Introductory Econometrics Classes at LSE
The Introduction to Econometrics class teaching modules are intended to familiarise students with the tools that are introduced in lectures. The classes comprise of the teacher and a class of 10-12 students, and over a span of 50 minutes, students deal with a number of both theoretical and applied econometrics problems along with the teacher. During the lecture sessions, students are handed an Exercise set (and a number of lecture hand outs), which is to be solved or attempted before they meet with the class teacher. The teacher then goes over the problem set with them, apart from dealing with specific (mostly theoretical) problems which they may have individually encountered. It is desired that the classes are interactive, and student participation, in terms of presentation of their solutions of the board, or responding to their peer's questions presented in class, are highly encouraged. Weekly meetings with class teachers were also held by the lecturer to discuss the teaching material.
As a module to complement the lectures, the classes are highly useful as a platform for students to raise their individual concerns and difficulties, and to receive first-hand guidance from their teacher on a regular and relatively informal basis. These classes are often referred to be the more useful of the lectures and classes; as with large lecture groups, students seldom have immediate access to the lecturer during the lecture, and may also feel intimidated to ask questions with another 250 students listening to them!
As with all classes, there are always a few well ahead, for whom the classes may turn out to be a bit boring. Likewise is the case for those who are particularly weak. Special arrangements, like a supplementary exercise set for the more able students and help-sessions for those in need of more attention, can be made to help students obtain more guidance.
My personal experience has suggested that trying to maintain a relaxed mood, and attempting to establish "one-to one" s with the students in class possibly explains the high teacher ratings which I obtain every year. Many of my students have turned out to be good friends, and they often turn to me for more than econometric advice!! This may turn out to be a hurdle for new teachers, as it indeed was for me, but things as simple as remembering their names, or wishing them a nice weekend at the end of class, in other words showing that they are cared for, engenders a congenial atmosphere where they feel at ease to voice their needs. Smiling a lot and joking with them helps!!!