Assessing Your Teaching

A message from the Director of the LTO:

My favorite part of my job at university is teaching my students.  Most often I find my students engaging but at times they are also challenging.  I teach statistics and many of my students come to me with a great number of anxieties around mathematics.  My students are at different levels and the challenge is in providing materials that are challenging to all of my students, while assisting those that need a little extra help.

I have learned that teaching requires lots of creativity, trying different things and teaching the same concept in multiple ways, then re-teaching it again.  My creativity is not always successful so part of teaching to me is regularly evaluating whether my teaching technique was successful and making changes when it is not.  In order to make this evaluation I have to assess my students regularly. However, like all faculty, my time is limited so I have had to develop personal marking and assessment strategies that allow the student to express their knowledge but not take too much time to mark.

I like to give weekly work such as quiz and assignments to my students so that I can see how they are faring in class.  I know that many faculty members use multiple choice questions or clickers for this.  I do not, because in my area of statistics I need to know my students not only recognize problems but can figure out which statistical tool to use and how to interpret the outcomes.  My short quiz seems to work and only takes me an hour or so to mark.  I am not saying that my methods are best for everyone but they do seem work for me and my students, based on student performance.

My experience in working at the learning and teaching office has allowed me to meet many faculty members and see them teach.  I have learned that each individual faculty member develops their own style of teaching and this development is the mark of a great teacher.  To me, teaching is a continually developing process where mistakes made are opportunities for improvement.  At the LTO we have many programs that assist faculty to develop their teaching, help them to learn of new techniques and assist them in evaluating their teaching.  Visit our website to learn more.

Maureen

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