DRAFT WCA Guidelines for Successful Teaching

By Brittany Taylor,2014-07-04 22:26
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DRAFT WCA Guidelines for Successful Teaching

    DRAFT PTC Windchill Academy 2000

    Windchill Academy



    Successful Teaching

    PTC - Parametric Technology Corporation

DRAFT PTC Windchill Academy 2000


    INTRODUCTION ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 4 Four Skill Areas -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4 COMMUNICATION SKILLS --------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 Presence -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 Confidence ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 Control of classroom ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6 Eye Contact ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6 Speech Habits -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6 Voice ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 7 Appearance ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8 Posture, movement and gestures --------------------------------------------------------------------- 8 Use of language ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 9

     Inclusiveness --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9TEACHING SKILLS ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 10 Knows subject/materials ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10 Handles questions -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10 Deals with criticism ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 11 Manages class schedule ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11 Varies approach ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12 Uses audio-visual materials well -------------------------------------------------------------------- 12 TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE ------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 Has product knowledge ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 Cites real-world examples ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 Understands non-standard usage ------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 Recommends best practices -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 14 Demonstrates well ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 14 Handles unexpected glitches ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 14 BUSINESS SKILLS ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 16 Fulfill's requests for follow-up ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 16 Acknowledges gaps ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 17 Does not disparage competitors --------------------------------------------------------------------- 17

DRAFT PTC Windchill Academy 2000

    Contacts/Involves others as needed ---------------------------------------------------------------- 17 Supports enterprise solutions model --------------------------------------------------------------- 18 CONCLUSION ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 19 APPENDIX Instructor Evaluation Spreadsheet

DRAFT PTC Windchill Academy 2000


    As an instructor, you will be evaluated by your students at the end of every class. Often, you also receive feedback (usually not of the positive variety) during a class.

    The purpose of this section is to make you aware of those criteria that are most important and most often noticed by your students and colleagues. In addition, you should know that you will be evaluated on this basis when you do your trial presentations and when you co-teach.

Four Skill Areas

    There are probably a hundred ways to categorize the criteria under which an instructor is evaluated. We have chosen four basic skill sets.

    ? Communication skills

    ? Teaching skills

    ? Technical knowledge

    ? Business skills

    Teaching skills and technical knowledge carry slightly greater weight than the other two skill sets, but all must be present to a high degree in order to ensure success.

    Within each skill set, we have identified various specific criteria that are desired. We have assigned a relative score to each and have provided information to clarify what the skill actually means. In other words, we don’t just set goals, we describe what success looks like

    in each case. To see the actual score sheet, turn to the Appendix.

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    Speaking is the fundamental means that an instructor uses to communicate and convey knowledge. In this skill set you will find basic components of communication, such as voice, posture, eye contact and gestures. There are also some more subtle characteristics such as professionalism and “being in charge.” The actual criteria and their descriptions follow.


This is the characteristic of being totally focused on the work of teaching this class. From

    the moment a student first sees you to the final good-bye, you should clearly be there to transfer knowledge. That doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize after class hours, but

    teaching this class is your job and you have to demonstrate that you take it seriously.

    Measures of success

    ? Nothing distracts you from your purpose in being here.

    ? You eat, sleep and breathe for the benefit of your students for the duration of

    this class.

    ? At night, your time is your own. The rest of the day belongs to those who are

    paying for you to teach them your students. You use every moment to enhance

    their learning: breaks, lunch, before and after class.


This begins with self-confidence. You know you are the best at what you do. You have

    received recognition for it and you have no doubt that you are going to do an outstanding job with this class.

    You always behave professionally. That means you don’t “pal around” with the students; you are their instructor, not their buddy. You have a sense of humor. You can make an occasional joke, even laugh at yourself, but you never indulge in inappropriate or off-color remarks.

    Measures of success

    ? You are self-confident, but remain modest. You know you are good you don’t

    have to say so.

    ? You have a lively and appropriate sense of humor.

    ? You behave professionally at all times.

DRAFT PTC Windchill Academy 2000

    Control of classroom

    Many things can interrupt or distract from a class. You will make every effort to prevent or deal with these interruptions. You make sure the students are comfortable, that the doors are closed, that window blinds are closed if possible, and that distractions from outside the room do not interfere with your class.

    Measures of success

    ? You hold your students’ attention by being interesting and exciting, not by force.

    ? You minimize potential distractors (you may never win the battle over pagers!).

Eye Contact

    It almost goes without saying that you should look at your students. If you are not naturally comfortable with this, practice at first with people you love. Then, try it on people you meet in informal situations.

    When someone asks a question, do three things: repeat or rephrase the question (to be sure you understood it and that everyone heard it), look directly at the person asking the question, and take a step or two toward the questioner (this is a technique for “rewarding” the person for asking the question and reducing any anxiety that person may be feeling for appearing “dumb”). When answering the question, begin by looking at the questioner, but then expand your gaze to include everyone else. Look carefully for students who do not understand or disagree with your answer.

    Measures of success

    ? Without being obvious about it, you make sure that you look into the eyes of

    every person in the room, as often as possible.

    ? You train yourself to look around a lot -- avoid the temptation to focus on only

    those who are responding favorably or nodding when you say something.

    ? When someone asks a question, you follow the three rules listed above.

Speech Habits

    Nothing drives people crazy, or makes them stop thinking about what you are saying, like poor speaking habits. We focus on three here (distractors, annoyers and cliches), but there are many more.

    Distractors are words that creep into your speech, often because you are thinking about what to say next. They include “um,” “uh,” “well,” “so,” “you know” and others. Instead of using these distractors, you should learn to use silence to give yourself time to think. Often

DRAFT PTC Windchill Academy 2000

    replacing the distractor with a gesture serves the same purpose (bring your hand to your chin, for example).

    Annoyers are usually bad grammar. You may use them in informal speech, with never a complaint. However, in a classroom, they can quickly drive your listeners crazy (and end up reflected in your evaluations). You will have to listen to yourself very carefully to catch these. Sometimes, it helps to have an ally who listens to you and presents you with a list of annoyers that you (perhaps unconsciously) commit. Taping yourself also helps, but you have to listen very attentively because you may not recognize errors that you make all the time.

    Cliches are just lazy speech. Try to keep your presentation lively and interesting by thinking of new ways to say things. They can also sometimes be nothing more that l-o-n-g distractors (attempts to buy yourself time to think).

    One final word here: if you are really concerned about your speaking ability, join Toastmasters. The program is practically free (dues are collected) and will teach you excellent communication skills in a short period of time, using a structured program. I found that it helped me immeasurably, and that I could locate a Toastmasters meeting in any town I visited. All chapters welcome guests and are usually able to give you a chance to make a speech.

    Measures of success

    ? Simple: you don’t do any of the bad things!

    ? Your goal is to commit ZERO offenses in this category.


    In addition to speech habits, you need a good speaking voice. Toastmasters can also help you address this issue. Again, you may need to enlist the aid of an impartial ally as observer. You could also use a tape recorder or video camera to review yourself.

    Special considerations are required when you have students who are hearing-impaired or not native speakers of English. In such cases, you may need to adjust your speech habits and voice in order to help them understand. They may require almost constant eye contact in order to understand you.

    Measures of success

    ? Everyone in the room can hear you well, and no one feels overwhelmed by your


    ? You vary your tone of voice, pitch, volume and pace to add emphasis, variety and

    interest to what you are saying.

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    Usually, it means that you dress as well as, or a little bit better than, your students. For an on-site class, always ask about their dress code in advance and pack accordingly. For a public class, you might be able to decide based on the location (people in New York City are more likely to wear suits than people in Los Angeles). You will rarely be criticized for over-dressing, but almost always for not dressing formally enough. Your goal should be to establish clearly that you are the teacher (a sort of authority figure), and clothing contributes to that impression. You should avoid clothing that attracts attention to you. Your subject should be more interesting than your wardrobe.

    In addition to clothing, appearance also includes your work area, desk top, brief case if visible, and all other spaces under your control. A disorganized teacher does not inspire trust and credibility.

    Measures of success

    ? Your choice of clothing is appropriate for your audience.

    ? Your clothing is always clean, pressed if needed and not in need of repair.

    ? Your work area and all spaces under your control are neat and orderly.

Posture, movement and gestures

    Even when you are using a laptop or PC to show a presentation or demonstrate a tool, you can move around. You should move around the room as much as possible, forward and back, right

     students can see you. It is not a good idea to get yourself into a and left, as long as all

    position behind the class, except when they are taking a test or doing an exercise. At the PC, stand and sit as often as possible, just to vary your position and keep their attention on you. If you are referencing a white board or flip chart (or a poster on the wall), walk over to it while speaking. This draws the students’ attention to what you are saying.

    Use gestures (pointing, nodding, hands behind your back, counting on your fingers, etc.) to add to what you are saying. Be natural about these. Practice in front of a mirror, if necessary to help you relax and make them “yours.” Put notes in your instructor’s book to

    remind you to use them when appropriate.

    Always sit or stand straight. Visually, this contributes to students’ perception of you as an authority. Internally, it helps you to feel in control of the situation. This is especially important when you are answering a question or dealing with a difficult student.

    Measures of success

    ? You are not “nailed in place.” You move around freely and comfortably.

DRAFT PTC Windchill Academy 2000

    ? You use gestures naturally to add to what you are saying; your gestures do not


    ? Your posture is always straight.

Use of language

    Your goal is to be understood, while also being interesting. In many classes, you are introducing new terminology, which may require explanation or examples. There is nothing wrong with using vocabulary or grammar that demonstrates that you are an authority. Never “talk down” to your students – they will catch on quickly.

    Obviously, never use any expression that may even remotely be offensive to a student. Be respectful of minorities, foreign students and others who might misinterpret what you say.

    Measures of success

    ? Your choice of words is appropriate to the students’ level of education, region,

    business and backgrounds.

    ? The words you use are understood by all.

    ? You easily restate what you have said if someone does not understand it.


In “ordinary” classes, you want to make every student feel welcome, included and a part of

    what is going on. In extraordinary situations, you want all this and more. You may have disabled students, people with some visible disfigurement, and even cross-dressers. Your job is not simply to treat everyone “the same.” Rather, you must adjust to meet everyone’s needs and desire for respect.

    Measures of success

    ? Be sensitive to the needs of every student.

    ? Respect all differences and disabilities.

DRAFT PTC Windchill Academy 2000


    In addition to communicating well, you must also be able to teach. Teaching means that you have the ability to convey knowledge and transfer skills. Some people question whether teaching is an innate ability or something that can be learned. While some natural skill is usually there, most people can become teachers, given good examples and appropriate experience.

Knows subject/materials

    One of the marks of a successful teacher is absolute and total familiarity with the materials. Having this skill will give you confidence and allow you to focus on student needs and questions, rather than fumbling with your props. This can become especially important when you are forced to use a student-supplied machine. If this happens, practice in private until you have mastered it.

    Often, in answer to a question, you need to “fast forward” or move backward to another part of the presentation. Again, only total mastery over your materials will make this possible.

    Measures of success

    ? You are completely familiar with slides, text, hand-outs, equipment, demo and all

    other materials.

    ? You know the flow of the course and can easily refer to other sections of the

    materials as needed.

Handles questions

    Students are often reluctant to ask questions. You want to create an environment in which students feel safe in asking questions and that their questions are a part of the learning experience. It is not enough simply to say this; your actions, gestures, eye contact and voice need to reinforce this message at all times.

    Remember this technique: when someone asks a question, do three things: repeat or rephrase the question, look directly at the person asking the question, and take a step or two toward the questioner.

    Mark your instructor’s notes with questions that you want students to ask. If they don’t, first ask if they have any questions, and then suggest what they might have asked.

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