How to Become an Instructor

Posted 2013-01-23 by Greg Wilson in Community.

As we've mentioned elsewhere, our instructors are volunteers who donate their time because it's fun, because it makes the world a better place, because they learn things themselves from teaching, and because it's good for their careers. But how did they become instructors? And how can you become one too?

Starting with the first question, 21 of our 31 instructors are people who figured out how to do hygienic computational science before we met them (or in some cases, taught us some of what we now teach). The other 10 started as learners: they attended a boot camp, then volunteered to help with another, and graduated from that to teaching. That's how we see the pool of instructors growing in future, so one of my main jobs this year is to regularize that.

  1. We run an online study group to teach the principles of educational psychology, and how those principles translate into classroom practice.
  2. We arrange for would-be instructors to help out at boot camps, then co-teach with someone more experienced, and then run one themselves.
  3. We are (slowly) assembling an instructors' guide that lays out our core material and the pedagogy around it (in educational jargon, the "pedagogical content knowledge").

The third round of our online study group kicked off last week, and we expect to start another one in March. If you're interested in taking part, please let us know: we're always looking for good people.

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