How to introduce the TF program to a class

Lead TF Molly Krifka writes where she holds her hours.

1. Ask how everyone is doing.

2. Introduce yourself. Letting the students know a little bit about you will make them more comfortable with coming into your TF hours.

3. Explain a bit about the teaching fellow philosophy, that we are an approachable peer resource and we collaborate with students to clarify difficult concepts, help with developing ideas, etc. Emphasize that we are not available to give easy answers, but to help students find their own answers. We are a support system that helps students become more independent and able to find solutions on their own.

4. Explain a bit about what type of resources you have in the room with you at hours: dictionaries, textbooks, syllabi, the Big Picture calendar filled with assignments from each class, etc.

5. Write on the chalkboard/whiteboard your department hours, which days you hold hours, and where you hold hours. You can also specify when you work specifically.

6. Mention that the TFs can be more effective when students come in having already done some work on their own. It is also good to come in early, and not the night before an assignment is due. Students should also bring the necessary materials and assignment sheet to hours so that we can help show them how to use the book and find their own answers.

7. Ask if anyone has any questions regarding the Teaching Fellows program.

Who are the Faculty Liaisons and what do they do?

By Professor Greg Frost-Arnold | Philosophy Faculty Liaison

What is the role of the Teaching Fellow Liaison? To begin to answer this question, I should first stress that there are differences between the different liaisons, because of the differences in the subjects TFs cover, and the kinds of assignments students will bring to TFs. For example, helping someone with an organic chemistry problem set is different from helping someone with an essay for their intro to philosophy class. As a result, there can be important differences between the types of interactions a TF can expect with her or his TF liaison. So, if I were a new TF, and was not 100% clear on what the liaison’s role was, then I would ask the professor serving as liaison what he or she thought the liaison’s role is.

With that qualification out of the way, I can describe the aspects of my experience as the TF liaison for philosophy which (I hope) are not completely specific to philosophy alone. I’ll give three main points. I’ll start with one of my favorite quotations. It’s from physicist Niels Bohr: “An expert is someone who has made all the mistakes it is possible to make in a narrow field.” I think this applies to both the students coming in to see TFs and to TFs themselves. We all know that people learn by doing—by trying and failing, over and over, until they get it right—think about trying to ride a bicycle, for example. Continue reading

Welcome to the HWS Teaching Fellows Blog!

This blog provides a place for Teaching Fellows to find useful teaching advice from each other, support each other through useful tips and methods, learn more about the program as a whole, and interact with the faculty and staff who TF’s work with the most. Have a question, comment, story, frustration, or a rewarding moment during your hours? Post it on the blog!