EECS student Michael McGraw teaches STEM concepts in Regensburg, Germany by MISTI Program
As part of the Global Teaching Labs program, student Michael McGraw taught Physics, Biology and Chemistry in Bavaria
Topics I taught
I taught in a group with five other MIT students. For Physics, we designed a circuit to model public power supply using lightbulbs, hand-cranked generators, and a few other circuitry elements. The purpose of this lesson was to learn about power distribution and to gain a sense of the how the real world public power supply operates.
In Biology, we led students through a DNA Fingerprinting lab, using pipetting, gel electrophoresis, centrifuges, and some mostly harmless chemicals. After that, we participated in class discussions regarding DNA and privacy protection.
Finally, for Chemistry, we prepared four lessons starting with Van der Waal's forces, going through H-Bonding and phase changes, and ending with experiments demonstrating real-world phenomena that result from intermolecular forces.
We also had the opportunities to connect with the English department. We had small group discussions about online privacy and a range of other topics, such as American culture and the difference between the American and German school systems.
As a German language student at MIT, I have to say that the three weeks spent with my host family was a huge boost to my speaking skills. Hearing the words spoken often helped my pronunciation, and having several long conversations exclusively in German has helped me to speak German more freely.
As a tutor and teaching assistant, the chance to teach students across seas has really been an eye-opening experience in terms of reading one's students. With a language barrier, one of the largest challenges in teaching is determining when students don't understand. Reluctant to speak in a language that wasn't their native language, I had to evaluate the German students' understanding several times thorughout the lessons and really pay attention to body language.
Coming back to MIT after three weeks teaching abroad, I feel that I had an incredible experience and have a new appreciation of the American education system. I believe the experience has helped me to develop confidence in my own skills and knowledge, and it has given me renewed motivation to study more German. I look forward to returning to Germany to work and find out about country's culture.
The rewards of this incredible experience include the culture I experienced, the new knowledge I learned, and the lifelong connections and friends I made. MIT's Global Teaching Labs program allowed me to make a new family, become a teacher, and become an international student. I recommend this program to everyone without exception. Three weeks teaching abroad is an experience every MIT student should have.