Education | College Teaching and Instruction
P650 | 6271 | Dr. Jeff Daniels


When I was teaching at Central Washington University, an
undergraduate student in Education raised her hand in my class and
asked a question that was totally unrelated to our discussion
topic. ¡§Why don¡¦t psychologists practice what they preach?¡¨ Taken
aback, I asked her to clarify. She said that in all of her psychology
courses (except mine, of course ļ), the professors talk about how
learning occurs, yet they do not teach in a manner that is conducive
to optimal learning. Instead, they lecture on about seemingly trivial
details. My response was that most of us never learned how to teach
in graduate school. This, I see, is the ultimate objective of P650 ¡V
to help you learn how to be a better teacher.

Also borrowing from the days when I taught Educational Psychology to
undergrads, I frequently had students ask: ¡§What is the best method
of instruction?¡¨ My response? ¡§That depends.¡¨ In 1967, Gordon Paul
stated that the question is not ¡§What system of psychotherapy is the
best?¡¨ Rather, the question is ¡§What treatment, by whom, is most
effective for this individual with that specific problem, under which
set of circumstance?¡¨ (p. 111). Likewise, I told my students that the
question needs to be ¡§What method, by whom, is most effective for
this student, with that specific learning history, under which set of
circumstance?¡¨

My point is this ¡V I do not believe there is one best method of
instruction, so you are encouraged to experiment and find out what
works best for you in each of your classes. I and the other students
are here to help you find what works for you, and for these specific
courses.

Course Requirements

Class meets every Friday from 2:30 until 4:30. You are expected to be
there and participate.

The first 1:15 or so will be dedicated to mutual exchange of
experiences, problems, and triumphs. This portion of class time will
be a group supervision experience, wherein we can all help each other
learn.

The final 30 or 40 minutes will be dedicated to an in-class
presentation on a specific topic. I will occasionally present a topic
myself, and occasionally invite a speaker to share her or his
expertise with you. As the semester progresses, you will be required
to conduct a 30 minute presentation on a teaching topic of your
choice. More details about this will be forthcoming.

In addition to the in-class participation, I will be visiting at
least one class for each of you during the course of the semester. I
will then give you feedback regarding your teaching and the classroom
environment.

You are also expected to give mid-term and final course/instructor
evaluations to your students. These data will be used to analyze your
strengths and areas on which you need to improve. You may obtain
these evaluations from Michelle.

Final Thoughts

When I was in graduate school, I was not taught how to teach.
Instead, I was given a textbook and a class, and told to go for it.
My teaching (and evaluations) was horrible! My goal for you is that
this is not your experience. I later learned to love teaching, and I
hope that each of you will share that same excitement and passion.