Teaching What You Don’t Know by Therese Huston

By admin
Mar 30th, 2014

Nearly all professors are asked at some point to teaching a class that they feel less than prepared to teach.  There are ways to do so effectively – and to know that you have done a great job for the students.  Here are ten key concepts to keep in mind:

  1. Increase your credibility without getting a second Ph.D.
  2. Read everything you assign.
  3. Begin in an area of your expertise.
  4. Do an early course evaluation.
  5. Find out what students do and don’t understand.
  6. When students ask hard questions, give yourself a pat on the back.
  7. Confide in someone.
  8. Resist the temptation to lecture all the time.
  9. Use the Bulls-eye approach to prioritize what you must, should, and would like students to know.
  10. Next time, dare yourself to cut one assignment.

© Therese Huston Ph.D.  Therese Huston was the founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Seattle University. Therese earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and her B.A. in psychology from Carleton College. After graduate school, she completed a post-doc in clinical cognitive neuroscience at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at the University of Pittsburgh. From there she became an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pacific University, and her career as a faculty developer began as Assistant Director of the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University.

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