Category Teaching Assistants

Proactive instructors boost student engagement

To initiate conversations or wait for students to come to you? In the physics classroom, this is a question that many inexperienced (and probably some experienced) instructors wrestle with. In a new paper Ido Roll and myself show that the answer is that you should initiate conversations. By observing Teaching Assistants (TAs) and students in a first-year physics lab, we show […]

The student perspective on the lecture TA: ‘Ask me how I’m doing’

Understanding the role of the lecture TA This past semester, I was a lecture TA in Physics 101 (in Joss Ives‘s section), a large-scale first-year calculus based physics course. Briefly, the lecture TA is another instructor-type body in the ~250 student lecture, put there to support student learning. Depending on your experience, you might be wondering what […]

A guide to being a lecture TA

A new role for TAs In the flipped classrooms of reformed large enrolment first-year physics courses, as instantiated in Physics 100 and other courses at UBC, much of the typical monologue has been replaced with clicker questions and worksheets, making room for students to think and work with peers and the instructor and rendering the term […]

What TAs don’t realize they can do to help students in the classroom

Recently, I gave a talk to graduate students about a physics education project I worked on with Ido Roll. (Slides embedded in Appendix I below.) Briefly, the idea for the project was to evaluate which teaching assistant (TA) behaviours could be used to predict student engagement and learning in a first-year physics lab. Our main result was […]