Friday, June 19, 2015

Zeno's paradox of teaching

I've wrapped up my Spring term teaching and received my teaching evals. Now that I've (finally) had a chance to teach the same class a few times, I am starting to believe in what I call Zeno's Paradox of Teaching: every time I teach a class, my improvement in teaching quality is half the distance between quality of the last time I taught it and my maximum ability to teach that material.
If I'm right about this, then I think it means that it's important to think long-term when approaching teaching:
  1. New faculty (like me) should start by teaching primarily core courses, ones that are offered every year, have good support materials, and provide a consistent opportunity for improvement. Specialized seminars can be fun to teach, but if they're not going to be offered every year, then improvement will be slow.
  2. Don't drive yourself (myself) crazy trying to teach the "perfect" class on your (my) first time teaching. Try to do a good job and next time try to improve on it as much as possible.
  3. Zeno's paradox means that I'll never teach quite as well as I think I could teach. The positive message there is that one should continue trying to come up with creative ways to improve a course. The warning there is that perfection is not an appropriate standard and not to be too hard on oneself for failing to reach it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A little growth curve analysis Q&A

I had an email exchange with Jeff Malins, who asked several questions about growth curve analysis. I often get questions of this sort and Jeff agreed to let me post excerpts from our (email) conversation. The following has been lightly edited for clarity and to be more concise.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Job Opening: MRRI Institute Investigator (all levels) -- Language and Cognition in Neuropsychological Populations

Moss Rehabilitation ResearchInstitute (MRRI) seeks an Institute Investigator to join our historic program in language and cognition and help build the next generation of translational neuroscience/neurorehab research.

The successful applicant is expected to conduct an independent program of research and to participate in research collaborations within and outside MRRI. The ideal candidate is a cognitive, clinical, or neuroscientist or speech-language pathologist who studies language or related cognitive disorders, and who may also conduct research in translating basic science findings to improve clinical practice. Preference will be given to candidates who complement the faculty’s interests in areas like language processing, language learning, semantics, action planning, cognitive control, neuromodulation, neuroplasticity, and/or lesion-symptom mapping