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What Contributes to Teaching Assistant Development: Differential Responses to Key Design Features


ISAIJLS Volume 40, Number 1, ISSN 0020-4277


Graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) need effective, appropriate professional development opportunities that offer both meaningful foundations and strategically useful tools for their teaching. This study examined and explored the perceptions of TAs with regard to the nature, content, and design characteristics of training and development for teaching in the research university. A group of 210 graduate teaching assistants at a research university reported their perceptions of a range of design elements of training sessions and activities. TAs perceived that training contributed to their learning and development, promoting skills and strategies helpful for their teaching. More focused, strategic sessions received higher overall scores than more general foundational sessions, though strategic sessions were grounded in the more foundational ones. Design features that TAs reported most significantly contributed to their development were: expertise of speakers, structural design of events, and quality of support materials. Eighty percent of TAs reported intentions to continue learning about instructional theory and practice. Findings include consistency with some previous research-based principles of training and development, but also raise new questions regarding TAs' needs and how to address them. (Contains 5 tables.)


Hardre, P.L. & Burris, A.O. (2012). What Contributes to Teaching Assistant Development: Differential Responses to Key Design Features. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 40(1), 93-118. Retrieved April 5, 2020 from .

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