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Teaching and Outreach

If you want to stay in Academia getting some teaching experience can be very valuable. Even if you want to leave the academic world, having teaching and outreach experience can help show your ability to communicate effectively. There are plenty of opportunities in Cambridge to get some teaching experience and to show the public where their taxes go.

 

Supervising and Demonstrating

Cambridge is one of a few Universities that hold supervisions, where typically 2 or 3 undergraduates meet once a week with a researcher or lecturer to discuss material taught in a lecture course. For the undergraduates it's a great opportunity to further explore the subject. For postgraduate supervisors it's a great way to practise teaching skills, and get paid for it. In addition, most lecture courses run in parallel with a series of practicals. These usually involve postgraduates who act as demonstrators to help explain what's going on.

Course organisers may occasionally ask for volunteers to demonstrate or supervise. Alternatively you can contact course organisers or the Director of Studies for the Colleges (who organise supervisions for their students) to ask if they are looking for supervisors.

If you plan on supervising or demonstrating it may help to take some of the courses put on by the Graduate School of Life Sciences such as Supervising and Small Group Teaching or Laboratory Demonstrating. You can find out more about the courses Zoology teaches here.

Please note that the Student Registry limits the number of hours of paid employment that graduate students may undertake, and your funding body or sponsors may have more stringent regulations. You should check the Student Registry website for the most up to date policy.

 

Outreach within Zoology

Another way of practising your communication skills is to take part in outreach activities - either presenting your work, research area or science in general to the public.

Within the department there are opportunities to do so. The Zoology Museum frequently puts on events which you may be able to help with. For example, the Museum runs the Young Zoologists Club for 6 - 13 year olds, members are eligible to attend special talks and events which are frequently put on by graduate students. For example Ira Federspiel recently helped put on an event about her research on cognition in rooks, and Martina Boerner helped put on one about her research topic, brood parasitism and cuckoos.

The Department is also usually involved in the Cambridge Science Festival, the Festival of Ideas and other large events.

 

Other outreach opportunities

There are plenty of other opportunities outside the Department. For example you could plan and carry out an event as part of a training scheme, like Rising Stars. The Rising Stars course gives you training in communication skills and helps you plan and execute an outreach event of your choice.

For other ideas visit the Public Engagement website.