Teaching the new teachers

Teaching the new teachers

Aug 22
Walt Hurley, Professor of Animal Sciences
  

The beginning of the school year breathes renewed energy into the business of learning. Not only do nearly 40,000 students return to campus with great expectations for their learning, there are several thousand instructors busily preparing to engage those students in their courses. Among those instructors are the many hundreds of graduate teaching assistants that participate in teaching activities that range from grading, to working with students in laboratory courses, to leading discussion sections, and to taking a major responsibility for an entire course.

Each year at this time, new graduate teaching assistants participate in the Graduate Academy for College Teaching. This Grad Academy is organized and conducted by the campus Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.  In addition to the many Center staff members that are involved in putting on the Grad Academy, many instructors from a range of departments around campus teach in the sessions. This year more than 700 new graduate teaching assistants, including over 30 from ACES, are participating in this week-long program. They are introduced to a range of topics such as planning a class session, questioning strategies, using feedback, and grading. In addition, they choose several sessions from 36 different concurrent sessions that address specific topics on pedagogy, teaching in different disciplines, culture and diversity, and others. These concurrent sessions provide unique opportunities to learn about elements of teaching that are of interest to the teaching assistant.

The participants also are expected to give a microteaching session, a short teaching session on a topic of their choice. While these teaching assistants will not become expert teachers in a week, this Grad Academy provides a foundation for these novice teachers to further develop their craft, and hopefully get them going in the right direction when they start teaching next week.