What Is Microteaching?

 Why microteach?

Microteaching is organized practice teaching. The goal is  to give instructors confidence, support, and feedback by  letting them try out among friends and colleagues a short  slice of what they plan to do with their students. Ideally,  microteaching sessions take place before the first day of  class, and are videotaped for review individually with an  experienced teaching consultant. Microteaching is a quick,  efficient, proven, and fun way to help teachers get off to a  strong start.

How to microteach.

As many as six teachers from the same or similar courses  can participate in a single microteaching session. Course  heads, a few experienced instructors, and a Bok Center staff member are usually invited to serve as facilitators. While  one person takes his or her turn as teacher, everyone else  plays the roles of students. It is the job of these pretend  pupils to ask and answer questions realistically. It is the  job of the pretend teacher to involve his or her "class"  actively in this way.

Such a scenario typically runs for five to ten minutes.  When finished, the person conducting the class has a moment  or two to react to his or her own teaching. Then everyone  else joins in to discuss what they saw that they especially  liked. Finally, the group may mention just a few things that  the practice teacher might try doing differently in the  future.

Like all Bok Center tapes, videos of these sessions are  for the benefit of those taped and will not be seen by  anyone else without the explicit permission of the practice  teacher. Session tapes can even be erased immediately if the  practice teacher wishes. Nearly everyone, however, finds it  extremely helpful to make an appointment to view and discuss their tape together with a Bok Center consultant.

What to prepare.

Most course heads provide microteachers with scenarios to  prepare in advance. If not, think of a few minutes of  material that you especially would like to make sure your  students understand by the end of your next class. As  always, you should not only plan out how to treat the  subject matter, but also give some thought to how you are  going to present yourself, manage the class, and involve the  students. There are, of course, many different ways of  teaching a given lesson well. That is why participants find  that, along with what they learn from their own experience  practice teaching, they can also pick up many helpful ideas  from observing fellow microteachers.


Copyright © 1999 Derek Bok Center  for Teaching and Learning. Permission is granted to  educational institutions to reproduce this document for  internal use provided the Bok Center's authorship and copyright are acknowledged.

Derek Bok Center for
 Teaching and Learning
 Harvard University

Science Center 318
 One Oxford Street
 Cambridge, MA 02138-2901
 Voice: (617) 495-4869 * Fax: (617) 495-3739