lesson from this microteaching session. It turned out that teaching is a job that needs so many things to prepare. We cannot just walk in to the class, show tons of boring slide, speak to ourselves and leave the student nothing in their mind. However still, teaching is very interesting if we can make the student interested on the topic!
See you in the next post!