Math Teaching Group

We're a group of math graduate students + faculty who meet weekly to discuss teaching. People of all levels of interest and teaching experience are welcome.

Upcoming Events

For the Fall 2022 semester, we are meeting on Mondays from 3-4PM in Hill 701.

Past Events

  • December 10, Yael Davidov: Review Sessions
    Some resources about review sessions were sent on Canvas. They focus on topics like increased levels of student engagement, different review formats, and potential challenges in running review sessions. The main question to consider: Which of these formats do you think is best? Do you have another different approach? Should we have review sessions at all?
  • November 12 and 19, Matt Charnley: TA Training and the TA Handbook
    We will be talking about TA Training and the TA Handbook. I will be running TA Training for the second time this year, and the handbook is something that has been working on by several people, mostly myself and Matthew Russell, over the last few years to attempt to have a document that can be given to all first year graduate students to give them an idea of what teaching is like, as well as a reference guide while teaching. I want to focus this session around how, if at all, TA Training can better be restructured to help prepare TAs for their first time teaching, as well as how the handbook can be made valuable as a resource. If you want some focused questions to consider, think about:
    1. What was helpful about TA Training?
    2. What was not helpful about TA Training?
    3. What information do you wish you had before you started teaching/TAing your first class?
  • November 5, Edna Jones: Hidden Curriculum
    The hidden curriculum refers to the unofficial lessons, values, norms, and perspectives that students learn in school. Among the topics we can discuss are what is in the hidden curriculum and how do we teach the hidden curriculum.
  • October 29: Mid-semester Check-In
  • October 22, Sriram Raghunath: How to deal with lack of prerequisite knowledge
    We spent the last meeting discussing the Calculus sequence and mapping out the dependencies between concepts taught in the courses in this sequence. This week, we will discuss what we can do as instructors when our students come into our course without a good understanding of this material. There are a few different topics we can discuss here:
    • What can we do at the beginning of term to assess students' knowledge of prerequisite material?
    • Can we design our course to make sure that students with gaps in prerequisite knowledge can follow along and fix gaps along the way?
      e.g. Designing assignments and exams, warm up problems, mastery based grading (with some prerequisite knowledge included as learning goals)
    • How do we address gaps in the prerequisite knowledge while we teach in class?
      e.g. Making a collaborative concept map of things students already know before teaching a new topic
    • Are there things we can do outside of class hours to help students bridge this gap?
      e.g. Special office hours, prerequisite bootcamp
  • October 15, Blair Seidler: Course Expectations
    There are four related topics here. We will try to focus on the first two tomorrow and the other two next week:
    • What are the concepts and skills that each of our courses really need students to bring with them from prior courses?
    • When we are teaching one of those prior courses, what things can we do to ensure that (at least many) students retain those skills and concepts for the next course?
    • When we are teaching the next course, how do we detect whether or not students actually have the prerequisite concepts and skills?
    • If students do not have mastery of those concepts and skills, what do we do to fix it?
    We will brainstorm a list of 5-10 essentials for each link in this chain of courses: (high school) -> 111/112/115 -> 135/151 -> 152 -> 251 -> 244/252 -> (upper level courses, including 311/411 and 421).
  • October 8, Corrine Yap: TA Time Management and Setting Student Boundaries
    If you have five minutes, here's a reflection exercise I'd like you to do. Think back to a recent week that represents an "average" teaching load for you.
    1) How many hours did you spend preparing for class (reviewing material, prepping lectures, writing quizzes, making copies)?
    2) How many hours did you spend helping students outside of class (in office hours, in one-on-one meetings, answering questions over email)?
    3) How many hours did you spend grading?
  • September 24, Matt Charnley: Hybrid Courses
    We will be discussing the idea of hybrid classes as we have seen them this semester, and how best to set them up both for instructors and for students. The type of hybrid class we will be discussing here is one where some of the meetings take place in person, and some of them take place online, but the class still "meets" for the normal amount of times each week. We'll center the discussion around what would be the "ideal" way to divide up the activities and concepts of the class to best take advantage of the online and in-person meetings. Here a few things that might be interesting to look through:
    https://www.nu.edu/resources/weighing-the-pros-and-cons-of-online-vs-in-person-learning/ https://www.csusignal.com/academics/article_45fb061c-b752-11eb-8f54-af2ff7a3ac09.html
  • September 17: Teaching 101
    We will discuss some "teaching 101" topics like
    • How to breakout rooms?
    • How to make class interesting?
    • How to know if you're going too fast/slow?
    • How to manage time during a recitation or workshop class?
    Of course more questions are welcome! This will be a pretty open and brain-stormy discussion. If you feel you have some good strategies to address some of these challenges please be ready to contribute them. If you've tried strategies that have fallen short we would love to hear about those too! If you don't have much teaching experience yet, I would suggest reflecting on a class that you particularly enjoyed (or particularly struggled with) in undergrad. What were some of the strategies that you professor employed?
  • Most of the summer meetings were informal discussions about summer teaching, with the following exceptions: