Teaching MIT students to be teachers

Photo of several students around a table with a board game.

MIT undergraduates design their own educational board game in a STEP course. (Photo by Eric Klopfer)

MIT does not have a School of Education, but that does not mean that students interested in teaching can’t pursue teaching careers while at MIT.

The MIT/Wellesley Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP) prepares MIT and Wellesley College students to become teachers who are:

  • Competent to teach in their field and not afraid to challenge established norms
  • Able to bridge the boundaries among disciplines
  • Eager to help students develop the desire to question and explore that is so much a part of the MIT experience.

OCW has published a number of teacher education courses that are part of the STEP program. Among the most interesting are two courses taught by Professor Eric Klopfer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning: 11.124 Introduction to Education: Looking Forward and Looking Back on Education and 11.125 Introduction to Education: Understanding and Evaluating Education.

Professor Klopfer takes a constructivist approach to the teaching of teaching, in which students learn primarily through experience (as in doing projects, making presentations, and having discussions), and the instructor minimizes the amount of time spent lecturing the class.

Identifying which activities to use in class and how to foster productive discussions is crucial to the course’s success. In the Instructor Insights section of his This Course at MIT page for 11.124, Professor Klopfer explains in videos and in text why he prefers a constructivist approach and how he goes about applying it in his classes.


One of the innovative techniques he employs is to get students to engage in online discussions before coming to class, so they are better prepared to do in-class activities and reflect upon them. The Instructor Insights section presents the views of both Professor Klopfer and some of his students on this aspect of the course.


This Course at MIT is part of OCW Educator, a project that enhances OCW course publications with information about how the course was taught on campus.

One thought on “Teaching MIT students to be teachers

  1. Pingback: Esl/ell students and Martial art - Choose My Room

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s