TA Teaching Effectiveness: The Impact of Training and Teaching Experience

By Shannon, David M.; Twale, Darla J. et al. | Journal of Higher Education, July-August 1998 | Go to article overview

TA Teaching Effectiveness: The Impact of Training and Teaching Experience


Shannon, David M., Twale, Darla J., Moore, Mathew S., Journal of Higher Education


As full-time faculty positions become less stable, graduate teaching assistants (TAs) will continue to increase their responsibilities in the instruction of undergraduate students. These increased responsibilities are most evident at large research universities, where full-time faculty have been drawn away from undergraduate instruction in order to teach graduate courses and fulfill increasing research demands (Boyer, 1991a, 1991b; Diamond & Gray, 1987; Stokely, 1987; C. J. Sykes, 1988). As a result, a great deal of responsibility for undergraduate instruction has been handed over to graduate teaching assistants. Generally, research assistantships offer better funding and more opportunities to work closely with faculty mentors. Therefore, the prestige of teaching assistantships becomes jeopardized as the best graduate students seek research assistantships so that they will gain the research skills and experiences necessary to become successful college faculty members. Sullivan (1991) describes this as "skimming the cream" off the top of each group of graduate students and diverting their talents away from teaching.

Faculty and administrators at research universities are the gatekeepers for successive generations of TAs, providing them with their primary training for college faculty positions. However, since socialization into the university research function has become the major focus of graduate assistantships in what C. J. Sykes (1988) refers to as "the historic escape from teaching (THEFT)," teaching becomes a secondary faculty pursuit. Faculty have little time to devote to mentoring their teaching assistants. Furthermore, little extra time exists in a TA's schedule to become socialized thoroughly and effectively in the teaching function (Davis & Minnis, 1993). Therefore, graduates entering careers in higher education typically lack the training and experience necessary to perform their instructional duties (Boyer, 1991b).

In many instances, department chairs assign TAs with no training or teaching experience to teach undergraduate classes. In Bomotti's (1994) study nearly half of the TAs had attended no teacher preparation courses nor workshops. However, nearly three-fourths (73%) of these TAs expected to pursue a teaching career. In a national study of 240 graduate deans, Buerkel-Rothfuss and Gray (1991) revealed that very few institutions (26%) offered some form of university-wide TA training, while approximately 56% offered some type of training at the departmental level. In a more recent national study of 65 research universities, Butler, Laumer, and Moore (1993) found that nearly 70% of the TAs were provided with some type of formal training either at the university or department level.

In a national study of TAs, 53% indicated having received some form of training, but over 75% indicated that their training amounted to less than one week (Gray & Buerkel-Rothfuss, 1991). The majority of such training efforts are limited to one day or less usually at the beginning of the term or semester (Buerkel-Rothfuss & Gray, 1991; Ronkowski, 1989). Lack of training or ineffective training is often the case due to an incongruence among the following factors: When training should occur, who should conduct it, how long it should be, what it should include, whether native and international TAs should receive identical training, and how training should be evaluated (Weimer, Sviniki, & Bauer, 1989).

When formal TA training is offered, it is typically provided at the university or departmental levels. At the university level it typically deals more with university policy and procedures rather than effective instructional delivery techniques (Gray & Buerkel-Rothfuss, 1991). State mandates and university policies often force hurried and ineffective training. University training is usually limited to a one-day workshop, delivered primarily through workshop presentations by university faculty and administrators. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

TA Teaching Effectiveness: The Impact of Training and Teaching Experience
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.