Institute of Teaching and Learning

Professional Development for Teaching and Learning

Concluding comments

You should not underestimate how important you are to the success of a unit. You have been asked to be a demonstrator not only because you have a good knowledge of the material and techniques to be taught in the practical program but also because you are enthusiastic about the discipline. As demonstrators you are at the front line in encouraging students to have a positive view of the discipline and enticing students to continue their studies in the discipline. It is a fact of life that lecturers have to reluctantly acknowledge - students tend to relate better to their demonstrators who are often closer in age and/or because students get to know their demonstrators and relate better to them due to the more intimate nature of prac classes. In student unit evaluations there tends to be more enthusiasm about individual demonstrators than lecturers.

If you are new to demonstrating, don't expect to be the best demonstrator Deakin has ever seen ... for a short while anyhow. There are many challenges and you will certainly learn fast, developing more self confidence along the way. Take a moment to pause after a prac class and decide what worked and what didn't. Talk to the more experienced demonstrators - they will have lots of handy hints and tactics that have worked for them.

You are in a position to have a significant effect on the quality of the student practical experience, encouraging students not only to master new technical skills but to tackle problems confidently and to promote a more thorough understanding of the subject matter of the unit. You also want them to enjoy what they are doing. One excellent approach to encouraging students is to show your genuine enthusiasm for the discipline.

Remember you are a role model for students in your appearance, knowledge, technical skills and enthusiasm for the discipline:

  • make sure you are attired sensibly for the laboratory with an appropriate lab coat, hair tied back out of your face, closed shoes.
  • model good practice in your discipline, including how you handle materials, equipment and people.

You are at the front line in encouraging and motivating students to:

  • confirm that they are in the right course.
  • choose to major in the discipline (especially if they are in first year)
  • aspire to master the techniques needed by practitioners in their chosen discipline.

 

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30th November 2010