The Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development, Volume 6

Key Information

Volume 6, 1998-99, bound complete issues [ISSN: 1068-6096; 8-by-10-inch; ISBN: 1-58107-188-4] $22.95


The Contents

JTA06cover2Mentoring International Teaching Assistants: An Apprenticeship Approach           5
Kai Yung (Brian) Tam and Marilyn K. Rousseau
International students often feel socially and academically isolated from the mainstream of university life. This article delineates some of the common problems that many international teaching assistants encounter in higher education institutions. Effective mentoring can help international teaching assistants succeed academically and socially. Based on their respective experiences as international student and mentor, the authors recommend several strategies for successful mentoring.

International Teaching Assistants: Some Unique Problems           13
Ann Masters Salomone
International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) in American universities face many challenges that include language, cross-cultural communication, and pedagogy. All three areas of concern emerged in this qualitative study of ITAs in a department of modern and classical languages whose communicative approach to language teaching confused ITAs about how to teach their native language grammar. Clarifications of teaching approach and modifications in TA training resulted from data collected from surveys, interviews, videotape critiques, and journals.

Tips for New Teaching Assistants              25
Anita Burris and R. Bruce Mattingly
Many beginning graduate students have limited teaching experience. This article is intended as an overview of some principles and guidelines for effective teaching. Topics covered include preparing a syllabus, special tips for the first day of class, planning lectures and boardwork, and interacting with students. Several references and suggestions for locating additional teaching resources are listed.

A Comparative Study of the Teaching Effectiveness for Three Groups of Graduate Teaching Assistants in Accounting       33
Kenneth F. Jerich and Linda M. Leinicke
This article examines the effect of a training course for the instructional development of three groups of graduate teaching assistants in accounting. Each of the three groups of graduate teaching assistants in accounting completed a different version of the training course. Studied were variables that contributed to the effective teaching of 175 under-graduate students in different sections of an entry level accounting course. Using questionnaire data from a rating instrument, various one-way analysis of variance significance tests indicated significant differences at the p=.05 level in student perceptions of the accounting graduate teaching assistants’ classroom teaching effectiveness. Results suggest that there is a use for this type of research to study ways in which accounting graduate teaching assistants are educated to become effective college and university teachers.

Reviewing Standard Setting for the New Test of Spoken English                45
Dean Papajohn
The graduate student experience is full of standards that need to be met, front standardized tests like the GRE, GMAT, MCAT, and TOEFL to the research standards of a given field and even a university’s formatting standards required to deposit a dissertation. With International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) filling a significant portion of the teaching assistantships on large university campuses in the US, there has arisen a need to assess the oral English ability of potential ITAs. Many universities have chosen the revised Test of Spoken English (TSE) and the institutional version called SPEAK (Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit), both produced by Educational Testing Service (ETS), as a means of assessing general oral English ability. However, each individual institution is expected to set its own cutoff score. ETS’s standard-setting process for the TSE was utilized at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The lessons learned in that experience form the basis of this article. This article outlines influences and concerns related to setting a cutoff score for the TSE or SPEAK and concludes with recommendations for the standard setting process. While these recommendations are made in the context of oral English assessment, they can be applied to other standard setting contexts as well.

TA Talk  53
… a column for the Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Cross-Language Observation of Graduate Teaching Assistants in the Second Language Classroom             59
Carolyn Lally
This article describes how cross-language observation can be used as an additional and continuous mechanism of feedback and support for many current foreign language GTA preparation and administration programs.

Constructing an Orientation Session to Address Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Self Concerns            65
Katherine G. Hendrix
Whether to train graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) has been the subject of much debate since the beginning of the 20th century. As we approach the 21st century, educators continue to debate what kind of training, if any, is needed for GTAs. In this paper, the author argues that basic course directors are responsible for alleviating the fears and concerns of GTAs as well as developing their subject matter and pedagogical knowledge. A one day GTA orientation model is described along with recommendations for integrating the orientation session into a more comprehensive program of GTA training.

Departmental TA Program Coordinators: Partners in Enhancing Campus-Wide Training of International Graduate Teaching Assistants             73
Gabriele Bauer, Karen Freisem, Carl Grove, and Amita Mathur
This article describes departmental TA coordinators’ perceptions of centralized training of ITAs. The article investigates six aspects of ITA training: (1) departmental responsibilities of first-year ITAs; (2) ITAs’ specific needs; (3) responding to ITAs’ needs in departmental training programs; (4) relationship between ITA program and departmental programs; (5) enhancing the interface between departmental and university-wide training; and (6) ITAs’ career intentions. Suggestions for the implementation of the findings are provided.

From Graduate Student to Teacher and Back Again: Issues of Role Conflict to be Addressed in GTA Training Programs
Jennifer H. Waldeck, Carolyn A. Shepard, Patricla Kearney, and Timothy G. Plax
Faced with the frustrations and anxieties associated with both responsibilities, graduate teaching assistants search for answers to the following issues: (1) How do I manage students who may be close to my own age or who are my friends? (2) How can I be perceived as credible and in control of the classroom and still be liked by my students? (3) How do I negotiate my relationships with other graduate students — particularly if I should assume an administrative or supervisory position over other graduate students? (4) How do I balance the conflicting roles of being a student and a teacher simultaneously?, and (5) How do I manage simultaneously my personal life, my studies, and my teaching responsibilities? Specific strategies are offered to ameliorate each of these concerns. By identifying graduate student concerns, helping them prioritize their responsibilities and manage their time, and providing them with peer mentoring opportunities, new teachers’ anxieties are minimized and professional maturity eventuated.

Graduate Assistant Involvement in Transforming the Undergraduate Experience at Research Universities             95
Kathleen S. Smith and Rebecca D. Klaper
The challenge in transforming the traditional teaching-learning model of the research university is to utilize human capital resources to promote learning by inquiry and to synergize teaching and research so that undergraduate students are included as participants. Graduate students provide the crucial link between active research faculty and undergraduates wishing to pursue an individual research project. This paper outlines why we must rethink the undergraduate experience, the role of graduate assistants in this transformation and the support structure provided graduate assistants in managing and mentoring undergraduate research.

TA Talk  103
… a column for the Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Teaching Assistants’ Preferences for Supervisory Style: Testing a Developmental Model of GTA Supervision        111
Loreto R. Prieto
Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) were surveyed to determine the frequency with which they were supervised in their teaching duties, their overall preferences with regard to supervisory style, and the extent to which these preferences conformed to theoretical expectations within a comprehensive developmental model for supervising GTAs (The Integrated Developmental Model for Graduate Teaching Assistants, IDM-GTA; Prieto, 1995). Results indicated that while the majority of GTAs did receive supervision, the frequency of their supervision was likely inadequate. Regarding supervisory style, GTAs preferred an overall collegial style of supervision, as opposed to highly task-oriented or interpersonally sensitive styles. However, their degree of preference for a more directive, task-oriented style varied inversely with their level of teaching experience, supporting the validity of the IDM-GTA.

Transfer of Training in Teaching Assistant Programs          119
Deborah Notarianni-Girard
The purpose of this study was to determine whether university teaching assistant (TA) training programs include and utilize transfer of training principles. The study examined the potential presence and extent of facilitating and inhibiting factors operating in the work environment of teaching assistants trained in a TA training program, and the extent to which supervisor and peer support may be given to TAs before training, during training, and after training. Differences in perceptions of factors according to gender, TA type (American or international) and major concentration were also examined. Use of teaching assistants in the classrooms has been a widely criticized practice on university campuses. Many TAs have had little or no training for this work but are responsible for a large percentage of undergraduate students’ instruction. Recently, formal TA training programs have beets implemented on many campuses. Little is known, however, if any of the transfer of training principles are utilized in the organizations. This study concluded that teaching assistant training programs were operating on the campuses in the study and that certain transfer of training principles existed in the work environment of those teaching assistants being trained.

I Think I Can: Improving Teaching Self-Confidence of International Teaching Assistants    149
Moises F. Salinas, Ghislaine Kozuh, and Anne E. Seraphine
This paper explores the effect of a teaching orientation for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) on their teaching self-confidence (TSC). In this study, 74 prospective ITAs completed a TSC questionnaire before and after attending a four-day orientation to teaching, designed to help them improve their interactive teaching skills. The results indicate a positive effect of the orientation on ITAs perceived level of self-confidence about their ability to perform teaching functions in English. The authors propose that increasing the focus of training on the teaching confidence of ITAs might improve their performance in the classroom.

TA Talk                  157
… a column for the Graduate Teaching Assistant.

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