Last Tuesday through Friday, the CLS hosted an intensive Pedagogy Workshop aimed at helping new language instructors at Yale prepare for their first semesters of teaching. Over 35 graduate students and Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants gathered for group sessions on topics including an orientation to task-based and communicative language teaching, lesson planning, writing in the L2 classroom, and teaching language with film, along with panel discussions on classroom diversity and reflections from peer graduate students on first years of teaching [download schedule here].
As I reflected back on my own first days teaching as a graduate student instructor in Japanese a decade back, however, it struck me that something unique about last week’s pedagogy workshop was the opportunity to meet intensively on a daily basis in small groups with one’s peers, to present ideas about how communicative tasks can be structured, to hear feedback about an entire lesson plan and, perhaps most memorably, to stand in front of a group of fellow teachers-in-training and teach a small sample lesson. Along with everything else this exercise demanded, it calls for a good deal of bravery!
We all at the CLS would like to take this opportunity on the day before classes officially start at Yale to say, “Congratulations, everyone, and best of luck in the upcoming semester!” And if you’re just starting out teaching tomorrow, or if you started long ago, we welcome you to share some of your thoughts, questions and advice about last week’s workshop, and first days in the language classroom, in the comments below.