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School of Natural Resources Research Seminar Series

A Tour of Three Studies: How Can We Better Support Our Teaching Assistants?

Date: Time: 4:00 pm
Contact: George Limpert,
Presented by Cody Smith, post doctorate research associate.

Graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are responsible for the instruction of many introductory undergraduate science courses, and yet most TAs have little or no experience teaching or professional development (PD). In this seminar I will discuss the progression of three studies on TAs’ preparedness for their roles as instructors. First, I will describe a synthesis of the relatively sparse literature on PD for TAs and its comparison to a K-12 PD consensus model. This review led to the second study I will describe that developed a model of TA self-efficacy using survey and interview data. The results of this mixed-methods study showed that higher self-efficacy TAs are more outwardly focused on their impact on student learning, while lower self-efficacy TAs are more inwardly focused on their own selves, tasks and communication. These findings resulted in the third study of this seminar, which is a piloted exploration of the relationship between TAs’ self-efficacy and teaching approaches. In this study we analyzed survey data to determine whether self-efficacy is correlated with either student-centered or teacher-centered approaches to teaching. Implications for how these studies can inform TA PD opportunities will be discussed, as well as suggestions and goals for further research efforts.

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This event originated in SNR Seminars & Discussions.