Graduate Program

TA Training Program

During the week preceding the start of every Fall semester, new teaching assistants are required take part in a special training program run by the Department.

New TAs hear a series of short lectures describing their TA duties in the Department, and illustrating good pedagogy for teaching assistants. Each new TA is then asked to prepare and present a short model recitation, usually discussing the solution to sample homework problems for the course they will be teaching. This presentation is video taped and reviewed later in the day by the new TA together with a small group of peers, more experienced TAs, and a supervising faculty member. Discussion focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the presentation in a effort to develop and improve on good teaching techniques. Special attention is also given to discussing cross-cultural issues as they relate to the TA's interactions with the undergraduate student body, as well as to the classroom "climate" for women and minority students.

The TA training program follows up with several lectures and discussion sessions throughout the year on various aspects of being an effecting teaching assistant.

The TA Training Program is part of the Department's more extensive programs in teacher training, the Teaching Internship Program for undergraduate students, and the Certificate of College Teaching in Physics and Astronomy for graduate students.

The TA training program was developed by Dr. Priscilla S. Auchincloss, and Prof. Arie Bodek of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and has been expanded for use by other science and engineering departments in the University. The TA Training Program, currently chaired by Prof. Steven L. Manly, works in coordination with the program for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). For additional details, go here.

The Department has available several online documents relating to TA training:

Notes and Suggestions for Teaching Assistants

Procedures for Lab TAs

Improving Classroom Climate in Science and Engineering