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    Results 1 to 15 of 15
    1. #1
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      ~Namkeen~'s Avatar
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      I've been working in the IT industry for the last 10 years, and am heading back to school full time for a graduate degree this Fall. Last week I came across an opportunity to teach pre-calculus at my intended school and today I was invited to interview.

      I have to prepare and deliver a 10 minute sample lesson to faculty members as part of the interview. I've been given a list of topics to choose from. The interview's this Thursday.

      I do have previous teaching experience at a community college, but it was years ago. I'm not worried about the content - I need advice on presentation. I've been googling for ideas, but haven't come up with a plan yet. I know we have atleast one person here who teaches at the university level, and a few others who teach at school level - I hope you can give me ideas for a great lesson plan. Also, since this is college-level teaching, I don't think I'll be asked the usual questions that school teachers get asked - but what kind of questions can I expect?

      Thanks in advance!

    2. #2
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      Lucid Chaotic's Avatar
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      From my experience in search/recruitment committees as well as my own job talks, your presentation is really an audition of your speaking skills along with highlights of what you intend to bring to your classes as a lecturer.

      Speaking wise, for science and technology subjects including mathematics, it is important to strike a balance between course curriculum, class activities, some humour to keep your audience captivated. In terms of organization, the committee is interested in observing the flow of your ideas and transition between topics that you’re presenting. Make sure that you can create a storyline between broad discussion of the subject and narrow topics... the key is to try to weave in the audience and keep them “engaged” in your presentation. Use of outlines, visual aids, practical real-world problems is highly recommended where applicable. Finally, if you’re presenting from a slidedeck, make sure you’re not reading off your slides. This would get extremely boring for the audience.

      I realize that these are just some general tips but if you have specific questions, fire away and I’ll try to answer the best I can. Mock interview and job talks with someone can greatly help if you have the time.

      Good luck with everything!
      For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining - and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction - Khalil Gibran

    3. #3
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      psyah's Avatar
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      Peace ~Namkeen~

      Although what Lucid Chaotic has said is valuable I'm not sure it answers your question ...

      I'm going by the understanding that:

      a) The job is for pre-calculus teaching therefore the topics that you have to choose from are about that subject ... well?
      b) Although they may not specifically require you to present about yourself - or deliver your CV through presentation as a medium there are few best practices in presentations that you are looking to get from this thread ...

      Ok ... based on this here is my answer:

      Decent slides - keep words descriptive but to a minimum ... Date the front slide with your name and credentials

      Second slide give a basic overview of yourself

      Third slide - "This is the hook" - Put something abstract or catchy with some hidden context to your lesson and make an issue to refer to this annotation throughout your presentation - this will anchor your presentation.

      Fourth slide - Objectives of lesson (Max four points)

      Fifth Slide - Contents

      Sixth Slide - Basic ideas
      Seventh Slide - More ideas - or take specific ideas and elaborate to meet the objectives
      Eighth Slide - Overflow slide

      Ninth Slide - Insight slide or Evaluation (The actual learning part is here)

      Tenth Slide - Conclusion and Summary

      Eleventh Slide - Compare with the annotation from slide three - the hook

      Utilise props, get volunteers to do something and where possible use sound bites and animation without going overboard ...

      Ah ... be sure to provide handouts and give them homework questions and a deadline for the answers to be given in by ... and the date for the next lesson.

      Thank the class at the end of the lesson/presentation
      The Prophet(SAW) said:
      "I am leaving you two things and you will never go astray as long as you cling to them -- they are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." [Reported by Al- Haakim - Sahih].

    4. #4
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      Practice run your presentation and time it for 10 mins - if it is too long - trim it down and refine it.
      The Prophet(SAW) said:
      "I am leaving you two things and you will never go astray as long as you cling to them -- they are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." [Reported by Al- Haakim - Sahih].

    5. #5
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      ~Namkeen~'s Avatar
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      @Lucid Chaotic - Thanks for the information. It is too general at this point, but will come in handy if I get the job, insha'Allah. Have you ever interviewed lecturers/instructors where a brief sample lesson was part of the interview process? What did the interview panel look for?

      @psyah - Thanks - that's very useful. I'll have to think about how I'm going to do this.

      From what I understand, the personal interview will be separate from the sample lesson. In the 10 minute sample lesson, I think I'm actually supposed to demonstrate how I would teach one of the suggested topics, for example, Logarithmic Functions and Applications. I thought that I'd pick out one simple formula or concept that would take about 5 mins to introduce and teach. Then in the remaining 5 mins, do a practice example and talk briefly about how that particular concept is applied, and ask for questions. I guess I'm asking if there's a better way to do this. I'm also wondering what the delivery mode should be - whiteboard, powerpoint presentation?? I guess it would be useful to have an idea of the school or department's teaching style - traditional or more technology-inclined; but I don't have the time.

      Any ideas/feedback is appreciated.

    6. #6
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      psyah's Avatar
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      Peace ~Namkeen~

      Do not feel afraid of contacting your interviewers before your presentation and find out what facilities they have ... and whether they can facilitate your needs for the specific type of presentation you intend to deliver ...

      Some schools have overhead video projectors screens so you can even write on a piece of paper and it can be shown to all "live" ... it always have a back up plan so take a marker with you and some chalk don't depend on them to provide these things to you ... even though as interviewers they should have something but may be they are looking for how well you can organise things outside your own box ... i.e. asking secretarial staff or admin for resources.

      Logarithmic functions and applications ... ok this is a huge topic in its own right - you need to make your presentation fairly suitable to the time you have ... so instead of trying to deal with the whole topic ... intorduce the whole topic and show a contents list for future lessons that will cover the topic and then give lesson 1 - which may be a small fragment of the topic that you intend to deliver ... give some sort of understanding that there are other related lessons to follow but provide a general overview of the topic in the beginning.

      I would nearly always start with the history of logarithms ...

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ohn_Napier.jpg

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Napier

      Put this picture up and ask the audience if they know who it is?

      I would also use inspiration from these :

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logarithmic_spiral to start off my lesson ... application can be in fractral art ... etc.


      Peace
      Last edited by psyah; Jul 27th, 2011 at 10:23 AM.
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      The Prophet(SAW) said:
      "I am leaving you two things and you will never go astray as long as you cling to them -- they are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." [Reported by Al- Haakim - Sahih].

    7. #7
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      Lucid Chaotic's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ~Namkeen~ View Post
      @Lucid Chaotic - Thanks for the information. It is too general at this point, but will come in handy if I get the job, insha'Allah. Have you ever interviewed lecturers/instructors where a brief sample lesson was part of the interview process? What did the interview panel look for?
      Hi @~Namkeen~ - yes, I'm regularly involved with the hiring of faculty and like I said in my post above, primarily, the committees are interested in observing the overall speaking / presentation demeanor of the applicants along with their skills to keep the audience "engaged" in the sample lesson. In my opinion, while relevant content is important, your mastery of it won't be questioned as much because you've made it to the short list based on your credentials which would be at par with other applicants.

      Also, when it comes to the actual lesson plan, I probably wouldn't be able to suggest a point by point structure for it because everyone has their own style for presentation and uses different types of presentation aids (ppt deck versus prezi versus transparencies etc.; a linear presentation versus an ignite or pecha kucha style etc.). By locking you into a structure, I wouldn't want to curtail your own creativity. Like psyah said, you should call up / email the dept to ask about the facilities you'll have to do your presentation and prepare something accordingly... also have a backup plan in case of technology glitches that day.

      That being said, you need to somehow stand out from others who may be presenting the content in a very traditional maths class... if possible, provide some context to your content... for example while talking about logarithmic functions, you can cite and possibly even include examples from mortgage calculations or its applications in music etc. - these are just suggestions though - you are the expert in the subject area, so you'll know better. I remember that in my very first job talk, I did a lesson plan based on forecasting models using exponential smoothing and linear regression... but rather than delving into the technical aspects of these methods, I decided to talk with reference to a previous job as a Lead IT Analyst and how these models could be applied to forecast and handle help desk call volumes. The committee loved the applied nature of the talk and commented that other applicants had simply prepared examples from books or websites and were too general to spark their interest.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers
      Last edited by Lucid Chaotic; Jul 27th, 2011 at 10:19 AM.
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      For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining - and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction - Khalil Gibran

    8. #8
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      ~Namkeen~'s Avatar
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      Thank you both for your input - it was very helpful. I also called the department and spoke briefly with the sec'y who set up my interview, and she gave me a few pointers... so i'm feeling more confident now.


      Quote Originally Posted by Lucid Chaotic View Post
      That being said, you need to somehow stand out from others who may be presenting the content in a very traditional maths class... if possible, provide some context to your content... for example while talking about logarithmic functions, you can cite and possibly even include examples from mortgage calculations or its applications in music etc. - these are just suggestions though - you are the expert in the subject area, so you'll know better. I remember that in my very first job talk, I did a lesson plan based on forecasting models using exponential smoothing and linear regression... but rather than delving into the technical aspects of these methods, I decided to talk with reference to a previous job as a Lead IT Analyst and how these models could be applied to forecast and handle help desk call volumes. The committee loved the applied nature of the talk and commented that other applicants had simply prepared examples from books or websites and were too general to spark their interest.
      In teaching math/science, my own educational philosophy is to demonstrate the applied nature of the subject, so I'll definitely take a few minutes to discuss context and practical applications. And as you said, it makes sense that the panel will assume that I have the technical abilities based on my credentials; what they really want to see is whether i can communicate/teach the stuff to a class of freshmen.

      Well, I didn't think I'd get an interview call because I don't have an undergrad degree in math, which is one of the requirements - but since they want to meet me, I figured I'd put forth my best efforts. Thanks for your help, will keep you posted!

    9. #9
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      Lucid Chaotic's Avatar
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      ^ Best of Luck with everything @~Namkeen~ ... I'm sure there was something that got the committee interested in you, and making it to the audition stage is ample proof of that. InshaAllah you'll do great!

      Your story is kinda familiar since one of my first teaching stints at University was in Management Science whereas my graduate degree and work experience were in the field of Information Systems / E-Business... so I had just applied on the basis of a few Mgmt Sci courses I had taken in my MBA. The interview and job talk went well and the rest as they say is history. That teaching gig led to me to my Ph.D. minor in Mgmt Sci.
      For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining - and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction - Khalil Gibran

    10. #10
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      ~Namkeen~'s Avatar
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      salam Lucid & psyah - i got the job thank you so much for your advice/ideas - you definitely pointed me in the right direction.

      The interview went well... initially I was a bit unnerved to see so many applicants there, but once I spoke with them, I realized that they were recent graduates while I had 10 years of experience behind me - I leveraged that fact to my advantage. The Chair did tell me that although a math degree was one of the listed requirements, she was sure I'd taken enough math courses for my IT degree. The sample lesson itself went very well; once I was in front of my "class", I forgot to be nervous. The faculty members' roleplay was funny, esp when they asked questions. I had fun, and yeah... landed the job. Very excited!

      Thanks once again!
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    11. #11
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      psyah's Avatar
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      Mabrook .... Mabrook .... ....

      May you excel in your newly found job .... Good job to you ...
      The Prophet(SAW) said:
      "I am leaving you two things and you will never go astray as long as you cling to them -- they are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." [Reported by Al- Haakim - Sahih].

    12. #12
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      psyah's Avatar
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      By the way which topic did you choose and very briefly what were the contents ... I would like to know and it sounds like you had a fun time.

      Peace
      The Prophet(SAW) said:
      "I am leaving you two things and you will never go astray as long as you cling to them -- they are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." [Reported by Al- Haakim - Sahih].

    13. #13
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      ~Namkeen~'s Avatar
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      @psyah - thank you.

      So I decided to do the lesson on integrals.

      I decided to keep things simple. Made my lesson plan on index cards. When I started my sample lesson, I took out my index cards (to show that I prepared my lesson) but left it on my desk and didn't refer to it even once (to show that I know my subject really well).

      I explained the concept, did a few examples/illustrations, and threw in the joke about "what is the integral of 1 over cabin, dcabin?" (the answer is "natural log cabin", which i expect they'd heard before, but they chuckled anyway). The 10 mins went by really fast - they asked a couple of token questions during the lesson.

    14. #14
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      ~Namkeen~'s Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lucid Chaotic View Post
      Your story is kinda familiar since one of my first teaching stints at University was in Management Science whereas my graduate degree and work experience were in the field of Information Systems / E-Business... so I had just applied on the basis of a few Mgmt Sci courses I had taken in my MBA. The interview and job talk went well and the rest as they say is history. That teaching gig led to me to my Ph.D. minor in Mgmt Sci.
      That's very encouraging!

      I think this job will be a perfect complement to my studies, and if all goes well, I'm hoping to have more classes to teach next semester.
      Since I'll be working on campus, I won't have to shuttle between school and work, and I'll save a lot of time. Plus, it pays quite well - I was surprised to find just how well it pays!

    15. #15
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      Lucid Chaotic's Avatar
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      Marvelous news @~Namkeen~ ... you'll do great. Keep us posted on things that work/don't work for you while teaching... perhaps we can develop a Lecturer's Community of Practice around here.
      ~Namkeen~ and psyah like this.
      For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining - and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction - Khalil Gibran