A Statement of Teaching - Bo Li


Bo Li
Department of Mathematics
University of Californiat at Los Angeles
December, 1997

1. Teaching Experience

    I was trained in teaching during my undergraduate studies in a college which specialized at training high school teachers. After I obtained my B.S. degree, I taught at a normal school in China for one year. After I obtained my M.S. degree, I also taught calculus for two years at a university in China. As a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota, I taught recitation classes of various undergraduate mathematics courses for several years. As an instructor at the Department of Mathematics, University of California at Los Angeles, I have so far taught three different undergraduate courses and will teach a graduate seminar course in Spring, 1998.
    In 1996, I was awarded a Citation for Excellence in Teaching by the School of Mathematics, University of Minnesota.

2. General Teaching Philosophy

    I believe that a good teacher should understand well the subject matter as well as know how to explain clearly the material. I also believe that a good lecture often comes from a careful preparation.
    In my opinion, an efficient teaching program should in general consist of the following four components.
    1. Deliberate design of a course. This includes a careful selection of material to be covered, a concrete schedule for teaching and learning, and a detailed plan of teaching activities. The material should be chosen to cover the fundamentals of the underlying subject, and care should be taken in order not to lose the students in the course. A certain flexibility should be kept in the schedule and the plan of teaching so that small changes can be made in the middle of the course.
    2. Effective classroom teaching skills. These skills include logical and clear explanation of the material, active interaction with students, organization of discussions, and the efficient use of teaching tools such as a blackboard, a projector, and computers. It is important for teachers to always encourage students and keep them highly motivated.
    3. Active after-class communications among instructors, teaching assistants, and students. Through regular office hours and timely updated course Web pages, such communications can provide extra help that students need to better understand course material as well as feedback information that instructors and teaching assistants need to improve their teaching.
    4. Careful make-up of homework and test problems. For introductory undergraduate courses the homework problems should generally be close to those covered in class or in the textbook, while for honors classes, advanced undergraduate courses, and graduate courses the homework problems should put more emphasis on the training of the students' creativity.

3. Current Teaching Interests

    My current teaching interests are to develop various course Web pages to assist teaching in general, to develop interdisciplinary courses in applied and computational mathematics, and to develop computerized teaching programs aimed at the use of symbolic, interactive mathematical software such as Mathematica and Matlab to teach mathematics.