12 October 2015

Being observed

When eminent colleagues come in to observe you teach, you can count on being scheduled in the noisiest lecture hall with the smallest screen there is. I shouldn't moan; I need to be able to teach wherever whenever, but it was a bit unfortunate anyway.

For my PGCert, I have to observe others and be observed myself; an outsider will always notice things you don't notice yourself, and the feedback is very useful. I basically asked for observation for the first lecture I gave after having been assigned an observer. Let's get this ball rolling!

The lecture I did was one in which I prepare the students for an assignment they have to do with the data they gathered themselves on the fieldwork in June. They have gathered a sizable database of modern foraminifera and their distribution, and they get fossil foraminifera assemblages that they have to interpret on the basis of that database. It involves a lot of processes they have not encountered before, so I was supposed to ease them into it.

An example of me trying to convince the students to make a tidy diagram

I had asked the students to have a look at the assignment beforehand, so they would come prepared, but such calls tend to fall onto deaf ears. About half hadn't accessed that part of the module website when I started talking. Oh well. I think they got it anyway. It went well. I think they are on their way now.

The main issue my observers flagged up was that I should do more to make sure I am heard. With this narrow lecture hall that has the air conditioning roaring from the back you have to talk like Brian Blessed to be heard. And the screen was so small not everything I showed was clear. Oh well. Maybe I should go back to checking lecture theaters before I lecture in them! So I know what to expect.

Beside the audibility and visibility thing they had a few nice other suggestions that I can work with. Quite useful, this observation thing! And the next time, I'll go and observe someone else. I might get some ideas!

1 comment:

Henco said...

Yes! Brian Blessed as a teacher. Maybe you van mime tot him what's he's supposed to shout at people, and everything will be just perfect.