A full physics sequence is a core requirement for any college student majoring in science and engineering. For many students, the combination of phenomena counter to their intuition and everyday experience, along with the mathematical demands of the subject, render it merely a class to get through as painlessly as possible. On the other hand, most students are genuinely interested in what makes our world what it is. I believe that as physics educators and as ambassadors of science, it is our job to tap into that desire and foster it. As such, my goals as an educator are threefold:

a to build upon students' experience to connect the material with nature and mankind
b to deliver lectures as student-centered discussions where students must interact, verbalize, and calculate, and
c to challenge them with high expectations supported by various avenues of assistance, yet without spoon-feeding

My TA problem sessions rely heavily on the use of discovery learning and conceptual intuition, which is backed up by thought experiments, iClicker questions, simulations and applets (PHET is an incredible resource), and the wonderful demonstrations that our department has perfected over the years.

In the summer of 2015, I was selected as one of a few Summer Graduate Teaching Scholars (SGTS) at UC San Diego, where I had the opportunity to teach Physics 2B (Electricity and Magnetism) as head instructor. I had the privilege of working with Peter Newbury, who is at the Center for Teaching Development at UC San Diego, receiving instructional help, feedback, and support. Student evaluations of that course can be found here and a scatterplot of my performance relative to other instructors of physics can be found here. In 2016, I in turn have mentored two SGTS fellows in the physics department.

I have worked with Prof. Vivek Sharma in the UCSD physics department to create a set of 40 instructional videos for Physics 2B and 2C, written on a clear "Learning Glass" that allows the students to see the instructor solve a problem in its entirety. In general, they are only accessible to enrolled students, but you can see a few examples here: 1 2 . In my summer classes, the students expressed positive interest in the videos, which garnered several hundred hits during the 5-week course.

In May 2016, I was awarded the Graduate Student Teaching Award from the UC San Diego Physics Department for "outstanding and broad contributions to education within the department, including exceptional performance as a teaching assistant and as an instructor, pioneering work on the Learning Glass video Masterclass, and contributions to teaching assistant training."

Lastly, I have had the pleasure of meeting incredible students. Some for whom I have written recommendations have ended up at Pomona College, Cornell University, Rutgers University, the Teach for America Program, Harvard Medical School, and various research and work internships, among many others.

A comprehensive summary of the classes I have taught, statistics of my performance, and some student comments can be found here, and my evaluations on Rate My Professor are here. All of my classes are organized through Triton Ed (TED), UC San Diego's Blackboard platform, which is not accessible to those not enrolled in the class.

I love exchanging pedagogical ideas with those interested in physics and education in general, so please do not hesitate to contact me in this regard.







Nirag Kadakia
Email: nirag.kadakia@yale.edu

Yale, Dept of MCDB


New Haven, CT 06511