Although big ideas on pedagogy matter, you may wonder what some specific tips are in teaching an effective class. Reflecting on his own class, John Gibbons (spring 2014) provides Maria Oviedo (spring 2016) his insights and detailed tips for creating a powerful one-hour class session.
Insights on pedagogy/course development:
1. It is powerful to incorporate the real-life cases from people’s DAT teams into the class sessions.
2. It is useful to have immediate feedback from classmates at the end of each person’s class session through a 1-minute (feedback) paper.
3. He suggests that the students in this year’s course who are in the first ‘theory’ module should find a way to incorporate their own interests (e.g., development issues) so that they may find it more enjoyable.
4. The best classes were the ones that had more active participation from students (simulations and activities) and less ‘lecture’.
Lessons from John's class session:
1. John suggests taking advantage of the members of your own ‘module’ when creating your own class. For instance, John’s class session was on grant writing. During his in-class grant-writing simulation, the other members of his module played the role of representatives of major funding organizations (i.e., Gates foundation, USAID, etc.).These students had to read about their respective foundations in order to understand their organization’s funding priorities/criteria. He also used these students as a sounding board to get feedback for his ideas.
2. He found it useful to send his classmates a reading or background research assignment to his session.
3. He suggests having a backup ‘discussion’ points or ‘talking points’ in case there is little participation from students.
4. Another tip is to budget more time than you expect for each activity in case you get behind.
Development Advisory Team: BRAC; traveled to Cambodia
"Following graduation I participated in the American India Foundation’s Clinton Fellowship, a 10-month program where Indians and Americans are placed in NGOs or social enterprises across India. I was placed with Babajob.com, a tech-based social enterprise based in Bangalore that serves as the largest informal and entry-level formal sector jobs marketplace in India. The International Development in Practice II course is probably the reason why I was able to get the fellowship I participated. I use a lot of the learning from the class in my work still."