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Oregon State trains graduate students to be better TAs
Date:2/17/2010

y're very practical and they very much want to see an application they can implement that week," White said.

Graduate student Sarah Eddy participated in the program as a mentor TA, having had three experiences teaching in the introductory biology series. When Eddy first began teaching, she admitted that her nerves often got the better of her.

"I was self-deprecating and obviously nervous while presenting to the students," Eddy said. "I would defer to the other TA in the room, even though I was supposed to be the lead TA, and didn't know how to write effective quizzes or grade student papers efficiently. I definitely did not think about important components of teaching such as setting the tone in the classroom, developing a syllabus, being explicit in my expectations, etc."

Although she had years of experience by the time she took the seminar, Eddy said she has benefited in a number of ways from the training program.

"I've learned that students generally do not learn best by passively listening to lectures," she pointed out. "Instead they need opportunities to engage with and test their knowledge of the concepts pertinent to theirs labs. With this knowledge, I have begun designing activities to incorporate into my introductions that allow students to apply the concepts I've introduced before they even begin the hands-on portion of the lab."

Eddy's experience with the program has already provided her with tangible benefits. She won the 2009 OSU Frolander Outstanding GTA award, and directly credits the program for her win.

For White, one of the most satisfying parts of the program is watching the students take hold of new ideas and learn how to apply them to their teaching experience.

"They really want to be good teachers," she said. "They're incredibly engaged in this experience. The classes are a whirlwind of participation and ideas."

Former OSU graduate student Anthony Graziani, now a faculty
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Contact: Theresa Hogue
theresa.hogue@oregonstate.edu
541-737-0786
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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