Annual conference helps York teaching assistants get ready for the classroom

TA Day is York’s annual one-day professional development conference for new teaching assistants (TAs). This year’s conference takes place on Thursday, Aug. 20, in the Accolade East Building on York’s Keele campus.

The Centre for the Support of Teaching, which hosts the conference, expects about 300 participants for sessions on how to engage undergraduate students in the classroom, lab and studio. The goal of the conference is to help new TAs prepare for their role with students. Conference sessions focus on the immediate needs of a new TA, and sessions are linked to central principles of teaching within the context of the disciplinary settings the TAs will be working in.

Research and feedback gathered from past TA Days, faculty members and experienced teaching assistants suggest that the most relevant topics for new TAs include:

  • a better understanding of their role and responsibilities;
  • a basic framework that can used immediately to plan teaching sessions;
  • an introduction to essential practical skills needed to run sessions effectively;
  • an introduction to working effectively in the (inter)disciplinary teaching context;
  • a guide to time management and how to balance teaching with graduate studies and everyday life;
  • an introduction to an academic and social network of experienced colleagues at York;
  • the different ways and benefits of developing an understanding and the skills that support successful teaching.

The Centre for the Support of Teaching TA Day Web site contains a full list of sessions and information on how to register for TA Day. Details about specific locations for each session are being added.