Now that you are familiar with the resources available to you on campus to develop your skills in teaching and mentoring, it is important to understand some of the key skill sets that contribute to effective teaching and mentoring. As an instructor or mentor, it is important to understand how to create inclusive learning environments, develop learning outcomes, assess student learning, guide group work, and provide constructive feedback. This knowledge and skill development can also be applied to a variety of career settings when you work with colleagues as part of a team, oversee and support the work and development of junior colleagues, are responsible for designing educational or training materials, or are responsible for assessing outcomes of interventions or programs.

Steps You Can Take

Build an Inclusive Learning Environment

An inclusive classroom environment is an important component of student learning, dismantling educational inequities, and embracing student diversity. Taking steps to develop your skills in creating an inclusive and equitable classroom benefits all students in your class and makes students from marginalized identities and backgrounds feel safe, acknowledged, and supported. Additionally, learning how to create an inclusive, equitable classroom environment will provide you with a set of valuable skills transferable to a wide variety of professional settings.

Each year, the Teaching Conference for First-Time GSIs includes an Interactive Theater event that introduces key components of promoting an inclusive learning environment for students at Berkeley. This program—a collaboration between the GSI Teaching & Resource Center, the Division of Equity & Inclusion, and Berkeley Interactive Theater—includes an in-depth, participatory exploration of microaggressions and the ways that GSIs can respond when they occur in the classroom. While the program focuses primarily on classroom teaching, GSIs learn skills for identifying and responding to microaggressions that are transferable to a wide variety of contexts.

Additionally, check the calendar of the GSI Teaching & Resource Center for the recurring workshop “Creating Inclusive Classrooms: Microaggressions and the Learning Environment”, which elaborates upon the character and consequences of microaggressions and provides additional resources for addressing them. 

To learn more about building inclusive and equitable environments, anti-racism in teaching practices, and how to address your own implicit biases, see the detailed guidance offered in the Equity and Inclusion competency of this guide.


Learn How to Create Learning Outcomes for Activities, Lesson Plans, and Courses

Writing learning goals for different aspects of your teaching is important for clarifying what you would like students to be able to do with the material they are learning. It is important to write learning objectives for both an entire course and for each assignment required in the course, and to communicate these to students. In order to write clear, effective learning outcomes, familiarize yourself with Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. You can learn more about Bloom’s Taxonomy in the GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s Teaching Guide for GSIs. You may want to read about how to create learning objectives for writing assignments. Additionally, consider attending the GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s workshop “Syllabus and Course Design”, where you can learn how to develop learning objectives for a course. The ability to formulate and measure outcomes has direct application for professionals in almost any career.


Learn How to Assess Student Learning and Provide Feedback

A central outcome of learning how to teach is the development of assessment skills that are transferable to other settings. The assessment techniques you develop through teaching and giving students feedback on their work will help you determine if students have met the learning outcomes set for them. And, whether you work in academia, industry, government, or non-profits, knowing how to measure the outcome of your work and the work of the people and teams you oversee is an essential skill.

An important part of assessment is learning how to convey your feedback to students so that they will understand where they need to put additional effort to achieve the learning outcomes you have set for them. Whether it be providing written feedback  on papers and assignments or providing verbal feedback face-to-face in office hours, giving constructive feedback to students will help you be an effective instructor and will give you high-quality practice in giving feedback on the work of others, an essential skill in almost any field. To continue learning how to assess the impact of your teaching on student learning, take the workshop “Assessing Teaching and Learning,” offered by the GSI Teaching and Resource Center.

Rubrics are grading scales that lay out the criteria used to assess a particular assignment or activity, and are an important tool for assessing students’ work. Using a grading rubric can help you grade student work effectively and efficiently, and can also be used to make grading criteria more transparent for your students. It is important to create rubrics that clearly correspond with the stated learning objectives for the assignment. Familiarize yourself with the steps for creating and using a grading rubric by reading the section on grading rubrics in the GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s Teaching Guide for GSIs. The GSI Teaching and Resource Center also offers a workshop called “Creating and Using Grading Rubrics”. Gaining experience and skills in rubric development is valuable for both academic and non-academic careers; rubrics are often used to evaluate staff performance or assess the skills of job applicants. With experience using rubrics, you will be more equipped to supervise and provide feedback to employees or be involved with hiring processes. 


Develop Skills in Guiding the Work of Teams

The ability to guide the work of a team and to foster productive collaboration amongst team members working toward a common goal is a skill that is important in a number of careers. Teaching at Berkeley will provide you with the opportunity to hone this skill by guiding students through group activities and team-based projects. For guidance on how to effectively facilitate group collaboration, see the sections on group work in the Teaching Discussion Sections part of the GSI Teaching and Resource Center Teaching Guide.

Additionally, you might consider seeking out other opportunities where you can gain skills in guiding teams. Learn more about how you can develop these skills in the Leadership and Collaboration competency of this guide.


Learn How to Create Productive Mentoring Relationships

Creating productive mentoring relationships is not always easy. Consider accessing campus resources that will help you develop your skills as both a mentor and mentee. For example, you might consider taking the GradPro workshop on how to be an effective mentor and how to get the mentoring you need as a graduate student, which is offered annually in the fall semester. To keep up to date about upcoming GradPro workshops, sign up for the Graduate Student Professional Development Digest. Also consider enrolling in GradPro’s one-unit course on Mentoring in Higher Education (GSPDP 301), offered annually in the spring. 

For more on developing your skills as a mentee and getting the most of your network of mentors, see the section “Working Productively with Mentors and Faculty” in the Leadership and Collaboration competency of this guide.


Use Online Media, such as Moderated Chats or Blogs, in Teaching

Using online media and technology in your teaching can diversify your teaching strategies, make you an attractive candidate for jobs that value innovative teaching experience, and help you become proficient in technologies that may be useful in careers outside of academia. For ideas about how to integrate the use of technology in your teaching, see the Teaching with Technology section of the GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s Online Teaching Guide for GSIs. For more information on tools for remote learning, see the GSI Remote Teaching Hub, where you will find best practices for remote teaching, resources for support and consultation, and campus policies.


Learn Strategies for Teaching Effectively and Efficiently

Learning to work efficiently on various commitments is an important skill for a variety of career paths that value multitasking and project management. The GSI Teaching & Resource Center offers a variety of workshops and resources that can help you complete time-consuming teaching tasks, like grading, both effectively and efficiently. For more on time management, visit the Writing and Communication competency in this guide, which has guidance on topics relevant to working as a teacher, including setting up calendars, scheduling, and goal setting.