Teaching Advice & Guidelines
This website contains documents for teachers new and experienced, both faculty and graduate asssistants.
It has six sections:
UMD Graduate Teaching Assistant Resource Guide
This 80 page guide is for the University of Maryland and will aid and support you as a developing teacher, and
contribute to your efforts to enhance your students’ education. "The Resource Guide’s purpose is to be a
convenient summary reference. Instead of familiarizing yourself with all of its contents, review its table of
contents and critical sections now, keep it accessible, and consult its various parts when they are most
applicable to your work."
Brief Survival Guide for New Graduate TA's - UNC Charlotte
To remove some of the “mystery” in your new role as a graduate teaching assistant, we have pulled together some
information in this packet and in the orientation session that might be useful to you.
This packet includes the following topics:
2. Evaluating Student Performance
Designing Test Questions - from UNC
Ever wonder what types of questions to use on quizzes and exams? Or what methods to evaluate student performance?
This document from UNC describes uses, advantages, disadvantages, and tips for writing test questions in the
following formats: True / False, Matching, Multiple Choice, Short Answer, Essay, Oral Exams, Student Portfolios,
ON COURSE Questions That Promote Deeper Thinking
In this article, the author adopts a more inclusive definition of critical thinking. The definition embraces
thought processes that are “deeper” than memorization and recall of factual information. The author says that
when students think critically, they think deeply; they not only know the facts, but they take the additional
step of going beyond the facts to do something with them. The author describes two types of questioning
strategies to promote critical thinking in class.
Fourteen different critical thinking skills are described, with example questions provided. These questions
can be used in class, in quizzes, homework assignments, or exams.
3. Effective Lectures
Enhancing the Effectiveness of Lectures - from UNC
This brief document describes “best practices” for increasing the effectiveness of lectures in engaging students
and enabling them to learn. It describes how an “enhanced lecture” is structured and delivered. How many of
these practices did your favorite professors use? Which practices are you using? Which practices might you use?
Twenty Ways to Make Lectures More Participatory
The document lists of ways to open up lectures to student participation have been used in classes of up to 1200
students, as well as in smaller groups.
When students engage actively with material, they generally understand it better and remember it longer. Asking
for student participation highlights the distinction between faculty covering material and students learning it.
Student participation often results in covering less material during a semester. Yet it also can mean that
students learn more material than in a traditional lecture course, because they truly grasp the fundamentals
and have more chances to clear up confusion.
Note: If you decide to invite student participation in lectures, consider beginning with the very first lecture,
when norms and expectations for class are being established. It is more difficult to engage students in a large
lecture class later if they are accustomed to being silent. If you decide to ask students to participate in
lectures later in the term, give a short introduction or explanation about your change in strategy.
4. Large Lectures
Large Classes - A Teaching Guide - UMD Teaching Excellence (doc)
This "Guide" contains a set of ideas and suggestions to use as you think best in approaching your particular large
class and the specific goals for that learning experience. They will be useful to adapt to your particular
discipline, context and needs. "It's a first version, and we truly want your feedback and suggestions for
improvement. The last page of the guide is feedback form; please complete this form and send us your reactions.
We will use them as we produce future versions."
A Survival Handbook for Teaching Large Classes – UNC Charlotte
There is no one way to teach a large class. We have to take into account our teaching style, the characteristics
of our students, and the goals and objectives of our course. This handbook is a cafeteria of ideas of how faculty
members all over the country have tried to solve many of the problems related to teaching large classes. Decide
which one or ones are most likely to work for you, and try them.
5. Teaching Mistakes – Bad Classes, Top 10, Top 67
Why Good Teachers Have Bad Classes
This newsletter from Stanford addresses the issue of why even the best, most knowledgeable teachers occasionally
find themselves teaching a course that is just not working.
"In this introduction we propose several effective approaches to the problem, and then in the following pages
listen to the reflections of one Stanford professor who found himself in a class that was not working. Finally
we offer a list of excellent books that can help you avoid—or at least respond constructively to—a bad class."
ON COURSE- The 10 Worst Teaching Mistakes
"Like most faculty members, we began our academic careers with zero prior instruction on college teaching and
quickly made almost every possible blunder. We’ve also been peer reviewers and mentors to colleagues, and that
experience on top of our own early stumbling has given us a good sense of the most common mistakes college
teachers make. In this column and one to follow we present our top ten list, in roughly increasing order of
badness. Doing some of the things on the list may occasionally be justified, so we’re not telling you to avoid
all of them at all costs. We are suggesting that you avoid making a habit of any of them."
ON COURSE- The 67 Worst Teaching Mistakes
"The following nominations [in this document] for the "Worst Teaching Mistake" are responses to the two-part
article "The Ten Worst Teaching Mistakes" by Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent reprinted in the On Course
Newsletter. If this extensive collection of teaching mistakes does nothing else, it certainly demonstrates how
many potholes and detours exist on the road to being an excellent educator."
6. University of Maryland Teaching References
U of MD CTE Teaching Folio
This folio covers a series of teaching topics, and contains an overview of concepts, suggestions, and initial
ideas on various aspects of teaching. These introductory notes on best teaching practices and good learning
outcomes are simple, easy-to-read abstracts that can introduce you to concepts and methods you may want to pursue
in more depth, help you review ideas you have considered previously, and stimulate you to think about teaching
more broadly in relation to your own goals and personal teaching style. Many of the texts and articles cited are
available in the CTE resource library, and some can be downloaded from
UMD Instructional Guide 2010-11
This memo contains several important items of interest to instructional faculty. See also the Office of Faculty
Affairs’ website at www.faculty.umd.edu/teach/InstructionalGuide.htm, which supplements the guide with additional
information on instructional policies and procedures.
UMD TeachingResourceGuide 2010-11
This guide suggests principles for effective teaching in support of meaningful learning. Its survey of pedagogy
includes descriptions of various teaching tools, polices, and resources for instructors.