The Nuts & Bolts of Teaching: Teaching a Class for the first Time
Before jumping into the heart of this content take a few minutes and think back to the first course you taught. How much teaching experience did you have? Did you feel prepared to begin teaching? What challenges did you face? How did you resolve those challenges? And, how did you emerge a better teacher as a result of that first experience?
Or if this is the first course you will be teaching think about the above questions?
Hopefully, if you are an experienced teacher this exercise gave you the opportunity to reflect on your development as a teacher; and if you are a novice instructor, hopefully, it did not provide unwanted anxiety about your work. Examining foundational issues in teaching and or creating a course may help in making the teaching experience a positive one for you and your students.
A useful place to start thinking about designing a course is with a unifying principle. A unifying principle is a construct that is integrated throughout the course. What is the most important concept you want your students to gain? Examining student or course outcomes will also help in the development of a unifying principle. Once you have established the unifying principle all the content and assessment techniques will be linked together. For more information on this idea refer to section on developing pedagogy and assessment.   
Now that you have started to think about developing a new course or teaching for the first time, discuss these focused questions on class design with a learning partner or peer. Do you know who you will be teaching? How will you assess your students learning? How familiar are you new with the institution you are teaching? And how can you implement your teaching philosophy into your course? How difficult were these questions? Did your answers spark further questions?  In thinking about teaching, it may be helpful to conceptualize course development into the following categories: (1) students you will be teaching; (2) the course; (3) the institution at which you will be teaching; and (4) your personality/philosophy. Thinking about course development with these categories should provide a holistic perspective to view and develop your course. For additional questions focused on the four categories please refer to the power point slides for this module.
Additional preparation at the beginning of a course and or teaching career can set the foundation for a productive course and career. Moreover, a willingness to be flexible in course design and teaching will also add to your and your students’ experience. Examining and discussing this unit should provide you with a good start to your course.

Last modified: Monday, 29 June 2009, 01:43 PM