Larry Samuelson is an accomplished economic theorist, and at the same time is one of the best instructors in the Yale Economics Department. He teaches microeconomic theory to the first year PhD students as well as Intermediate Microeconomics, a required class in the major that forms the foundation of almost every advanced undergraduate class in economics. In this episode Larry tells us how he challenges and engages his students.
Since starting in February, we’ve recorded nine episodes of the Teach Better Podcast with some terrific guests. Every one of our guests has been Yale-affiliated, and I wanted to take a few minutes to explain why. The key thing to understand that it’s not because we think Yale has a monopoloy on great teaching–We don’t. There are passionate teachers and mediocre teachers and even just plain bad teachers everywhere. So if great things are happening in classrooms all over the world, why aren’t we casting a wider net?
Over the past few weeks I’ve had three colleagues share some terrific creative things they’ve done in their classes. One had their students play a game, one had their students make a movie, and one hosted a radio call-in show.
All semester long, my students have been working hard on research projects. They’ve passed in multiple drafts, incorporated much written and verbal feedback, and last week they all got to share their work with their classmates during our first ever digital poster session. I thought it was a rousing success.
Donald Kagan, the Yale Sterling Professor of Classics and History, has been one of the world’s leading scholars of the ancient Greeks for almost 50 years. He’s published numerous books on the subject and has been teaching at Yale since 1969. In this episode he shares his opinions on a wide range of topics including what makes a great lecture and his unique approach to teaching seminars.
Every year for the last five years I’ve advised two or three students writing senior essays. During that time I’ve noticed there are two types of student: Those who plug away the whole year (Type A) and those who have a lot of distractions during the year and end up cramming at the end (Type B). It turns out that the advising approach I’ve been using only works well for the type A students.
On Tuesday, as part of Faculty Bulldog Days, I walked into Cathy Nicholson’s ENGL 200, “Shakespeare’s Comedies and Romances”. It was the first time in my six years at Yale that I’ve set foot in an undergraduate classroom that wasn’t my own. I quietly chose a desk off to the side, gave Cathy a quick hello wave, and settled in for 50 minutes of learning.