Lectures: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 12 noon-1 PM, room Math 202
Office hours: by appointment
Office: Math 212 (Mathematics Building)
Email address:
Phone number: (604) 822-4371

Course description: The purpose of this course is to provide students with training to help them become more effective teachers, and also to give the mathematics department a means for evaluating the suitability of students to teach undergraduate courses in mathematics.

Virtually everybody is capable of becoming a competent and skillful instructor, but virtually nobody would do well if made to teach a course without preparation or forethought about effective teaching practices. Structuring a course, preparing lectures, delivering information, responding to questions, assigning homework, dealing with problem students, and so on are all areas where a little consideration of certain guidelines can vastly improve a teacher's performance.  Much of what comprises excellent teaching is quite different from individual to individual; most of what comprises bad teaching, on the other hand, is universal yet easily avoided with some experience.

Evaluation: The course is graded on a pass/fail basis. Passing the course is based on the following criteria:

  • Attendance
  • Participation in discussions and class activities
  • Completion of teaching presentations

Students will give two presentations during the semester, one of length 15 minutes and one of length 40 minutes. The first, short presentation will be to critique the students' mechanics and classroom presence, while the long presentations will be to critique their organization of material into a beneficial lecture. Students will teach typical topics from first-year calculus as if the audience were actually a first-year calculus class, after which they will receive feedback from the rest of the class and the instructor.

Supplement: I found a teaching statement I wrote in 2005, and it's surprisingly lucid. It could be thought-provoking for you to read over.


The schedule for the semester is as follows:

I. Preparation for short presentations
Wednesday, September 5: Overview of course
Friday, September 7: Description and scheduling of short presentations
Monday, September 10: Example lecture and discussion
Wednesday, September 12: Blackboard technique
II. Short presentations
III. Preparation for long presentations
Wednesday, October 10: Lecture design and modularity
Friday, October 12: In-class group activity, practice lecture design
Monday, October 15: Description and scheduling of long presentations
Wednesday, October 17: Feedback and discussion of practice lectures
Friday, October 19: Asking and receiving student questions and feedback, classroom psychology
IV. Long presentations

Short presentations

Each short presentation will last 15 minutes, either from 12:00-12:15 or 12:25-12:40 PM. Students should imagine that they are giving a full lecture on the indicated topic and then deliver a 15-minute-long portion (typically the first 15 minutes) of what the full lecture would be; in short, there should be no pressure on completely covering the given topic. Students should also think about where their topic would fall in a typical (non-honours) first-year calculus curriculum, although any reasonable assumptions in this vein are acceptable and need not be made explicit.

The schedule for the short (15-minute) presentations will be:

Friday, September 14
Bruno: Logarithms in calculus
Amir: Asymptotes
Monday, September 17
Michele: First Derivative Test for local extrema
Andrew: Integration by parts
Wednesday, September 19
Keira: Seperable differential equations
Ryan: The area between curves
Friday, September 21
Jenn: Integration by substitution
Monday, September 24
Frank: The Chain Rule
Patrick: Improper integrals
Wednesday, September 26
Evgeniy: Continuity
Dennis: Critical points
Monday, October 1
Maria: Trigonometric functions in calculus
Jun: The Quotient Rule
Wednesday, October 3
David: l'Hôpital's Rule
Alex: The Product Rule
Friday, October 5
Jun Ho: The Intermediate Value Theorem
Erick: Second Derivative Test for local extrema

Long presentations

The schedule for the long (40-minute) presentations will be:

Monday, October 22
Frank: The slope of a graph
Wednesday, October 24
Jun Ho: Improper integrals
Friday, October 26
Jun: Finding all zeros of functions (bounding zeros, Newton's method)
Monday, October 29
Maria: Second Derivative Test for local extrema
Wednesday, October 31
Alex: Continuity
Friday, November 2
Erick: Logarithms in calculus
Monday, November 5
Bruno: l'Hôpital's Rule
Wednesday, November 7
Patrick: The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus
Friday, November 9
Amir: Integration by substitution
Wednesday, November 14
Jenn: The Intermediate Value Theorem
Friday, November 16
Michele: Critical points
Monday, November 19
Ryan: The Mean Value Theorem
Wednesday, November 21
Dennis: Seperable differential equations
Friday, November 23
Keira: Trigonometric functions in calculus (including inverse functions)
Monday, November 26
David: Asymptotes
Wednesday, November 28
Evgeniy: First Derivative Test for local extrema
Friday, November 30
Andrew: One-variable optimization problems

Each student can skip one day per week, according to the following schedule:

Skip MondaysSkip WednesdaysSkip Fridays
  Jun Ho