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ISTM TA Training: Teaching Skills

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ISTM TA Training: Teaching Skills ISTM TA Training: Teaching Skills

 ISTM TA Training: Teaching Skills

The second TA training for this semester was held on November 14, 2014 by Dr. An-An Chiu, Assistant Professor in BIBA. Ten Teaching Assistants (TAs) in ISTM participated in the training, including TAs who lead training classes (full-time TAs and graduate students) and TAs who only offer in-class advice and support.

 “It is a trend in Asia to deliver lectures in English,” said Dr. Chiu. “But there are also challenges,” she added, “because English is not our mother tongue, we may encounter communication problems when teaching in English.” For a more effectual as well as interactive teaching, Dr. Chiu provided some useful tips for the TAs:

1.          To start a class you can say to the class “OK everyone, today, we’re going to look at…”

2.          To get students focused you can say “The main point I’d like to emphasize here is…”

3.          To end a class you can say “That’s probably about all we’ve got time for today.”

The use of these sentences can help the lecturer express more explicitly, get the students more focused in class, and give students a closure on what they have learned for the day.

During discussion, a TA shared his experiences of teaching in English. He felt frustrated especially when students demonstrate unwillingness to learn. Dr. Chiu offered useful advice on this: “Except for making students know the importance of what they are learning, it is also necessary to make them participate in class.” As she suggested, “Both teachers and teaching assistants should try to know the reasons for their students’ lack of interest or motivation for learning. There may be multiple reasons for students’ low learning interest or motivation. An individual student may suffer from personal, physical, family-related, or other problems that affect his/her learning motivation. The instructor should identify the student’s problem first, because when the problem is not well-understood, any solution to which will be in vain.”

At the end of the training, Dr. Chiu advised that TAs should have a clear idea of the role they are playing. According to Dr. Chiu, since a TA’s job is to assist the teachers and to make students learn more effectively, TAs should communicate with the teachers fully and efficiently to meet their expectations.