Podcast #14: Teaching as Coaching with John Bryan Starr

Podcast #14

Before he retired in Spring of 2015, John Bryan Starr taught two of the most highly regarded classes at Yale about the politics and policy surrounding public schools in the United States. These classes had a unique structure where students read and discussed the material outside class in small groups and continued their discussions in the classroom. In the words of one of his students, “You could just trust upon entering class every week that you were guaranteed a profound learning experience in those two hours.” In this episode of the Teach Better Podcast, John Starr shares his secrets.

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Taking up the reins of a successful class

Taking up the reins of a successful class

This spring one of the best teachers in our department, Steve Berry, won the Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences. He won because he does a great job with one of our hardest classes to teach: Introductory Microeconomics. This big (300-400 student) lecture serves a wide range of students. Some have strong math backgrounds and are planning to major in economics, while others are just there because they think it’s important to learn something about how the economy works. Steve appeals to this diverse group with a combination of engaging lectures and well-designed problem sets. He gets positive course evaluations and a large fraction of the class goes on to take more advanced economics courses.

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Dipping a Toe in the Group Project Pool

Dipping a Toe in the Group Project Pool

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you understand that I don’t have all the answers. I often write about things as I learn them. That’s especially true today as I try to implement group projects in one of my classes. This is something I’ve had mixed success with in the distant past, but for a variety of reasons, I’m giving them another try.

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Podcast #12: Teaching in person and online with Craig Wright

Podcast #12

Professor Craig Wright has been teaching an introductory course on classical music for as long as he can remember. It started as a traditional lecture course, became an active in-person lecture course, and four years ago he taught it in Yale Summer Session as a Small Private Online Course (SPOC). In the spring Craig transformed the course yet again, this time into a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Craig shares his journey with us on this episode of the Teach Better Podcast.

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Podcast #10: Eight Habits of Highly Effective Teachers

Podcast #10

In this episode, we reflect back to identify eight habits which almost all of our guests have used to teach effectively. If you’re new to the podcast, this is a great place to start since it’s filled with our favorite quotes from earlier episodes.

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Making Choices and Explaining Them to Our Students

Making Choices and Explaining Them to Our Students

For every teacher out there doing cool things in the classroom and blogging about it, there must be another hundred doing great work and not shouting it from the rooftops. Julia Kregenow from the Penn State Astronomy and Astrophysics Department is one of those people. She thinks deeply about teaching and has taught a wide range of classes in astronomy, math, and physics including several geared toward freshmen. I love how she has reasons for every choice she makes, and explains these choices to her students. Today, Julia is letting me share excerpts from a recent syllabus where she does exactly this.

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First Day of (Summer) School

First Day of (Summer) School

June is the time of year when most faculty are just settling into a summer away from teaching. Not me though–after submitting my spring grades I had about 2 weeks of catching up on everything I put off during the semester, and now I’m back at it teaching econometrics online in Yale Summer Session.

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