Train Teaching Assistants?
by Marva A. Barnett
Resource Center & Department of French, University of Virginia
Most good teachers are not born but develop, and this development
should continue throughout their careers.
of any program for training teaching assistants is not the staffing
of required language courses but rather the training of future
professionals to be well-rounded scholars by learning to balance
teaching, research, and service/administration. Therefore, learning
to teach and practice teaching are necessary preparation for the
academic career most graduate students in many academic disciplines
plan to pursue; time spent on these activities is time well spent.
development activities include the following:
pre-service Orientation Workshop not only gives students information
and materials to begin teaching, but also orients them to U.Va.
and helps them establish an esprit de corps. Without a thorough
orientation, they begin this typically new phase of their lives
with increased anxiety and confusion.
observation and videotaping for self-analysis help teaching assistants
develop the analytical skills they will need as faculty members
to improve independently of a supervisor.
of TA teaching must leave room for the intelligent independence
and creativity that graduate students bring to their endeavors,
or they will be frustrated as TAs and ill-prepared to take on
the freedom of being a faculty member. Skilled observation and
discussion can save inexperienced teachers a great deal of time
students who see or participate in ongoing research in all aspects
of their discipline will be more comfortable with their own research
and better learn to integrate teaching and research.
course FREN 701 (1988-93) aimed to:
the training of graduate students to teach elementary- and intermediate-level
graduate students in the correct form and style for research papers
theories and practices of language teaching and literary research
for beginning graduate students professional standards, e.g.,
responsibility and ethical behavior