Instructor Training


16-19 March, 2021

13:00 - 16:30 GTM (UTC+0)

Instructors: Aleksandra Nenadic, Steve Crouch

Helpers: None

General Information

The course is aimed at everyone who is interested in becoming a better teacher. In particular, this training is aimed at those who want to become Software Carpentry, Library Carpentry, and Data Carpentry Instructors. You don't currently have to be an instructor or a teacher to attend this workshop, but you do need to be willing and committed to becoming one and to improving your teaching techniques.

Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry, and Library Carpentry's mission is to help scientists, researchers, and librarians get more research done in less time and with less pain by teaching them basic lab skills for scientific computing. This hands-on two-day workshop covers the basics of educational psychology and instructional design, and looks at how to use these ideas in both intensive workshops and regular classes.

The workshop is a mix of lectures and hands-on lessons where you practice giving a short lesson using approaches learned and implement some of the teaching techniques which we will discuss. This is training for teaching, not technical training; you do not need any particular technical background, and we will not be teaching that. This workshop is based on the constantly revised and updated curriculum.


This is an online event. We will meet using the online videoconference software Zoom. You will need to download and install Zoom client to connect with your instructors. The link to use for this event will be announced via email to registered participants.


Registration is free via EventBrite. You will need a special code to register - please get in touch with Aleksandra Nenadic to apply for the training. Priority will be given to participants from UK institutions that do not have a partnership with The Carpentries, so cannot get onto Instructor Training as part of their institutional membership.


Participants will need a laptop to attend the workshop (rather than a tablet) as they will be asked to share their screen and do a short teaching or live coding demonstration during the workshop exercises.

Please note that after this course is over, you will be asked to do three short follow-up exercises online in order to finish qualifying as an instructor: the details are available at If you have any questions about the workshop, the reading material, or anything else, please get in touch or ask at the workshop.

Code of Conduct

All participants (including instructors, helpers and observers) are required to abide by The Carpentries Code of Conduct.


Please email for more information.


We ask participant to do some preparation ahead of the workshop.

  1. Read through one episode of one of The Carpentries lessons below carefully and prepare to teach a 3-minute segment from that lesson using live coding or live teaching demonstration. We may also base some exercises during the workshop on your chosen lesson (for example, we may ask you to create a multiple choice questionnaire based on it). Each Carpentry curriculum consists of multiple lessons; an episode is one page of a lesson. For example, you may choose Working with Files and Directories episode of the Shell lesson from the Software Carpentry curriculum.

  2. Prepare to teach a very short 90-second introduction to your chosen episode (no live coding).

  3. Finally, if possible, please read the following 2 short papers before coming to the workshop:

    1. The Science of Learning
    2. The Carpentries 2019 Annual Report


Before attending the workshop, please fill out the pre-workshop survey.

After the workshop, please fill out the post-workshop survey.

Course Material and Schedule

Course material:

We will use this collaborative Etherpad for taking notes and sharing URLs and bits of code during the workshop.

Schedule below is tentative - we will try to keep to it as much as possible but we may not be able to stick to it 100%. There will, however, be regular breaks - approximately after each hour of teaching, and we won't go over the scheduled end time.

Day 1, Tuesday 16 March 2021

13:00-13:30 Welcome and Introduction
13:30-14:00 Building Skill With Practice
14:00-14:15 Break
14:15-15:15 Expertise and Instruction
15:15-15:30 Break
15:30-16:15 Memory and Cognitive Load
16:15-16:30 Building Skill With Feedback

Day 2, Wednesday 17 March 2021

13:00-13:15 Recap of Day 1
13:15-14:00 Motivation and Demotivation
14:00-14:15 Break
14:15-15:15 Mindset
15:15-15:30 Break
15:30-16:15 Teaching is a (Learned) Skill
16:15-16:30 Wrap-Up and Homework for Tomorrow

Day 3, Thursday 18 March 2021

13:00-13:15 Recap from Day 2
13:15-14:15 Live Coding is a Skill
14:15-14:30 Break
14:30-15:15 Preparing to Teach
15:15-15:30 Break
15:30-16:15 More Practice Live Coding
16:15-16:30 Managing a Diverse Classroom

Day 4, Friday 19 March 2021

13:00-14:00 Checkout Process and Q & A session
14:00-14:15 Break
14:15-15:00 The Carpentries: How We Operate
15:00-15:15 Break
15:15-16:15 Putting It Together
16:15-16:30 Wrap-up & Post-Workshop Survey