The Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development, Volume 5

Key Information

Volume 5, 1997-98, bound complete issues [ISSN: 1068-6096; 8-by-10-inch; ISBN: 1-58107-189-2] $22.95


The Contents

JTA05cover“Why does the math department not tell us to teach this way?” Collaborative Issues in ITA Training Across Discipline       5
By Susan Jenkins
Collaboration between a Mathematics Department and an English as a Second Language Program on an intensive English program for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) revealed that there were philosophic differences about the proper locus of training for language skills, teaching skills and cultural understanding.  The Mathematics Department expected that the ESL program would teach general English, rather than contextualizing language teaching within the discourse community of mathematics. This paper reports on an exploratory qualitative study designed to determine the mathematics faculty’s views about the needs of the ITAs and the nature of a collaborative model acceptable to both the Department and the ESL Program. Interviews were conducted with a representative sample of the faculty and students, and the written teaching observations of one faculty member were studied. Results showed that the academic tension between the teaching and research roles of the faculty (“mathematics researchers” versus “mathematics educators”) influenced faculty views on the locus of training and on the need for training of any kind.

The Oppositional Student and the Attendance Policy      17
By Evelyn A. Backa
The experiences of a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) dealing with an oppositional student are described. The student was habitually late to class, disregarded the GTA’s rules, and disrupted the class. The GTA made several attempts to improve the behavior and eventually succeeded. The actual sequence of events is presented along with the graduate teaching assistant’s strategy for handling the student. The GTA’s personal reflections on the experience and teaching in general are discussed.

Talking about Teaching: Interviews with Ten New Teaching Assistants in a University Writing Program     23
By Claire Howell Major
Research has been done which suggests that faculty members should discuss pedagogy, and additional research intimates that TAs should have the same opportunity for such discussion. An interview conducted with a sample of English department TAs examines their opinions about themselves and their students as well as their attitudes about pedagogical discussion. Their responses are recorded and suggestions for continuing discussion are included.

Preparing Tomorrow’s Professoriate: GTA Development and the Case Method                 31
By Lou Davidson Tillson
Recent issues of this journal have described graduate teaching assistant (GTA) development programs in lengthy detail. This paper suggests adding a case study approach to GTA training. Strategies for implementation, sources for appropriate cases, and a supplemental reading list are provided. A case which presents an experience GTA with a volatile classroom situation is included for discussion and analysis.

TA Talk 43
A column for the Graduate Teaching Assistant

Sources of Conflict in International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Training Programs    49
By Geraldine de Berly
The overriding goal of ITA programs is to ensure that international graduate students are prepared for their responsibilities as teaching assistants. At times, however, ITA trainer/administrators encounter pressure from a number of levels to expedite this preparation process. This article describes a survey of research and doctoral universities. The results enabled the identification of three principal sources of conflict in ITA programs. The author ends with a discussion of obstacles and approaches to conflict resolution.

Graduate Students, Formal Classroom Training and the Development of Teaching Role Identification      57
By Teresa A Sullivan, Marilla D. Svinicki, and Margaret J. Greer
One of the recent criticisms of higher education is that new faculty are inadequately prepared to fulfill their teaching obligations. Thus, the training of graduate students for teaching has come under increased attention. This study assesses the effects of a range of variables on how graduate students see themselves in their roles of teachers. Several factors were hypothesized to increase a graduate student’s identification with the teaching role, including taking a formal course in teaching preparation and taking such a course from a specially trained instructor. While training is important, the most consistent finding from this study is that having an assignment as the instructor of record for a course, rather than an assistant to another instructor, is associated with the greatest gains in identification as a teacher.

How International Teaching Assistant Programs Can Prevent Lawsuits    71
By Nancy Oppenheim
This guide gives administrators responsible for setting policies for training and employing international teaching assistants (ITAs) a framework to help determine whether their programs and policies might be in violation of legislation or common law precedents. Second, this paper reveals how social policies as formalized in statutory schemes provide guidance for appropriate goals and policies for ITA Program administration. Third, this paper points out where cross-cultural education research can be used to counter potential legal claims. An overview of the types of claims that might be brought by various parties against institutions and ITA programs is provided. Next, each type of claim is reviewed as well as the action that administrators can take to prevent such claims or minimize their impact.

TA Training: Social Learning Theory into Practice                81
By K. David Roach and Karla Kay Jensen
This paper explores Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory as it applies to the training of graduate teaching assistants. Explanation of theory components is given along with practical applied examples of how the theory works in training programs for graduate teaching assistants. Specific attention is directed toward an exploration of how this theory undergirds the training and enhancement of graduate teaching assistants in the development of teacher credibility.

Writing Term Papers: A Plea for Process                89
By Hugh J. Robertson
The brief commentary is included in this issue of JGTAD to, hopefully, spur discussion and encourage those of you with TA development programs that focus on writing skills to create a description of your program to share with our readers. This is a vital area in undergraduate education and TAs are often the people who facilitate the “learning to write” programs. Please send your responses/program descriptions to The Editor.

A Knowledge Base for Educating Graduate Assistants to be Effective Instructors at Illinois State University           91
By Kenneth F. Jerich
This article examines the effect of a graduate course for the instructional development of 32 randomly selected graduate teaching assistants. Studied were variables that contributed to the effective teaching of 898 undergraduate students in different academic courses. Using questionnaire data from two rating instruments (UIUC and TPAS), t-tests for correlated means, (UIUC, df=898, p=.03; TPAS, df-898, p=.01), assistants’ classroom teaching effectiveness between rating periods one and two for each semester over a three year period. The use of a One-Way ANOVA (df=2,890, F=.94, p=.39) indicated no significant difference between student ratings of the GTAs’ overall teaching effectiveness for each of the three years. Results suggest that there is a use for this type of research to study ways in which graduate teaching assistants are educated to become effective instructors. Subsequent research to this study reveals parallel results and utility for the professional development of graduate teaching assistants as tomorrow’s professors.

TA Talk 103
A column for the Graduate Teaching Assistant

Supervising Graduate Teaching Assistants on the Ethics of Teaching: A Developmental Approach              109
By Loreto R. Prieto
This paper discusses the use of supervision, based on a developmental approach (Integrated Developmental Model for Graduate Teaching Assistants; IDIVI-GTA; Priete, 1995), as a tool to develop in graduate teaching assistants an appreciation and awareness of the ethics of teaching.

Preparing Doctoral Students for Faculty Roles: The Arizona State University Model           119
By Lynda B. Ransdell, Jo Alice Blondin, Deborah N. Losse, and Sandra Rehling
Graduate education is under increased scrutiny from a variety of sources. Many individuals are calling for changes in the current model of doctoral preparation. The purpose of this article is to discuss how and why graduate education is changing, to present the Arizona State University model for change, and to introduce purported benefits of the program as depicted from administrator, faculty, and student perspectives.

Teaching Assistant Concerns and Questions: What 252 TAs Wanted to Know and Weren’t Afraid to Ask 127
By Douglas Bedient
Researchers have called for finding directly from teaching assistants (TAs) about their training needs. The self-reported concerns and questions of 252 TAs have been organized into eight topic areas with accompanying questions. The questions and topics provide a means to gauge if training programs address the concerns and questions reported by a sample of TAs as well as providing an agenda for teaching assistant development.

Developing the Professoriate: Today’s TAs–Tomorrow’s Tenure Track    133
By Lou Davidson Tillson
If “location, location, location” is the Realtor’s mantra, then “preparation, preparation, preparation” should be the TA developer’s chant. At Murray State University, a master’s degree granting institution, we envision our TAs as colleagues and attempt to prepare these graduate students for the professoriate through a comprehensive training program which includes a 3-hour required instructional course, a research assistance program, weekly meetings, and professional development activities. This article discusses each training component and includes a sample syllabus and a research assistance contract.

The Relationship Between clinical Supervision and the Training of Graduate Teaching Assistants                149
By Kenneth F. Jerich
This article examines pre- and post-conference consultation and its effect on the improvement of instruction of graduate assistants who completed a training course for graduate teaching assistants. Over 70 graduate teaching assistants participated in the study. Clinical supervision was the mode of supervision used during the conduct of pre- and post-conferences associated with the observation and analysis of the graduate assistants’ classroom teaching. Studies were variables that contributed to the graduate assistants’ understanding of teacher- and student-centered teaching strategies used in their teaching of undergraduate students in different academic courses. Using questionnaire data from a rating instrument, one-way analysis of variance significance tests indicated (a) that the pre- and post-conference components of the training course contributed highly to their overall understandings of teacher- and student-centered teaching strategies and (b) significant differences were found within the various curricular elements that comprised the pre- and post-conference components. Results suggest that this type of research adds to knowledge about how clinical supervision contributes to the ways in which graduate teaching assistants are educated to become effective college and university instructors.

TA Talk 163
A column for the Graduate Teaching Assistant

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