Teaching the teachers: emphasizing the importance of pedagogy

Date: 

2012

Summary: 

Being able to communicate scientific information is a skill that need to be learned. There is no better way to practice than to become a teacher, and educate students at all levels. I train both graduate students and undergraduates how to become good teachers, we discuss pedagogical methods, read books and journal articles about teaching methods. By exposing this new generation of scientists to modern teaching methods we don't only teach them how to become better communicators but we make them more competitive on the job market.

Issue: 

The changing job climate with fewer and fewer professor positions requires our students to diversify. In addition, the importance of being science literate and able to evaluate information online and offline is a skill that need to be learned and need to be communicated to the public. Therefore we need teachers who are good communicators and are familiar with modern pedagogical methods.

Response: 

I train ~30 undergraduate and 12 graduate students every year how to apply modern pedagogical methods in their teaching. I expose them to teaching publications, they are able to practice their teaching in small classroom settings and create a friendly learning environment for their students.

Impact: 

Dozens of graduate students chose to become teachers instead of researchers after receiving their Ph.D.s. They filled their teaching toolbox in my course and are able to get better teaching positions due to their education in pedagogy. Undergraduate teaching assistants learned how to translate scientific information so their fellow students can understand it. Many of these undergraduates continued into medical school and they are able to use their science communication skills when they talk to their patients. Not only these teachers, but their audiences are impacted as well: they are being taught using modern, more effective teaching methods, and can grasp the information faster and better than if they were taught by less educated teachers.

Submitted by: 

  • Sarvary, Mark A

Researchers involved: 

  • Sarvary, Mark A

International focus: 

  • United States of America

United States focus: 

  • New York