Training in Teaching

The Mathematical Institute strongly encourages graduate students to become involved in its class teaching. To have had some teaching experience is likely to benefit your career, especially if you intend to continue in academia, where academic jobs increasingly expect some teaching experience, but also more generally as it should help you to develop your communication skills.  The Mathematical Institute has developed a programme to provide graduate students who teach with induction, opportunities for mentored teaching, support, and further training sessions. The training scheme has been set up to introduce graduates, irrespective of their teaching background, to the format of teaching Maths at Oxford. 

At the start of Michaelmas Term, the department runs a compulsory, initial training session in class teaching.  It then provides opportunities for graduates to act as teaching assistants (TAs) for the third and fourth year undergraduate classes. As a TA you will be working as a sort of apprentice to the class tutor, who will mentor you and report briefly at the end of the term on your progress.  Reports are reviewed by the Faculty Teaching Advisor (Dr Vicky Neale) and the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Dr Richard Earl). 

Attendance at the initial training session together with two satisfactory reports on classs teaching, across two terms, leads to a pass at Stage 1 of the department's training scheme. Those who pass Stage 1 will be considered as fully trained TAs; eligible to act as class tutors in the intercollegiate class scheme (subject to demand, as priority is given to departmental members with teaching contracts); and added to the Departmental Teaching Register which is available for college tutors to consult. Stage 1 constitutes Preparation for Learning and Teaching (PLTO) in the University's terminology. 

Further optional training is offered in Trinity Term in the form of a workshop on tutorial teaching. This is recommended to those who have successfully completed the first stage of training and are interested in acting as a tutor in a college.  Students who have completed Stage 1 and wish to act as a class tutor for the intercollegiate class scheme will need to attend an Induction Session for New Class Tutors.  There is a session at the start of both Michaelmas and Hilary terms. 

Stage 2 is called Developing Learning and Teaching (DLT) and training consists of background reading, attendance at training workshops, some practical experience of teaching and reflective evaluation of the teaching.  The DLT programme is assessed via a written reflective teaching portfolio (2,500-5,000 words). The programme is accredited by the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA). Successful completion of the DLT programme will lead to a SEDA PDF "Supporting Learning" award, a useful addition to your cv. You can progress to Stage 2, once you have completed the initial training session for Stage 1 and already have, or be able to gain, some experience of teaching during the DLT programme.  If you wish to go on to Stage 2 please make contact with the Faculty Teaching Advisor through the acadadmin@maths.ox.ac.uk

For details of Stage 1 (PLTO) and Stage 2 (DLT) see the Oxford Learning Institute webpages and the MPLS training webpages

Graduates who wish to teach in undergraduate classes should contact acadadmin@maths.ox.ac.uk.

For material from the last Mathematical Institute training seminars see Class Teaching Training Sessions.

Those who wish to pursue an academic career might like to consider the advice offered in the Notices of the AMS to jobseekers, as well as an analysis of the way teaching is evaluated by hiring committees. Although these are specifically about US practice, a lot of what is said is of value generally.