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Resource List on TA Training

Instructional Development Centre
Queen's University

June 1997



  1. Brookfield, S. 1990. Some truths about skillful teaching. Chapter 14 in S. Brookfield, The Skillful Teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    - a welcoming, forgiving, and challenging discussion of what is really involved in becoming an effective teacher

  2. Eison, J. 1990. Confidence in the classroom: Ten maxims for new teachers. College Teaching 38 (1), 21-25.
    - this article makes some useful suggestions about where new teachers should focus their energy, and how they can become comfortable in the classroom

  3. Renner, P. 1993. Breaking the ice. Chapter 5 in P. Renner, The Art of Teaching Adults: How to Become an Exceptional Teacher and Facilitator. Vancouver, BC: Training Associates.
    - an especially thorough and practical discussion of ways to establish good relationships with students in the first classes of the term

  4. Romano, Renee. 1994. Gender issues in teaching. Does nurturing academic success in women mean rethinking some of what we do in the classroom? Speaking of Teaching 6 (1), 1-5. (Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching).
    - this article, researched and written by a Stanford TA, illustrates how the classroom climate can be inherently chilly for women, and advises what instructors and TAs can do to make the classroom atmosphere a welcome one for both men and women students.

  5. Segerstale, U. 1982. The multifaceted role of the section leader. Chapter 5 in M.M. Gullette (Ed.), The Art and Craft of Teaching. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard-Danforth Centre for Teaching and Learning.
    - this paper portrays the TA's side of the faculty-TA working relationship
    - includes a thoughtful discussion of the various roles TAs play, especially the role of mediator between students and faculty

  6. Svinicki, M. 1994. The teaching assistantship: A preparation for multiple roles. Chapter 23 in W.J. McKeachie, Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research and Theory for College and University Teachers. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath.
    - this short, positive, thoughtful article addressed to both TAs and TA supervisors would make a great handout for all TA supervisors and TAs in a department


  7. Habeshaw, S., Habeshaw, T. and Gibbs, G. 1984. 53 Interesting Things to Do in Your Seminars and Tutorials. Bristol, UK: Technical and Educational Services.
    - short, practical suggestions for things to do with students in seminars/tutorial groups

  8. Hadwin, A. and Wilcox, S. 1997. A Handbook for Teaching Assistants. Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.
    - this handbook is THE guidebook for teaching assistants at Queen's University. A comprehensive survey of issues that TAs may encounter. Contents include: Roles and Responsibilities, Leading Seminars and Tutorials, Tips for Assessing Students' Performance, Tips for Assessing Your Own Performance, Problems, Creating a Safe Learning Environment, as well as Appendices covering Job Descriptions and Policies. The Handbook can be accessed via the World Wide Web at

  9. Jaques, D. 1990. Being a Personal Tutor. Educational Methods Unit: Oxford Brookes University.
    - a useful reference for TAs who are responsible for working with individual students

  10. Lambert, L.M., Tice, S.L. and Featherstone, P.H. 1996. University Teaching: A Guide for Students. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
    - this guide was developed as an outgrowth of Syracuse University's annual summer internship program for new teaching assistants. An invaluable resource for teaching assistants eager to improve their teaching skills. Contents include: practical tips for teaching at the university level; the discussion section, the studio, the laboratory; using writing as an active learning tool, using videotape to enhance instruction; gender, race, and ethnicity in the classroom; working with students with special needs; and balancing the roles of teacher, student and person.

  11. Learning to Teach Series. 1996. From the Oxford Centre for Staff Development.
    Powerful Ideas in Teaching and Learning (Gibbs, G. and Habeshaw, T.)
    Making Presentations (Baume, D, and Baume, C.)
    Assessing Students' Work (Baume, D. and Baume, C.)
    Running Tutorials and Seminars (Baume, D. and Baume, C.)
    Assisting with Laboratory Work and Field Trips (Ward, A., Baume, D. and Baume, C.)

    - while there are five books in this user-friendly series, each with their own focus, it is best to consider the series as a whole. An excellent resource for teaching assistants who are looking for effective ways to incorporate new ideas on teaching and learning into their work. In particular the books: Running Tutorials and Seminars, Assessing Students' Work and Assisting with Laboratory Work and Field Trips are three of the best works available in the IDC library. They provide, in an easy to read and implement format, detailed explanations of everything from the preparation and execution of tutorials to the running of labs.

  12. Renner, P. 1993. The art of teaching adults. Vancouver, BC: Training Associates
    - an up-to-date, accessible introduction to teaching

    Quick Tip Sheets

  13. Ten Ways to Enhance Learning. Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.

  14. Leadership in the Classroom. Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.

  15. Motivating Students to Learn--Some Tips to Try. Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.

  16. Teaching Without Talking. Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.

  17. Essential Tutoring Skills, Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.

  18. Maintaining Professional Relationships: Practical Tips for Teaching Assistants, Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.

  19. How Do We Facilitate the Free Exchange of Ideas in our Classrooms Without Oppressing Some Members of the Class? Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.

    Handouts for Students

  20. Church, R. and Madar, D. 1980. Participating in Seminars. Instructional Development Committee: Brock University.
    - an 8 page article addressed to students, explaining how to participate productively in seminar/discussion courses
    - useful for TAs to hand out to students, followed up by in- class discussion

  21. Tips for Effective Presentations. Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.
    - a handout that TAs might distribute to students who are responsible for giving presentations in a seminar class


  22. Blizzard, A C., Hogan, R.C., and Roy, D.E. 1981. Developing a Departmental Program for Teaching Assistants: A Manual. Instructional Development Centre, McMaster University.
    - a collection of working documents and checklists for people who wish to develop a training or orientation program for TAs
    - includes a chapter on evaluating TAs and a sample evaluation form

  23. Bordonaro, T. 1996. Improving the performance of teaching assistants through the development and interpretation of informal evaluations. Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development 3(1), 21-26.
    - TAs are encouraged to develop informal evaluation strategies that will enable them to collect feedback on their performance throughout the term
    - examples of informal evaluation strategies are presented and suggestions that can assist TAs in the interpretation of results are provided

  24. Byrd, P., Constantinides, J., and Pennington, M. 1989. The Foreign Teaching Assistant's Manual. New York: Collier MacMillan.
    - a manual (U.S.) for international TAs, especially those whose first language is not English, and who are not familiar with the culture of American universities

  25. Current Approaches to International TA Preparation in Higher Education: A Collection of Program Descriptions. The Center for Instructional Development and Research International TA program, University of Washington, Washington, D.C., 1994.
    - a collection of program formats to identify individuals with similar international teaching assistant responsibilities. The goal is to: 1) help them continue to share ideas, innovative approaches and expertise, 2) support institutional efforts that assist international TAs in their teaching of undergraduate students, and 3) help them in their own professional development.

  26. Davis, B.G. 1993. Guiding, training, and supervising graduate student instructors. Chapter 46 in B.G. Davis, Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    - a general, yet comprehensive, overview of TA issues written for the faculty member who works with TAs
    - describes faculty responsibilities concerning TA supervision and includes practical strategies for working effectively with TAs

  27. Dwyer, J. and Rogers, P. 1995. The University Teaching Practicum Handbook. Centre for the Support of Teaching and Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University.
    - this handbook provides detailed information on the University Teaching Practicum, a program of professional development in university teaching and learning for students enrolled in a graduate program at York

  28. Feldman, K.B. and Paulsen, M.B. (Eds). 1994. Teaching and Learning in the College Classroom. Needham Hgts, MA: Ginn Press.
    - an excellent selection of readings on a wide variety of teaching topic, intended for graduate students enrolled in courses on university teaching

  29. Gappa, L. 1992. Effective programing for TA development. To Improve the Academy 11, 207-216.
    - describes a program that appoints experienced TAs as teaching associates to give instructional direction to less experienced TAs

  30. Gordon, E. and Hoddinott, J. 1994. Helping TAs to help themselves: A model training system using a peer TA. The Journal of Staff, Program and Organizational Development, 11(3), 145-150.
    - describes a training program for TAs led by a peer TA

  31. Innovative Higher Education, 17(3), Spring 1993
    - this is a special issue on Graduate Teaching Assistants, with a particular emphasis on international TAs

  32. Janes, J. and Hauer, D. (Eds.) 1987. Now What? Readings on surviving (and even enjoying) your first experience at college teaching. The Syracuse University Teaching Assistant Program 1987, Syracuse University. Littleton, Mass.: Copley Publishing Group.
    - 20 informal readings, for TAs, on a variety of teaching issues

  33. The Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development.

  34. Kain, E.L., and Immel, S. (Eds.) 1989. Training Teaching Assistants: Materials for the Selection and Training of Teaching Assistants in Sociology Courses. Washington, D.C.: American Sociological Association.
    - a collection of materials from a wide variety of sources, which are not restricted to TAing in Sociology
    - includes good chapter on selecting, training, and using TAs in large classes--addressed to large class instructors

  35. Lambert, L.M. and Tice, S.L. 1993. Preparing Graduate Students to Teach: A Guide to Programs that Improve Undergraduate Education and Develop Tomorrow's Faculty. The American Association for Higher Education, Washington, D.C.
    - contains chapters on the critical role of the teaching assistantship, centralized TA programs and practices, discipline-based TA programs and practices, and preparing the professoriate of the future

  36. Lewis, K. G. 1991. The TA Experience: Preparing for Multiple Roles. Selected Readings from the 3rd National Conference on the Training and Employment of Graduate Teaching Assistants. Stillwater, Oklahoma: New Forums Press.
    - over 50 short articles on a wide range of topics in TA development, including mentoring of TAs, campus-wide and discipline-specific programs, diversity issues, and evaluating TA programs
    - includes a section on international TA development

  37. Lowman, J. and Mathie, V.G. 1993. What should graduate teaching assistants know about teaching? Teaching of Psychology, 20 (2), 84-88.
    - this article reports results of a content analysis of 18 TA manuals, and presents a generic topic outline which could serve as a model for a TA manual or training program

  38. Myers, S.A. 1995. Enhancing relationships between instructors and teaching assistants, Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development 2 (3), 107-112.
    - presents several ways for instructors to enhance their relationships with teaching assistants based on results from a survey of 57 advanced level TAs

  39. Nyquist, J. D., Abbott, R. D., and Wulff, D.H. (Eds.) 1989. Teaching Assistant Training in the 1990s. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 39. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    - an overview of current issues in TA training, generally more conceptual than practical

  40. Nyquist, J.D., Abbott, R.D., Wulff, D.H., and Sprague, J. (Eds.) 1991. Preparing the Professorate of Tomorrow to Teach: Selected Readings in TA Training. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
    - 56 short papers on a wide range of TA training matters, written by persons involved in TA training and development
    - includes a section of several articles on diversity issues of relevance to TAs

  41. Nyquist, J.D. and Wulff, D.H. 1995. Working Effectively with Graduate Assistants. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
    - provides faculty members with a better understanding of how to think and plan as a supervisor and to prepare and nurture the next generation of university teachers, scholars, and researchers
    - not only discusses key issues, but also provides many specific tips, resources, and strategies that assist supervisors
    - includes a chapter addressing the special needs of international graduate assistants

  42. Piccinin, S.J., Farquharson, A., and Nmu, E. 1993. Teaching assistants in Canadian Universities: An unknown resource. Canadian Journal of Higher Education 23 (20), 104-117.
    - a portrait of TAs in Canadian universities: their number, role, remuneration, preparation and training, and policies re TA responsibilities

  43. Prieto, L.R. 1995. Supervising graduate teaching assistants: An adaptation of the integrated developmental model. Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development, 2 (3), 93-107.
    - a model for supervising graduate teaching assistants, based upon Stoltenberg and Delworth's (1987) Integrated Developmental Model, is offered
    - issues regarding developmental stages, structures, environments and teaching domains are outlined

  44. Ross, N. and Lockhart, P. (Eds.) 1995. McMaster Handbook for Teaching and Learning: A Guide for Teaching Assistants. Instructional Development Centre, McMaster University.
    - a particularly well-written and organized overview of approaches to TA issues and instructional development

  45. Sarkisian, E. 1990. Teaching American Students: A Guide for International Faculty and Teaching Fellows. Cambridge, Mass.: Danforth Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University. - this guide is intended to help international faculty and TAs "adjust to the culture of the American classroom by preparing you for some surprises, by outlining teaching techniques that are expected by American students, and by presenting strategies that are particularly effective for non-native speakers of English"

  46. Saroyan, A. and Amundsen, C. 1995. The systematic design and implementation of a training program. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education 25 (1), 1-19.
    - describes how a program for the training of teaching assistants was conceptualized and implemented at McGill, a large research-oriented Canadian university.

  47. Simpson, R.D. and Smith, K.S. 1993. Validating teaching assistant competencies for graduate teaching assistants: A national study using the Delphi method. Innovative Higher Education 18 (2), 133-146.
    - useful for its structured description of TA competencies: may be helpful for departments planning TA evaluation schemes and/or writing TA job descriptions

  48. Smith, K.S. 1997. Making the assistantship fit: Goals for international teaching assistants. The Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. 4 (2), 53-61.
    - the key to facilitating communication between TA, faculty and student is breaking down barriers that inhibit it; this article examines ways in which the international TA can be made more comfortable in a new foreign setting
    - by incorporating the TA experience into the ITAs broader goals of understanding language, culture, social behaviours etc. the TA experience itself can be made more fulfilling and less stressful for both the TA and the student

  49. Stone, W. 1990. You can get good help these days: Working with teaching assistants in large lecture classes. In Shea, M. (Ed. ) On Teaching, Volume II. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado Press.
    - contains some interesting thoughts about ways that large class teachers can work productively with their TAs

  50. Svinicki, M. 1995. A dozen reasons why we should prepare graduate students to teach. The Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development, Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. 3 (1), 5-8.
    - graduate student lives are so packed with a concentration on their research that some faculty question the necessity of providing them with any preparation in teaching; this brief listing summarizes some of the reasons a department might include this preparation in its graduate program, not only for teaching assistants but possibly for all graduate students

  51. Teaching Assistant Orientation Training Manual. 1997. Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University.
    - a package of activities, information, resources, sample case studies, etc. put together by Queen's IDC staff for faculty and senior graduate students who participate in the IDC annual workshop on training teaching assistants
    - designed to be used when planning a departmental orientation program for TAs

  52. Teaching Pedagogy to Teaching Assistants (A Handbook for 398T Instructors). 1992. The Center for Teaching Effectiveness, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.
    - a practical overview of teaching issues, including chapters on: organizing a pedagogy course for TAs; effective teaching; getting to know your students; developing authority as a teacher; instructional design; lecturing and giving presentations; questions and questioning techniques; leading discussion; assessing student learning; student learning and study skills; one-to-one work with students; teaching in laboratory settings; using audio-visual aids; microteaching; using case studies to teach and teaching portfolios for TAs
    - an excellent selection of materials -- activities and handouts -- to be used by faculty who are training graduate students as TAs and teachers

  53. University Course 993: Sourcebook 1994-1995. Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Training and Development Program, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, The University of Michigan.
    - this manual for a course to train TAs at the University of Michigan includes 40+ short readings on a wide range of current educational issues of interest to TAs, with a notable emphasis on diversity/equity issues


  54. Text, sighs and videotape: sample conferences that present special challenges to teachers, 1992, University of Wisconsin Law School (VHS 45 minutes).
    - a series of ten, short (2-5 minute) role-played incidents involving interactions between a teaching assistant and a student, for example a student protesting a grade, a distressed student, a student who accuses a TA of discrimination on the basis of gender. Although the tape was made for a legal writing course, the scenarios are common to many other types of tutorial in the humanities, professions, and social sciences. Accompanied by a package.
    - useful to trigger discussion in a TA training workshop

  55. Critical incidents: A teaching development resource, 1993, Learning and Teaching Centre, University of Victoria (VHS, 30 minutes)

    Critical incidents II, 1994, Learning and Teaching Centre, University of Victoria

    Critical incidents III, 1996, Learning and Teaching Centre, University of Victoria

    - each video includes ten 3-4 minute vignettes illustrating common problems faced by university faculty and teaching assistants, for example a boring instructor, a request for an assignment extension, arguments about grades, poor use of the overhead projector, lack of clear marking guidelines for TAs, etc. Each vignette is preceded by a brief introduction and at the end poses a question for viewer discussion. There is a short accompanying booklet.
    - useful to trigger discussion and problem-solving in a TA training workshop setting

  56. Teaching assistants: Agents of change, 1991, California State University (VHS, 22 minutes)
    - this video is packed full of information and illustrations about how to effectively use communication in the classroom; designed to be used with a 68-page 9 chapter booklet
    - useful for TAs who do not have access to a group training program, i.e., a comprehensive self-training package

  57. Teaching Matters: Lectures, 1993, Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia (VHS)

    Teaching Matters: Tutorials, 1993, Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia (VHS)

    Teaching Matters: Practicals, 1993, Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia (VHS)

    Teaching Matters: Assessment, 1993, Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia (VHS)

    - each of the 4 videotapes in this series contains 6-8 examples of different aspects of university teaching. In each example, we see the instructor engaged in classroom teaching, and also hear their comments on teaching and their underlying rationale for practice.
    - an excellent resource for demonstrating that good teaching is what we do and how we think about teaching problems/situations; includes user booklets

  58. Inequity in the classroom, 1991, Office on the Status of Women, Concordia University (VHS, 27 minutes)
    - this video was designed for the purpose of sensitizing teachers on the issue of discrimination in the classroom; a manual is included
    - may be used, in full or in part, as one component of a TA training program

  59. Slice of Academic Life at Queen's, 1996, International Centre, Queen's University
    - presents a variety of situations that may occur in the life of a TA at Queen's University. It includes sections on handling difficult situations, effective communication and favoritism among others.

All of the resources on this list are available in the Instructional Development Centre at Queen's University.

To borrow any of these books and videotapes, or for a copy of articles and handouts, contact:

Sandra Murray, Instructional Development Centre, 545-6428

You may use the IDC Resource Library any weekday, between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. We are in Room 101, Old Medical Building.

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Last updated June 24, 1997

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