Skill Pill: Teaching Techniques for Scientists

Beyond the lecture: Teaching Techniques for Scientists

Skill Pill: Teaching Techniques can teach you how to teach a teacher to teach teachers how to teach!

In this Skill Pill we will cover setting goals and objectives, adapting your lessons using active learning techniques, and appropriate assessment styles for different situations. The Skill Pill is best for scientists who want to improve their teaching skills.

All three sessions will be held using flipped-classroom style. Participants will watch a video lesson and then join the face-to-face session for discussion, Q&A, and hands-on practice.

Target audience

This Skill Pill is suitable for anyone who want to improve their teaching skills.


The teachers will be Margaret Howell, OIST's English teacher.

Program of the Second Edition (July 2020)

There will be three session described below. For eacch session, participants are expected to watch the short video lesson and handout, then join the in-person session for discussions, Q&A, and hands-on practice. 

Date Time Topic Link to video Handout
Monday, July 20 15:30 - 17:00 Active learning techniques Click here Click here
Wednesday, July 22 15:30 - 17:00 Setting goals and objectives  Click here Click here
Monday, July 27 15:30 - 17:00 Assessment styles Click here Click here

You will find here extra handouts and slides used during the live sessions.

You will find here the footage of the whole Skill Pill.

Program of the First Edition (April 2018)

Every person, no matter what their job or skillset, will have to teach at some point in their lives. Despite the importance of teaching to an academic career, it’s rare for scientists to receive explicit training in it. If an upcoming teaching opportunity has you staring at a thick pile of information and a blank Word document with no idea where to go from there, this is the Skill Pill for you! Margaret Howell and Justin Foster-Southerland, with a combined 20 years of teaching experience, are here to guide you through the basics of how to teach. 

This Skill Pill is designed for anyone who plans to teach a Skill Pill, lecture, course, seminar or workshop sometime in the near future.  By the end of the Skill Pill you should have a ready-to-teach lesson plan and more confidence in your own teaching ability.

There will be two sessions:

  1. Tuesday, April 17, 10AM to 12PM
  2. Thursday, April 19, 10AM to 12PM 

In the first session we will look at lesson planning, lesson objectives, matching classroom activities to your objectives, and how to make lecturing more interesting. The second session will include peer and teacher critique of your own lesson plans, as well as general tips on time management, classroom management, fostering discussion, multi-level classrooms, dealing with nervousness, and other common issues that beginning teachers tend to experience. 

You can find the slides of this Skill Pill here.

More information

  • Location: B701, Lab 3.
  • Zoom link: if you prefer joining remotely, or if B701 exceeds 50% capacity, you can join using this link
  • What to bring: some material or at least an idea of what you want to teach 
  • YouTube: this Skill Pill might be recorded and uploaded on YouTube, only the teacher will be seen. Contact Jeremie Gillet if you have reservations about this.
  • Drinks: There will be free coffee and tea, bring your cup!

If you are interested in the course but cannot participate to this particular event, let us know and we will contact you for any later occurrence of the Skill Pill.

Thank you very much for your interest.

Have you done it before? How confortable are you with it?
Why are you interested in this Skill Pill? Is there a particular thing you would like to learn?