GSI Guidebook

Adapted from Allen, O’Connell, Percha, Erickson, Nord, Harper, Bialek, & Nam (2009)

GSI TIP: Experienced GSIs noted that an important skill for new instructors to learn is how to manage 20-40 students and how to encourage participation in the laboratory sessions. As an instructor in a laboratory class you have to play an active role in managing and encouraging effective participation.

You'll spend most of your class time talking to students in groups of two or three. In order to facilitate this, you should constantly walk around the room—students won't ask you questions if you're sitting behind your desk in the front of the room. In addition, students won't always ask questions when they have problems, or even realize they've drifted off track. In these cases you may want to intervene and ask a provocative question or two. Keep in mind, though, that a student is far more likely to be interested in what you say if he or she is the one who asked the question! This period of the class time is much like tutoring, but there are subtle and important differences. The GSI has an opportunity to rediscover the course material or course concepts with the student (sometimes through his/her eyes), while growing into a mentor. It is essential for the learning process that students are not given the answers to the questions that lie at the heart of the experiment. Read more »