Advertisement

European Political Science

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 143–156 | Cite as

Training graduate teaching assistants: What can the discipline offer?

  • Michael BarrEmail author
  • Paul Wright
Teaching and Learning
  • 86 Downloads

Abstract

Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) provide an invaluable contribution to higher education, yet their role is often overlooked and understudied. We report on a UK-based study to describe the experience and views of GTAs with particular focus on training and professional development. Our findings draw from a survey of 32 GTAs along with informal group discussions with a small number of undergraduates and academic staff. A key theme from our project is the value of subject-specific training. We explore this issue and raise the possibility that in addition to university departments, learned societies and academic associations within the discipline may have a role to play in providing pedagogical training for GTAs and early career academics.

Keywords

Academic associations Doctoral students Early career academics Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) Learned societies Teacher training 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We wish to thank the participants in the GTA Project for their time and commitment to the issue. We also thank Una McGahren for her development of the Teaching Circle and Ben Coulson for his work on the GTA Blackboard resource. Finally, we are grateful to the HaSS Faculty for its support of our project, especially Simon Pallett and Ruth Graham.

References

  1. Blair, A., S. Curtis, M. Goodwin, and S. Shields. 2013. What feedback do students want? Politics 33 (1): 66–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boring, A. 2017. Gender biases in student evaluations of teaching. Journal of Public Economics 145 (1): 27–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buckler, S. 2001. Reflexivity and the discipline specific context: Learning and teaching politics. European Political Science 1 (1): 70–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buehler, M.J., and A.S. Marcum. 2007. Looking into the teaching crystal: Graduate teaching and the future of political science. Journal of Political Science Education 3 (1): 21–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chadha, D. 2013. Reconceptualising and reframing graduate teaching assistant (GTA) provision for a research-intensive institution. Teaching in Higher Education 18 (2): 205–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen, L., L. Manion, and K. Morrison. 2011. Research methods in education, 7th ed. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Craig, J. 2014. Supporting Political Science education in UK universities: The role of the PSA Teaching and Learning Group. European Political Science 13 (2): 146–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Craig, J. 2012. What (if anything) is different about teaching and learning in politics? In Teaching politics and international relations, ed. C. Gormley-Heenan and S. Lightfoot, 22–37. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gormley-Heenan, C. 2012. Teaching politics and political bias. In Teaching politics and international relations, ed. C. Gormley-Heenan and S. Lightfoot, 132–145. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Harland, T. 2001. Pre-service teacher education for university lecturers: The academic Apprentice. Journal of Education for Teaching 27 (3): 269–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Harris, C. 2015. Best practices in professional development in graduate education. In Handbook of teaching and learning in political science and international relations, ed. J. Ishiyama, W. Miller, and E. Simon, 35–46. Northampton: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  12. Hibbert, P., and M. Semler. 2016. Faculty development in teaching and learning: The UK framework and current debates. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 53 (6): 581–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hutchings, P. 1996. Making teaching community property: A menu for peer collaboration and peer review. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. Jenkins, A. 1996. Discipline-based educational development. International Journal for Academic Development 1 (1): 50–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jordan, K., and C. Howe. 2017. The perceived benefits and problems associated with teaching activities undertaken by doctoral students. Teaching in Higher Education 23 (4): 504–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Keefer, J.M. 2015. Experiencing doctoral liminality as a conceptual threshold and how supervisors can use it. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 52 (1): 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Keohane, R. 2009. Political science as a vocation. PS: Political Science and Politics 42 (2): 359–363.Google Scholar
  18. Lueddeke, G.R. 1997. Training postgraduates for teaching: Considerations for programme planning and development. Teaching in Higher Education 2 (2): 141–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Miles, M., A.M. Huberman, and J. Saldana. 2014. Qualitative data analysis: A methods sourcebook, 3rd ed. London: SAGE.Google Scholar
  20. Muzaka, V. 2009. The niche of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs): Perceptions and reflections. Teaching in Higher Education 14 (1): 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mycock, A. 2007. Where’s the real lecturer? The experiences of doctoral educators in the UK’ European Political Science 6 (2): 208–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. National Union of Students. 2013. Postgraduates Who Teach. London: NUS.Google Scholar
  23. Neumann, R., R.S. Parry, and T. Becher. 2002. Teaching and learning in their disciplinary contexts: A conceptual analysis. Studies in Higher Education 27 (4): 405–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Newhouse, M. 1998. Transferring Your Skills to a Non-Academic Setting. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/Transferring-Your-Skills-to-a/46430. Accessed 21 May 2018.
  25. O’Neill, G., and M. McNamara. 2015. Passing the baton: A collaborative approach to development and implementation of context-specific modules for graduate teaching assistants in cognate disciplines. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 53 (6): 570–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Park, C., and M. Ramos. 2002. The donkey in the department? Insights into the Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) experience in the UK. Journal of Graduate Education 3: 47–53.Google Scholar
  27. Pleschová, G. 2014. Promoting political science education in Europe: How can ECPR support their members in their work as political science teachers? European Political Science 13 (2): 138–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education). 2014. Subject benchmark: Politics and international relations. http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/Publications/Documents/SBS-consultation-politics.pdf. Accessed 21 May 2018.
  29. QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education). 2007. Subject Benchmark: Politics and International Relations. http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/Publications/Documents/Subject-benchmark-statement-Polictics-and-international-relations.pdf. Accessed 21 May 2018.
  30. Sadler, I. 2013. The role of self-confidence in learning to teach in higher education. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 50 (2): 157–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sharpe, R. 2000. A framework for training graduate teaching assistants. Teacher Development 4: 131–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Trowler, P. 2009. Beyond epistemological essentialism: Academic tribes in the twenty-first century. In The university and its disciplines: Teaching and learning within and beyond disciplinary boundaries, ed. C. Kreber, 181–195. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Williams, H., and N. Smith. 2016. Feedback: Critiquing practice, moving forward. European Political Science 16 (2): 159–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Winstone, N., and D. Moore. 2016. Sometimes fish, sometimes fowl? Liminality, identity work and identity malleability in graduate teaching assistants. Innovations in Education and Teaching International.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14703297.2016.1194769.Google Scholar
  35. Wisker, G., G. Robinson, and M. Shacham. 2007. Postgraduate research success: Communities of practice involving cohorts, guardian supervisors and online communities. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 44 (3): 301–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Newcastle UniversityNewcastleUK
  2. 2.School of History, Classics and ArchaeologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastleUK

Personalised recommendations