Micro-Teaching: Practice Your Teaching

Micro-Teaching (as offered by CIE) is the teaching of a brief, seven-minute lesson in front of a group of peers while utilizing a lesson plan. After teaching, you will receive feedback from peers and then meet with a CIE staff member to watch and discuss your video. Finally, you will submit a reflective essay discussing your experience. This is a certificate requirement on its own and it does not count towards the teacher development activities.

Note: Micro-Teaching during TAOR week is only for teaching assistants who have been registered for TAOR by their departments. Additional Micro-Teaching sessions are offered in fall and spring semesters by CIE as part of the College Teaching Workshop series.

Preparing the Micro-Teaching Lesson

  • Choose a familiar topic: You may use the optional, attached Lesson Plan form to prepare a sevenminute mini-lesson on a topic that you might teach during this coming semester. Select a topic with which you are familiar so you can focus on planning how to teach the topic rather than learning about it. Choose a topic from your discipline, rather than a general one, to give you an authentic experience.
  • Prepare a seven-minute mini-lesson: Your lesson may include one or more types of instructional activities (e.g., presentation, discussion, demonstration, think-pair-share, group problem-solving) and/or instructional technologies (e.g. Adobe Connect, HotSeat, Blackboard Learn, PowerPoint, video, Internet resources). As a part of your lesson, make sure to let your “students” know the purpose of your lesson and provide a summary or sense of closure at the end of the session. Some examples of what you might do in your lesson are: 1) introduce a concept that your students need to learn, 2) demonstrate a procedure that your students will have to do in the laboratory, or 3) facilitate pair or group work during which your students solve a problem you give them during a recitation period or help session. These are examples only and should not limit your selection of the lesson you choose to do in the Micro-Teaching session. Keep in mind the diverse backgrounds of those you will teach, many of whom may have little or no understanding of the topic of your lesson.
  • Write at least one objective to guide your lesson. State your objective(s) at the beginning of your lesson. Remember that an objective should be written in terms of what your students will be able to do as a result of the lesson, using an action verb. Tips on developing objectives will be provided during the “Frameworks for Learning” breakout. See also the CIE video on Learning Outcomes.
  • Create ways for students to participate. Your colleagues will be role-playing the students in your class. Students will be more engaged and learn more deeply if you build in some questions and/or some sort of class participation.

Using Media and Materials during Your Lesson

  • You may use small amounts of notes (or note cards) that outline your key ideas and/or activities. Work from key words or an outline. Do not write out your entire lesson—you might be tempted to read it. Maintain as much eye-contact with the class as possible, to keep students engaged.
  • You may use PowerPoint, props, technology, and/or the whiteboard. We encourage you to use materials to capture students’ interest and engage their visual senses, tactile senses, etc.
  • Provide handouts for your students if conducive to their learning.

Preparing for Micro-Teaching

  • Practice the presentation portions of your lesson. When you practice, use a conversational tone — the tone you use when instructing a small group of students. Give your presentation in front of a mirror so you can practice changing your facial expressions. If you have access to a video camera, record yourself and watch it. If possible, give your presentation to people who will give you feedback. In any event, make sure you practice aloud.
  • Review the Micro-Teaching feedback form (here) to get an idea of the criteria your peers will be using in their feedback. We are going to be looking at your delivery techniques, but also your effectiveness in planning and presenting a lesson. You don’t need to aim for a perfect lesson — this is a formative activity, designed to give you feedback, not a grade. Mistakes are not unusual.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

  • Play the role of a student during your colleagues' lessons and in completing the feedback form. On the day of the Micro-Teaching session, you will be assigned to a group of six to ten participants. As each person presents, you will role-play as a student and complete the form. After each person presents, the facilitator will lead a discussion so that you can give feedback to the speaker.
  • Use this session to practice giving feedback to others. This is a skill you will be able to use in the future. Colleagues in your department might ask you to sit in their classes and give them feedback. If you become a university administrator, you will definitely need to learn to identify good teaching practices and know how to give people suggestions for improving their lessons.
  • Listen to the feedback you receive during the session. Be sure to listen for those things you are doing well, as well as ideas for improvement. Each participant may react differently to your lesson.

Micro-Teaching Insturcutions (.pdf)

Follow-up Consultation

Set up an appointment with a consultant at CIE to obtain additional feedback on your mini-lesson presentation.

Before leaving on the day of your Micro-Teaching presentation, sign up for a 30-minute playback consultation with a staff member from the Center for Instructional Excellence. You will view your Micro-Teaching recording during this one-on-one consultation to help you identify your strengths, areas that you might want to work on to improve your teaching skills, and strategies for improving these skills.

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