GTA workshop largest to dateBy Susan Trulove
Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 07 - October 10, 1996
The sixth annual GTA Workshop offered to new graduate teaching assistants by the Graduate School in August was the biggest ever. Don McKeon says that 343 students attended at least one session, and 307 students from 45 departments completed the program-"a record number of participants."
The program offers approximately 20 hours of plenary and concurrent sessions over three days. McKeon, director of ESL and GTA training, reports that 33 faculty members and 11 experienced GTA's were presenters. Sessions covered the range of GTA duties, from teaching classes and laboratories to grading papers and tests, and included instruction on ethics, sensitivity to students, and use of newer technologies to facilitate learning.
The students receive credit for attending the workshop.
In addition to suggestions for changes and additional topics, student comments include the following:
"The workshop was excellent. I strongly suggest that all teaching faculty be required to attend." "Needed a session on business classes as well as science labs." "Overall, well prepared and provided a lot of useful information." "Great speakers." "Many of the speakers were incredible." "I wanted to put this information to use right away. Grad students should take this right before they teach." "I recommend that more students take the interpretation class to help them in good communication skills." "(The) discussion on ethics was helpful and enjoyable." "First-day issues, lecture delivery, rhetorical sensitivity, innovative teaching, time management, ethics in teaching were the most beneficial because they directly addressed the largest area of concerns in my GTA assignment." "It helped me be more organized and increased my confidence."
Others expressed appreciation of discussion of cultural issues and of what is good teaching that promotes learning, recognition that first-day nervousness is normal, presentations by GTA's and motivational speakers, use of "real examples," and meeting people from other departments.
Common requests were for such things as more discussion of graduate students' different roles and more speakers from the humanities and social sciences in the breakout sessions.
Overall evaluation scores, on a scale of 4.0, are: program was well-organized: 3.72; scope of coverage was adequate: 3.56; depth of coverage was adequate: 3.49; overall, program was useful: 3.58; my confidence level as GTA has increased: 3.23.