Trainers Guide

Trainer Meetings

The Trainers group meets regularly. Our meetings include three sections: 1) Discussion, where we share experiences and get advice about running instructor training events, 2) Announcements, and 3) Topic of the Month, which may include curriculum updates, active conversations occurring on GitHub or other Trainer channels, guest presentations, etc. Upcoming meetings are listed on our Etherpad and on the Community Calendar. If you are not a Trainer, but are interested in joining a meeting, please contact Erin Becker ( Minutes for these meetings are available.

Signing up to Teach an Instructor Training Event

  1. A Carpentries Core Team member will send an email to the Trainers list asking all Trainers to fill in their calendar for the upcoming time period. Trainers should sign up for as many days as they are available and hold those dates in their calendar until the schedule is confirmed.

  2. A Carpentries Core Team member will confirm events with individual Trainers, at which point they are free to release all other dates on their calendar.

  3. A Carpentries Core Team member will invite member sites to register for upcoming events. Accepted trainees from the open application process will be invited to register one month before each event.

Note that in order to provide the best experience for our trainees, in rare instances events may be canceled due to low enrolment. If this happens, trainees and Trainers will be notified two weeks before the event. Trainees will have the opportunity to sign up for a future event.

A calendar for upcoming instructor training events is here.

Trainer Checklists

Running an Instructor Training Event (General)

Please see the Instructor Notes section of the Instructor Training Curriculum for guidelines on preparing to teach an Instructor Training Event.

Running a Teaching Demonstration

If you would like to watch an example teaching demo, there is a recording of one here. Trainer-suggested scripts and other tips and tricks for hosting these sessions are included in the Instructor Notes section of the Instructor Training Curriculum.

Before the demo

  • Get acquainted with using Zoom for videoconferencing.

  • A day or two before the demo, send a reminder email using the email template. This often leads to people letting you know they cannot make it, or clarifications regarding how to prepare for the demo.

  • For each trainee, click the link they have provided for their episode and ensure that it is on the list of suggested lessons

During the Demo

  • Go to the Zoom room. The link is in the Etherpad.

  • Once everyone is in the call (audio and video working), remind them of the Code of Conduct, explain the procedure for the demo session. It can help to remind them that this is not a high stakes test but a friendly opportunity for feedback.

  • Ask those not presenting to mute their microphone, and ask them to give feedback using the same positive-vs-negative and content-vs-presentation rubric used in training. For a full session (5 trainees), they should add feedback to the Etherpad. If you have fewer people, you may choose to have them jot down comments and deliver them verbally as time allows.

  • Give the assignment to the first trainee, then give them a bit of time to set up the demo (they may have to import some packages, load some data, move to a certain folder etc).

  • Ask them to share their screen using the “Share Screen” lower menu in Zoom.

  • Once they are ready, give them a 3-2-1 countdown to start.

  • Use a countdown timer which makes a noise once their 5 minutes are up (e.g., your phone or the Carpentries cuckoo timer linked in the teaching-demos Etherpad), or just say “bong” really loudly at the end of their time.

  • After the five minute timer, allow them to finish their sentence and tell them time’s up.

  • Use a rubric to help you take notes.

  • After the trainee is finished, first ask how they themselves thought it went. If you have time, other trainees can give verbal feedback, or you can summarise what is in the Etherpad. Then, give focused, constructive feedback based on your notes and the comments of others. You might choose one or two things to particularly emphasise to help focus trainees’ efforts as they proceed to teach a workshop. It is also sometimes necessary to take time to (gently) disagree with feedback from another trainee.

  • Do NOT tell a trainee whether they passed immediately after their demo.

  • Repeat for the other trainees.

  • At the end of the season, ask for general questions.

  • If all of your trainees passed, you can tell the group at the end of the demo session. If anyone did not pass, tell everyone you will send them each an email to let them know if they passed.

  • more tips can be found in the instructor notes of the instructor training website.

During the Demo (Troubleshooting)

  • Refer to the Zoom guide to help troubleshoot connection issues.

  • If a trainee is teaching a Python lesson and their Jupyter notebook doesn’t start, direct them to

After the Demo

  • Fill out this form to notify The Carpentries who passed and who did not pass.

  • Clear Etherpad of data from your session.

  • Send each trainee an email letting them know they passed or did not pass the teaching demo. If needed, let them know the reason they did not pass and asking them to retry.

Canceling a Demo

Trainers may choose to cancel a teaching demo if few or no trainees have signed up, or due to a personal scheduling conflict. If you need to cancel a teaching demo: