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Giving Teaching a Change

Giving Teaching A Chance

Wesley Chan's column ["To Teach or Not To Teach" Dec. 5, 1997] struck a chord with those of us involved in a new venture at MIT called the Teaching and Learning Laboratory.

For several years now, a number of programs have existed at MIT designed to improve teaching and learning at the Institute. These include a videotaping and consulting service, which, as its name implies, gives MIT faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants the opportunity to have a class videotaped and then to meet with a teaching consultant to review the tape; an orientation for new faculty and new TAs held at the beginning of each fall semester; a series of IAP workshops called "Better Teaching @ MIT," listed on page 38 of the IAP Guide; and teaching workshops that are held for faculty and TAs within their own departments.

TLL has taken on the organization and direction of these programs, but in partnership with the departments and other offices at MIT, it intends to develop additional programs that will strengthen the visibility and legitimacy of teaching and learning at the Institute. For example, this spring the Stephen P. Kaufman classroom for instruction in teaching will open in Building 9. The Kaufman classroom, a state-of-the-art videotaping studio, will allow us to improve both how we videotape classes and our consultations with instructors who use those tapes to improve their classroom instruction.

TLL also works with undergraduates who are interested in teaching. This spring, staff will lead two workshops for students who are volunteering to teach in urban schools over spring break in conjunction with the national Teach for America program.

This is just the beginning of an effort we hope will have a widespread, positive impact at MIT. We would very much welcome student involvement and input in our work.

Lori Breslow

Director, Teaching and Learning Laboratory