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1 Office Hours as a Teaching Opportunity Rajesh Lal Math Education

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1 1 Office Hours as a Teaching Opportunity Rajesh Lal Math Education

2 2 Questions to Frame Our Discussion What are the Purposes of Office Hours? How are Office Hours Different from Classroom Settings? What are some Challenges to Accomplishing Purposes of Office Hours? How to Accomplish These Purposes?

3 3 Usually Accepted Conceptions of Office Hours Teacher Answering Student- Initiated Questions on Grades, andGaps of Knowledge from Lectures and Assignments Focus on Errors Instructor-Student Relationship: Passively Constructed An Add-On to Lecture

4 4 Alternative Conceptions of Office Hours Instructor-Student Relationship: Actively Constructed Instructor or Student Initiates Questions Going Beyond Students Questions Constructing Structure of Knowledge Teaching Inquiry Process of Discipline Study & Test-Taking Skills Integral Part of Course Mentoring

5 5 How Do Office Hours Differ From Classroom Settings? One-to-One or Small-Group-to- One Interactions Enclosed Space Teacher-Student Come Center- Stage No Time Pressure (Usually) Student in Vulnerable Position Non-Neutral Setting Informal Etiquette Voluntary

6 6 What are Some Challenges in Using Alternative Approaches to Office Hours? Students Conceptions of Office Hours Teachers Concerns About Using Alternative Approaches to Office Hours

7 7 Students Conceptions of Office Hours Office Hours are Only for Questions on Grades and things not understood during lecture or on homework Assignments. Consequently: They Ask Only about Grades and Rote Questions on Homework. They Dont Know How to Ask Conceptual Questions Expect You to do the Work Few Students Come They Dont Stay Long

8 8 Teachers Concerns About Using Alternative Approaches to O.H. How to Ensure Student Participation in an Alternative Model? How to Teach Students to Ask Conceptual Questions? How Not to do Their Work? What Should the Teacher be Doing? How to Relate Office Hours to Main Lecture? How to Distribute Time During Office Hour? How to Coordinate Office Time with other T.As.?

9 9 Ensuring Student Participation Informing Students of Your Vision of Office Hours Actively Constructing Teacher-Student Relationship in Class Repeatedly Reminding Them of Office Hours and Encouraging Them Individually to Come Making it Part of Their Grade Making References in Lecture to Insights Made by Students During Office Hours Professional and Pleasant Office Conditions

10 10 Suggestions to Address Teachers Concerns Look at Their Notes From Class Go Beyond the Students Original Question by Modeling Conceptual Questions Gradually Make Student do most of the Work (but dont force) Use Variety of Teaching Methods Dialogue as Conversation; as Inquiry; as Debate; as Instruction

11 11 Why Did I Get This Grade? Ask Questions to Identify/Separate the Issues. Listen Carefully: [Ex. Lets talk about the exam/paper. What concerns you the most about it? The grade? My comments? The assignment?] Paraphrase, Restate, and Summarize student comments: Clearly explain your grading rationale.

12 12 Why Did I Get this Grade? (cont.) Explaining Grading Rationale (cont.) What can we do to improve your performance on the next test? Why dont we work together on a couple of questions right now?

13 13 Summary Office Hours offer us a powerful opportunity to teach in ways we cant in the classroom.

14 14 Education is what you have left after you have forgotten everything else


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