Past TA Institute Events

After the ISW: Embedding Reflection into Your Teaching Practice

Want to get more out of your successes and failures in teaching? Reflection can be a useful process for both learners and instructors, but how can you go about doing this routinely and effectively? In this workshop, we will collaboratively: a) identify opportunities to integrate reflection in your teaching practice to benefit your learners; b) generate concrete strategies to embed reflection in your teaching routine; and c) appreciate the value and insights gained through effective reflection.

Facilitators: Mabel Ho and Austin Taylor

Classroom Assessment Techniques: Know Why and How to Assess

Classroom assessment is a valuable component of a lesson. However, many graduate students have not considered how to apply assessment in their own teaching. In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to explore a variety of classroom assessment techniques and begin to discover how to include them in their lessons. Specifically, the learning objectives include: a) evaluate the benefits and challenges of classroom assessment techniques; b) consider different classroom assessment techniques and develop steps for their implementation; and c) plan a lesson including at least two classroom assessment techniques.

Facilitators: Andrea Johnson and Emily Scribner

Design and Facilitation of Small Group Activities

Want to promote collaborative and peer-to-peer learning among your learners?  Join us in this workshop where we discuss cognitive, behavioral, and social benefits of cooperative learning.  In this interactive session, we would explore steps to design group activities, techniques to prevent potential challenges, and strategies to implement successful group activities.

Facilitator: Jennifer Brown

Growth Mindset in TAing: Developing a Pathway

In this session, we will explore how promoting growth mindsets in the classroom can positively impact student learning. Moreover, we will emphasize the benefits for personal TA development, both in the classroom and beyond. In the process, we will bust a few educational myths. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to: a) describe how growth vs fixed mindsets impact student learning; b) apply growth-mindset tactics in giving and receiving feedback to your students; and c) start including mindsets in your own reflective practice and professional development.

Facilitators: Matt Coles and Jens Vent-Schmidt

Introduction to Developing a Teaching Philosophy and Teaching Portfolio

Have you considered how to document and highlight your teaching contributions, student impact, and mentorship? This interactive workshop is designed to build the foundation needed for professionals to start their teaching portfolio (a collection of documents that communicates your teaching philosophy, teaching activity, and evaluates teaching effectiveness, highlights student mentorship and commitment to professional development). Roll up your sleeves and join us in this hands-on workshop where you will: Identify teaching activities of relevance to a teaching portfolio, describe the purpose of a teaching philosophy, and develop the central theme(s) of your teaching philosophy.

Facilitators: Colin Dring and Linda Horianopoulos

TAing in a Culturally Diverse Classroom

Students and instructors including TA’s seem to be overwhelmed by challenges of being in a culturally diverse classroom context. Have you wondered why and how students from different cultural backgrounds than you seem to perceive things differently? Do you know that you can maximize the benefits your diverse learners bring and navigate the possible challenges of TAing is such environment?  This very interactive session will explore these and similar questions you may have and help you: (1) identify the benefits and challenges of TAing in culturally diverse classrooms; and, (2) generate pedagogical practices for empowering your students to navigate possible challenges starting from lesson planning to actual instructional delivery and supporting their active learning.

Facilitator: Aloy Anyichie

TAing in Large Classrooms: What to Expect, How to Excel

Teaching large classes can be intimidating, but it is often a necessity. Many instructors end up lecturing because they aren’t sure how to engage students in active learning when class sizes are large. In this session we will discuss challenges in teaching large classes and develop techniques to engage with them.  By the end of this workshop, you will be able to: a) identify challenges in using active learning in large classes; b) explain 3 reasons active learning is important for large classes; and c) develop techniques for using active learning in large classes.

Facilitator: Janel Fergusson

Value Your Work as Graduate Students

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were unsure of: What skills you have? What benefits a TA-ship brings to you beyond the classroom? What you can contribute in your role as a TA beyond your described duties? If you answered any of the questions above with yes, this workshop is for you. In this interactive session, we will explore what values you bring and also gain in your work as a graduate student and TA.  By the end of the workshop, you will have started to discover and apply your known and unknown values to your work as a TA and graduate student, reflect and articulate why and how your skills can bring benefits to an organization such as the university, and develop and appreciate negotiation tactics from different perspectives.

Facilitators: Arnab Ray and Katharina Rothe

Design Thinking in Teaching

How do we take a design approach to create a successful lesson? In this workshop, we will discuss common challenges in lesson planning and develop a toolkit of best practices and strategies to generate meaningful learning experiences for learners. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  1. Identify common practices in lesson design and assess pitfalls and promises in implementation
  2. Transform your current design practice and develop a toolkit to generate meaningful learning experiences for your learners
  3. Appreciate the value of coherence within the lesson and alignment to your professional discipline

Please join us for this interactive workshop to explore and learn more about design thinking in teaching.

Facilitators: Mabel Ho & Jens Vent Schmidt

Developing a SoTL Project

Have you or the course instructor tried a new teaching technique (or want to) but remain unsure of whether it was effective? Are you curious about the effect of some practices in your course? Would you like to learn more about your students and their learning?

This workshop will help you design a research project to evaluate quality of teaching and learning in your course. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is the systematic inquiry into teaching and learning processes and their effectiveness, made public. In this workshop you will learn the fundamentals of SoTL in terms of approaches, ethical considerations, and first steps. You will leave the workshop with a better understanding of SoTL practices, as well as a blueprint for your very first SoTL project.

You invest a lot in improving your teaching – this workshop will help you evaluate whether you achieve your goals, using a research lens.

Facilitators: Kristi Carey and Ido Roll

Experiential Learning: Concept and its Application in Lesson Planning

“Experience plus Reflection = Learning” – John Dewey. Building on the earlier work of John Dewey, the educational theorist David Kolb proposes a “learning cycle” comprising different stages by which learning happens through the transformation of the learner’s experience. In this workshop you will explore Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, discuss its value in your teaching contexts, and find ways of integrating this model into your lesson planning and teaching. Join us for an interactive session to connect this important teaching model with your teaching practice.

Facilitators: Rowshan Rahmanian & Lucas Wright

Giving a Guest Lecture/Presentation

In this session, we will compare and contrast presentations and guest lectures. With this, we will design a toolkit to prepare for successful presentations or guest lectures. Finally, we will collaboratively explore common challenges associated with public speaking and practice strategies to overcome these.

Facilitators: Austin Taylor & Jens Vent Schmidt

Incorporating Results from SoTL

This session provides a framework for analyzing and incorporating The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) into classroom practices. SoTL involves scholarly inquiry into student learning and making findings public, in order to advance teaching and learning. A large body of literature contains findings from SoTL inquiries across numerous disciplines. In this session, participants will be introduced to SoTL and the body of literature associated with this field of study. This session consists of three parts:

  1. Identifying ways to incorporate SoTL and SoTL results into your teaching
  2. Describing strategies for introducing teaching approaches into the classroom
  3. Developing strategies to gather feedback from students to inform your practice

Examples in this session will be drawn from a variety of disciplines to provoke discussion across a broad range of subject areas and classroom environments.

Facilitators: Lesley Liu & Roselynn Verwoord

Metacognition, Lifelong Learning, and Disciplinary Practice

Metacognition, Lifelong Learning, and Disciplinary Practice – “..teach them to fish, and they will eat for a lifetime.” As teachers, we are often looking to help our students become lifelong learners in not only our own disciplines but also in their wider lives in general. But does simply “covering” content actually accomplish that goal? In this session, we will examine the idea of metacognition as a distinct and valuable practice in teaching and learning; covering the way practitioners plan, monitor, and evaluate their own work. We will develop some strategies, within our own disciplines, to help learners not simply know what a practitioner knows, but start to think the ways a practitioner thinks.”

Facilitators: Arnab Ray & Joseph Topornycky

Graduate Student Mental Health

Do you ever feel like you don’t belong in grad school? Like everyone around you is smarter, more qualified, more pulled together? Do you ever feel overwhelmed as a TA and feel like the students can see right through you? The responsibilities of being a grad student can be intense and leave us feeling like an impostor both as a grad student and as a TA. In this workshop, we will address raising self-awareness on “impostor syndrome”, identify strategies for self-care, as well as identifying strategies for preparation for teaching in the classroom and navigating life as a grad student.

Facilitators: Andrea Johnson, Ying Yin Lau, and Erin Yun

Trans Literacies

The Promoting Trans Literacies workshop explores how Teaching Assistants can develop safer, more trans-inclusive pedagogical practices in their various role(s) in the classroom and on campus so that students of all genders have equitable access to learning environments. Using case studies drawn from real-life student experiences, this workshop helps participants learn to understand and identify trans-oppressive practices at the university and in the classroom and also offers tools for countering these practices.

Facilitators: A.J. Lowik & Evan T. Taylor

Unsettling Classroom Guidelines

Classroom guidelines, ground rules, or agreements are tools often used by educators in different settings with the intent to keep discussions focused and productive, invite inclusive participation, and establish a “safe” learning environment. At the same time, anti-oppression educators Sensoy and DiAngelo (2014) have argued that classroom guidelines sometimes serve contrary goals because when they fail to recognize and respond to issues of power and social position, thereby creating unsafe and silencing environments for students who are not part of the dominant group or who are underrepresented in dominant discourses.

Facilitators: Deb Chen, Janey Lew, & Amy Perreault