Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Teaching & Learning
This study sought to describe the outcome of a semester long course of study presented to graduate teaching assistants in several disciplines. This study was important because many departments offer little or no specific training for their GTAs and, as a result, many of them find themselves confused and frustrated in their duties.
For this research, an experienced professor of long tenure offered a sixteen-week course in “College Teaching” designed specifically for graduate teaching assistants from a variety of disciplines. All of these GTAs volunteered to participate and were offered one graduate credit for their participation.
The research question I sought to answer was, What is the perception of the teaching experience of GTAs who participate in a seminar in pedagogy? Qualitative methods, including personal interviews, participant observations, and reviews of journal entries written by the seminar instructor and by myself were used to study the GTAs' experience. Data were analyzed for commonalities which led to narratives of each of the participant's experiences as they progressed throughout the semester.
One overriding assertion and three sub-assertions emerged from the analysis. The overriding assertion was that all of the GTAs made changes in their attitudes about teaching over the course of the semester. The sub-assertions were: Sub-assertion #1: Most of the GTAs developed a more positive view and attitude due to the pedagogical training, though, to varying degrees, the impact of the pedagogical training had less positive effect on some GTAs. Sub-assertion #2: A specific benefit of the pedagogical training was the implementation of various types of effective alternative teaching procedures. Sub-assertion #3: Desire to improve teaching effectiveness had an impact on most of the GTAs.
The overriding assertion and the three sub-assertions were supported by the data from the interviews and the observations which was placed in summary form in a matrix depicting the progressive change in attitudes and teaching from the beginning of the semester to the end of the semester. Recommendations were made for further research and study.
Emmel, Bruce Henry, "Perception of GTAs About Their Graduate Teaching Experiences: The Effects of Pedagogical Support/Mentoring" (2002). Theses and Dissertations. 1076.