07 - Teaching and History

07 - Teaching and History

My teaching career began as a Private Tutor while I was still an undergraduate. It was clear to me from my first day in front of a class that teaching would always be an important part of my career. I have consistently received excellent teaching reviews over the years, and I consider my teaching to be one of my greatest strengths and pleasures, as well as a source of inspiration for my learning. Since 2007, I have also taken an active role in general research, as well as directing the open developing educational research for the villager, these experiences have enriched my own research program, and have been enormously satisfying both personally and professionally.

My formal teaching experience has spanned more than 11 years and includes more than 20 instructed courses. Through the use of different pedagogies and attention to learners backgrounds and interest, I have been successful in consistently generating enthusiasm for the subjects I have taught. I promote active learning and classroom communication, particularly through the use of traditional and modern technology. Integrity, fun, and social justice have been important themes in all my teaching-learning interactions. My teaching has provided me with a wealth of tools of self-reflection, giving me new insights into my own professional interests, and informing my research. From student questions and comments during class, office hours, and from my supervision of the after class time. I have found a new understanding and increased appreciation of mechatronics, combinatorics, and even calculus. My teaching and advising experience has been recognized by the learners in my classes, this the most prestigious award in my support of teaching-learning, which exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of the institution.

I have received very positive feedback from students and colleagues in the vast majority of courses I have taught. in my process of teaching, my supervisor approval ratings have been almost uniformly higher than notably.


Thank you Letter made by students initiative

Since 2007, I have advised and taught more than 100 learners in learning projects from 2010-2018, a complete list with descriptions can be found on my CV, and the learners. in the summer of 2013, I was given the opportunity to design and run a Research Experience for the use of New Modern Technology with Education Bureau and International School of China. Together with educator teams, we tackled problems at the intersection of function and the security of modern technology. All of those learners know have a benefit of using technology in the teaching and learning process. it was so successful that I used it to form the basis for a Further Research Experience Programs I designed (AT.LS - Advance Technology Learning System) as the educational component of my teaching-learning, which has run successfully since 2014.

Thank you letter made by colleagues

Instructor Experience

I have taught 25 learning courses and 4 liberal courses from 2007 - 2018; a complete list with descriptions can be found on my site.

Learning Courses

While still a graduate student at San Diego State University, I designed and research a topics course on Fun Technology and Learning Ideals to an audience of approximately villagers and institutions. I found the process of course design thought-provoking and exhilarating. As the term progressed, I learned a great deal about setting the pace of lectures and designing helpful homework, and I documented my thoughts on my teaching so I could reflect upon them as the term progressed. Feedback from the learners and colleague in existences was extremely helpful. in the end, my reviews for the course were excellent.

As an Instructor at International School, I had the opportunity to teach several different levels of learners in different curriculum, like Pre-Calculus Classes, AP Calculus Classes, AP Physics Classes, A-Level Further Maths, A-Level Mechanics, A-Level ICT, IB Maths HL, and IB Further Maths DP, the audience was a mix of learners from having an interest of Math or just taking as a compulsory courses - a group that presented some challenges in finding the right level at which to teach. I followed the excellent example of my Professors and succeeded in conveying the main ideas, concepts, and philosophy of the subject, leaving many of the details to the textbook (http://www.alberttls.us/book-of-references.php). One measure of my success in inspiring the students is the fact that the best graduate student in that class, later became a successful learner, shifting her learning from the theory side to practice of their chosen life.

The Third Curriculums, AP - IB - CIE, is a topics curriculum usually taught by the native in those curriculums; I was fortunate to have the chance to use it to develop my understanding of learnings. The audience was quietly varied, including free-learners and paid-learners from the different institute and some members of the teacher. After covering standard material on each curriculum, I continued with aspects of the applications to the processing of systems. I learned an enormous amount from teaching these curriculums; indeed, my paper, Critical Leadership Versatility in Education of Teaching Learning Process, published in the webpage, began with questions I developed while teaching these curriculums.

At the Institute, I have taught 25 learning courses: three topics courses under the main major A-Level Further Mathematics (on general theory under CIE Curriculum), AP Calculus AB and BC (the full year, two-semester course, core sequences of College Board), AP Physics (the full year, two-semester course, core sequences of College Board), and IB Further Maths (a two-course sequence). All have been illuminating and very enjoyable and challenging. Teaching complex equations was a delightful experience, having a full year to design the structure and flow of the course to suit my interest and the student's needs. I learned more teaching these courses than I did taking them as students. The three curriculum sequence in differential groups was also a great learning experience for me, and through it, I wrote a polished set of lecture notes (over several pages in length, available in my own webpage) which I may try to turn into a pdf book at some point. For the topics courses, I spent a great deal of time synthesizing those aspects of the literature that could reasonably be covered in introductory courses aimed at learners with only the usual core background curriculum in analysis and possibility of applying the systems. These curricula were extremely well-attended, with more than 100 learners in each along with several faculty members both from the analysis, educators, and other fields such as society, literature department as well. I prepared detailed and polished lecture notes for each course (both available on my website). My random theory notes have been used and cited by dozens of learners in the field. I am currently teaching Applied Science: The Theory of Survival (a two-course sequence), and will teach another topics course in Spring 2018.

Liberal Course

My Liberal teaching has been a mix of theoretical and application, with upper-division courses in physics, calculus, linear algebra, and real analysis. My first official instructor position was in Fall 2005, teaching a heterogeneous mix of talented and enthusiasm high schooler about AS and A Level of Mathematics courses to fulfill a pro forma requirements of their programs. It took time to find a balance between the interests of these groups, but I was ultimately successful in engaging the entire class.

For the first two years following my Ph.D., I taught theoretical calculus - AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC and the combination of theoretical and applied AP Physics 1 and 2 at the cooperate Foundations. These were rigorous courses aimed at the most mathematically talented freshmen. I devoted significant effort to preparing lectures, constructing challenging problems for homework sets, and maintaining a careful balance in lectures between fine detail and important concepts in my teaching. Later, in Spring 2012, I developed the use of Technology in Education, another advanced challenging project for education, though not as proof-based as ICT class. This project was larger, composed of a wide range of education levels. This was my first experience researching education projects; it was a different kind of challenge than I'd dealt with before and took some adjustment. I attempted to several class activities and periods to varied levels of ability in learning. My very positive reviews speak to how cooperatively my colleagues.

In China, I also had the opportunity to teach Computer Science twice. This course was designed by CIE Examination and GAC Curriculum when they are a legitimate institute in giving a standard international examination. Of particular interest was the second iteration of the class, which I taught as an ICT Intensive course; in an extra hour of lecture per week, the students participated in various exercises (typing, presenting, etc.) to develop their skills at digital communication and data management. This process was very useful for the students, to be sure, but even more so for me. The materials I developed are publicly available on my personal site at http://www.alberttls.us/computer-science.php and http://www.alberttls.us/general-tech.php

Also in China, I have taught Physics: Mechanics three times, A-Level Maths: Further Maths twice, A-Level Math: Pure Maths, AP Calculus AB and BC, Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP) Programs once and various calculus and linear algebra course for a beginner. These courses presented new challenges to me, largely due to size. The lower division classes now routinely have more than 50 students in the classroom, and the upper division classes are often close to 20 students. Teaching courses of this size is a fundamentally different job. I feel that I am as much a manager as an instructor: it is not possible to have much individual interaction with many of the students, and instead I coordinate a team of assistant teacher and excellent graders. One method I have used to get accurate feedback in such large-class settings is through polling technology, which has had some success. There was an adjustment period in my first year, but since then I have performed well in this environment.

Beyond the Curriculum

I have regularly engaged in extra-curricular teaching activities since I was a middle schooler student. Following are six projects I have been involved with over the past twentieth years.

International Chess. From 1995 - now, I organized and voluntarily taught International Chess: a program of after-school activity at the middle school, high school, university, and chess community (from which I graduated in 1996 - primary school) to share the joy of learning international chess after the school activity for a group of middle schooler, high schooler, and university student. I prepared and delivered 3 hours of sharing per week, graded puzzle, competitions, and created some challenge games which gave participating students bonus credits for the relevant strategy. Class size was 10 - 20 each year.

Outdoor Sport. From 1997 - now, I organized and ran the Outdoor Sport, which entailed hiking mountains, camping with limited stuff, and preparing life skills. There were more than fifty participants for the qualifying activity each year, and between 12 - 20 who qualified for the rough field and activity. There were frequently several hundred unexpected fields (including some who traveled from across the country), and in 2015 the event surely becomes a popular among young Shenzhener (native and non native young adults whose living in shenzhen).

Research. Since 2012, I have served as the non profit liaison from the science department of the high school, to the each place I offered my service. I oversee all of the possible official research activities to educational purposes. In that capacity, my most important responsibility is the coordination of the learning and human safety. Each year, between 8 and 12 high schooler and first year college students join the activities. I chair a committee of donation private company to organize the event. Together we create the systems and supervise its process. I then organize an awards for all participating learners.

Board Game. In 2014 - now, together with several interested people, I crated a board game team at the city of Shen Zhen, Guang Zhou, Bei Jing, and Shang Hai. The goal was to expose the fun of board game to community, especially English Speaking Community in non Speaking Country in main city like Shen Zhen, Guang Zhou, Bei Jing, and Shang Hai, that they would not ordinarily see, even in a typical board game activity, and to follow up for the last two months of the year with directed board game seminars. The program was a great success and continues to run today, taught by the volunteer to organize the meet up, board game discussion, role playing game, etc. Initially voluntary for the instructors, it is now integrated among the teams in board game activity. It often has more than ten peoples participants at the town, and is considered one of the great success of the Board Game outreach to the community.

Curriculum Redesign

When I improved a project AT.LS become AT.LS Foundation and cooperate with several educational institute, there was a few courses sequence taken by nearly all of the first year learners on campus (and certainly by all science majors). Which were  Calculus AB, and BC, Multivariable Calculus, Differential Equations, General Physics, and Mechanics. It struck me as odd that Mechanics was at the end of the sequence rather than at the beginning; indeed, mechanics had a lot of calculus as a prerequisite, not the other way around (which meant time was being wasted in vector calculus on determinants and pieces needed to understand the implicit function theorem, etc.). I inquired and was told the curriculum departments at the international school wanted it this way and we had obliged for the past decade.

Once I was promoted to Strategic Specialist, I collaborated with a Teaching Professor in several educational institute to sues out the real reason behind the prerequisite structure, which (we confirmed with some research) was out of line with almost all science departments throughout education. After discussing the matter with associate chairs of several engineering program's, it became clear that whatever historical reason for this design had been long forgotten, and everyone agreed that it would make more sense to move mechanics to the beginning.

I prepared a 16 pages proposal on a thorough redesign of the Learning Sequence, which would now be Maths and Physics sub major. The proposal included research on the curricula at several universities considered among cooperated peers, an analysis of how the changed prerequisite structure would affect all majors, programs, and systems on foundation, a pedagogical summary of why the changes were necessary, and support letters I had collected from several peoples. This proposal was approved by the boards, and eventually the colleagues of the foundation. It went into effect this past fall, and is running smoothly in its first incarnation.

I am currently working on a (smaller scale) project to revamp the systems, syllabus, and textbook choice for our teaching learning; I expect that to be complete and implemented by Summer 2020.

Research Experienced and Advising

I have served as the teacher and consultant for more than 100 students, and some of them are PhD Students: more than 20 who have graduated, 80's who are currently in the university, and two who are current advisees. I have also been very involved with undergraduate research advising for the past 10 years and for the past 20 years, since I was a middle school students, I have served as the lab assistant for more than 40 friends in the classes.

I was originally working in Private Non Profit Organizations and Private Tribe laboratory science, then I changed my focus to develop education and formally become educators in 2007. My work is in applied technology and related education. My first two papers, based on my work experienced, were published in the university library. 

In March 2013, I also worked in the field of IT. I works in random application and systems for education. I have two published papers, one is about the applications and another one about how the systems of technology can work.

Since 1997, I have advised more than 60th research projects. In the summer of 2004, I was given the opportunity to design and run a Research Experience for Villager project by some donator. Together with several doctors, we tackled problems at the intersection of free environment and traditional life of living. All of us went on to Research programs in Education, Physics, or Doctor Specialist. It was so successful that I used it to form the basis for a Collaborative Research Experienced, which I developed as the educational component of my AT.LS plan, which has run successfully. In addition, I have advised several learners and institution these projects to be applied in teaching and learning process.

Pedagogy and Teaching Goals

In the more than ten years I have been teaching. I have learned a great deal about interacting with students both in and out of the classroom. As I teach more, my teaching philosophy has evolved and continues to evolve. For example, here are some points addressing some aspects of pedagogy that have been forefront in my mind lately.

Assessment. Timed examinations are an unavoidable reality of large lecture classes. Many students experience exam anxiety related in large part to time-pressure. To compensate for this, I always schedule evening exams and give the students essentially unlimited time. That is, I design an exam meant to be finished in 50 minutes, but I give the students 4 or 5 hours (and there are always folks still working at the end). This has measurably improved performance, and more importantly, markedly improved student confidence and interest in the subject matter.

Polling Technology. The iClicker is a real-time electronic polling technology that Foundation has accepted as a standard and has been used in many courses for the last 3 years effectively. I have used iClickers consistently in lower-division courses, and I am a strong believer in the pedagogical value of this technology. (back in 2012, I was the first educator in China at International School of China to use them). I begin most learning with an iClicker questions: a multiple choice problem designed to test the students understanding of a key concept from the course material in the immediately previous learning. After voting, I show the students the histogram of the responses, then give the students a short time to discuss the problem with neighboring students to decide whether they were correct, and then poll the class again. These well-documented technique apps, which gives the instructor a quick and accurate snapshot of the students understanding of the polled concepts; as a form of interactive learning, it is also very effective at teaching the concepts to the students, particularly through its peer instructional aspects. More about the app using in education.

To conclude, here is a summary of important issues I continually addressed in my own teaching style:

Attendance. Another name is student participation. While there are benefits to traditional learning-style teaching. I find that most students benefit from some form of active learning. As an instructor, I strive to involve the class as much as possible in-class activities and conversation; I frequently and strongly encourage questions from the class. With more focused preparation of thought-provoking problems, I can better foster class discussion. One technique I often use is to begin each lecture with a relatively simple multiple choice question that elucidates a key idea, and poll the class; this both gives me a quick sense of the students prior knowledge and helps shape their perceptions of the material when it did well.

Written communication. I believe one of the most important skills for students to learn, and one that is widely lacking, is the ability to communicate their ideals in their written work. In various courses, I have addressed this problem, pointing out style issues in class, making detailed comments in grading, and handing out documents with suggestions for writing practices.

Lecture detail. I have always favored lectures where the focus is on the ideas behind important theorems and proofs, while laborious detail is left to guided homework exercises or written handouts and textbooks. However, I sometimes find myself giving more detail-based lectures than idea-based lectures (particularly in graduate courses). I strive to find a balance between the two lecture styles which will result in effective instruction while maintaining a reasonable workload (for me and for the students).

Social justice in the classroom. Nearly every class at any level has both students who excel and students who struggle with the material. It is very tempting, as an instructor, to favor the more interested, more advanced students when answering class questions or setting homework and exams. Devoting time and resources to struggling students is an important priority.

Enthusiasm. It is important to teach any subject with passion and interest. This can be a challenge when teaching material one has taught many times before. When I teach calculus, I try to rekindle the sense of wonder the material gave me the first time I saw it. It is always my goal to leave a class excited about mathematics; in turn, I have the opportunity to see the material fresh again through the eyes of the students.


Posted By: alberttls
Posted On: May-03-2018 @ 01:15am
Last Updated: Dec-21-2018 @ 01:35am
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