Teaching your first class

Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching is a free massive open online course (MOOC) designed for new teachers, those who wish to enhance student learning or teaching practice and emerging leaders in higher education. I co-lead the MOOC with Marina Harvey under the auspices of the Council for Australasian University Leaders of Learning and Teaching (CAULLT).

It is currently open for enrolment. Alternatively, sign up with Canvas Free for Teacher and use the following join code: 64BHPE.

Teaching your first class is Module 1. It is part of the ‘New to teaching’ pathway through the course.

Created by Tracy Frayne (University of Western Australia) and Alison Jacquet (University of Southern Queensland), it offers strategies to design, facilitate and reflect on your first teaching experience.

I taught my first class around 25 years ago with little preparation other than a room number and a class list. Exciting and frightening. Thankfully others won’t be thrown in the deep end like that!

Good teaching and good learning are linked through the student’s experience of what we do. It follows that we cannot teach better unless we are able to see what we are doing from their point of view.

(Ramsden, 2003, p. 84).

What do students want from the first class?

Watch this 2 minute video to find out:

The module includes checklists for planning your first class, delivering your first class, suggested icebreaker activities and prompts for reflection when class is over.

Image created by Tracy Frayne (Teaching your first class author).

My favourite activity in the module is The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad first day! Participants are invited to respond to a blog post by Eileen Liang about her first day of teaching at her university.

I had no training, no official guidance, no pedagogical insight whatsoever. I hadn’t ever taken an Intro Soc course myself! … I was completely out of my element and very, very afraid.

Eileen Liang

Over to you: What can you do to prepare for a very good first class?

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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