Biology | Mentored Teaching
Z620 | 14236 | Zolan, M


Mentored Teaching Z620 - Mimi Zolan

A number of Biology Department faculty have had the good
fortune to participate in IU’s Freshman Learning Project (FLP), an
intensive, two-week seminar in which faculty learn about a number of
issues that affect student learning.  Each participant also chooses
a “bottleneck,” which is a concept or thinking process that students
find difficult.  Participants then design classroom lessons to help
students through those bottlenecks, practice these lessons on one
another, and then implement them in their own courses.  The idea of
the Mentored Teaching Z620 is to set up an FLP-like experience for
graduate students.  The course is based upon what Biology faculty
found most valuable in their FLP experiences and on the advice of
the talented and insightful people who run FLP for IU.

For the first nine weeks of the semester, the course meets once a
week for a two-hour session, to discuss readings about issues
related to teaching in general and to science and science teaching.
During this time, participants also make two field trips to observe
effective teachers and interview students and teachers of
introductory courses about bottlenecks. After choosing a bottleneck,
each participant designs a lesson to address it.  Bottleneck lessons
are practiced on peers and then “road tested” on a group of students
enrolled in Biology L113, the introductory biology laboratory
course.  The seminar meets as often as necessary for the second
portion of the semester to accommodate the practices and
presentations.  Participants write self-reflections on their
bottleneck lessons and also attend and provide feedback for
bottleneck practice talks and presentations given by others.