As a graduate student instructor, whether you are a Teaching Assistant or responsible for teaching your own course you will have an opportunity to enhance the learning environment of many students at McGill. As you interact with your students you can improve your teaching, facilitation and presentation skills. These skills will be very useful as you develop professionally.
This page provides pedagogical resources intended to support you as a new instructor and hopefully improve the chances that you and your students will have a successful experience. It is “work in progress” and we welcome your comments and suggestions for its improvement. Please email tls [at] mcgill [dot] ca (TLS).
Resources at McGill
Agricultural and Environmental Science
TA Orientation(Department of History)
Coordinator: Professor Suzanne Morton
EDPH–689: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (3 credits)
This course is designed to prepare graduate students for their future role as professors. The goals are that students design, develop, and evaluate a university course of their choice and develop facility and confidence in using teaching methods appropriate to their domains. By the end of this course, students should be able to:
- Apply design principles to the design of a course.
- Develop a complete course plan of their choice.
- Document their ability to reflect on and learn from the experience of teaching.
- Develop an awareness of current issues in the field of higher education and become familiar with resources available (e.g., journals, newsletters, books, web-sites) on teaching and learning.
- Value a student centered approach to teaching.
Teaching Assistant Training Workshops:
These sessions, sponsored by ‘Teaching Enhancement Initiative in the Faculty of Engineering’ and developed in cooperation with Teaching and Learning Services, include topics such as:
- Using myCourses
- Public Speaking
- Challenges and rewards of being an Engineering TA
For more information about future events please contact maria [dot] orjuela-laverde [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Maria Orjuela-Laverde).
EDPH–689: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (3 credits)
(see Education section for description) PhD Management students are required to take this course.
Integration of pedagogical and communication skills in graduate courses
Resource: Dr. Edith Zorychta
The Faculty offers an orientation to their graduate student instructors. The orientation includes three sessions on: development of the course outline, logistics and pedagogical issues.
Contact: Lisa Lorenzino
The Tomlinson Project in University-Level Science Education (T-PULSE) offers teaching development workshops for science graduate students.
The McGill Writing Centre offers credit courses in English for Academic Purposes for students for whom English is a second language. Students may be registered in any academic program in all faculties.
- CESL 640 Fundamentals of Academic Writing for Graduate Students
- CESL 650 Pronunciation and Communication for Graduate Students
- CESL 690 Academic Writing for Graduate Students
Resources Outside McGill
Teaching Guide for Graduate Student Instructors – UC Berkeley
This web teaching guide offers graduate student instructors guidelines and resources on various aspects of the teaching experience, including getting started, facilitating labs, working with student writing, assessing student learning, using technology in the classroom, preventing academic dishonesty, theories of learning, and career building.
Valuable Resources for Teaching Assistants – UC Santa Cruz
This website is a combination of pieces written by experienced Teaching Assistants and excerpts from various publications on teaching and learning, offering resources on topics like preparing to teach, leading discussion, teaching writing, teaching sciences, classroom management, evaluating students, international TAs, social awareness and responsibilities, and collecting feedback on teaching.
MSU TA: A Handbook for Teaching Assistants – Michigan State University
Michigan State University handbook for teaching assistants. Focus on: the syllabus as a learning tool; effective teaching strategies; and evaluating teaching and learning - but addresses many topics and issues of interest to TA's. Bibliography includes a variety of web-based teaching and learning resources.
A Handbook for Teaching Assistants – Queen’s University [.pdf]
by Allyson Hadwin and Susan Wilcox, Instructional Development Centre, Queen's University, Canada. A 53-page guide to the skills of becoming an effective TA, now in its fifth edition. Sections include roles and responsibilities of the teaching assistant, getting started (including surviving the first day of class), leading seminars and tutorials, lab teaching, lecturing and presenting, advising and counseling students, and tips on setting and marking assignments, tests and exams. The guide ends with hints on dealing with problems and suggestions for assessing your own performance as a TA.
Handbook for Teachers compiled by Pivnick, Franklin and Theall [.pdf]
This multi-topic resource is based on excerpts from a variety of higher education resources compiled by Lauren Pivnick, Jennifer Franklin and Michael Theall. Provides references to higher education literature as well as serving as a resource in its own right for instructors and teaching assistants.
Part Two of this 55 page handbook is devoted to topics of special interest to Teaching Assistants, such as: The TA as graduate student, student advisor, faculty-student liaison, faculty assistant, instructor, evaluator and so on.
Handouts and Teaching Tips
Resources for TAs and graduate students - Stanford University Links to articles on a number of issues relating to teaching strategies and issues.
Preparing Future Faculty Program
The Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program is a national movement in the US to prepare aspiring faculty members for their careers. PFF programs provide graduate students, with opportunities to observe and experience faculty responsibilities at a variety of academic institutions.
What's working in TA training - Stanford University
This report highlights key aspects of effective TA training programs at Stanford University. Examples of these practices in action in humanities, social sciences, sciences, and engineering) are presented.