TA Day offers lessons on classroom skills

New and experienced teaching assistants are invited to hone their teaching skills and network with colleagues at the 24th annual TA Day conference next Thursday, Aug. 31.

The Centre for the Support of Teaching (CST), which hosts the conference, expects about 500 participants for sessions on how to engage undergraduate students in the classroom, lab and studio.

Right: Teaching TAs 

Designed primarily by and for TAs, the program addresses key issues facing TAs in the classroom, including

  • running a successful tutorial
  • developing student critical thinking skills
  • engaging students
  • giving feedback and grading student work, and
  • fostering academic honesty.

In addition to general sessions, this year’s conference offers sessions for TAs in fine arts, humanities, science and social science so that first-time TAs can learn approaches particular to their disciplines for running tutorials, labs and studios, as well as marking and grading.

Attendees typically carry away a wealth of new ideas, strategies and skills. Pablo Bose, a 2006 University-Wide Teaching Award Winner and outgoing CST graduate teaching associate, says: “TA Day was an excellent opportunity for me to further develop and refine my teaching skills throughout my time at York. During my first few years here I was able to learn many of the tips and techniques necessary for making the transition from student to teacher.”

Pariss Garramone, a CST graduate teaching associate in the coming year, adds, “I am looking forward to TA Day 2006 and see this as a wonderful opportunity for TAs from all disciplines to meet, and share their experiences. I first learned about the CST through attending TA Day.”

Left: Sessions are well attended

“The discipline-specific workshops have helped me make the transition from teaching in a science lab to teaching a two-hour tutorial in the humanities,” said Garramone.

The CST invites all TAs at York to attend TA Day 2006, which takes place in Accolade East. For more information on the program, including session times and locations, visit the CST Web site.

TA Day is funded by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Office of the Vice President Academic, Canadian Union of Public Employees 3903 and Centre for the Support of Teaching.