Research in Higher Education

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 585–598 | Cite as

The effects of a comprehensive teaching assistant training program on teaching anxiety and effectiveness

  • Linda Stallworth Williams


This experiment investigated the effects of a comprehensive teaching assistant (TA) training program on the teaching anxiety and effectiveness of TAs. Twenty-seven TAs in the English department of a research university were divided into experimental and control groups. Both groups participated in a one-week workshop and a sixteen-week theory and pedagogy course during a fall semester. TAs in the experimental group also participated in a consultant observation program and peer mentoring activities. Data resulting from the completed pretests and posttests for teaching anxiety and effectiveness were analyzed using either at-test or an analysis of covariance. Conclusions from the study include: (1) Declines in teaching anxiety for TAs in the experimental group were significantly greater. (2) Neither group of TAs improved in teaching effectiveness, as measured by general student evaluations. However, based on posttest means for these student ratings, the teaching effectiveness of the experimental group was rated significantly higher. (3) Student ratings of teaching effectiveness in composition for TAs in the experimental group were significantly higher. (4) There were no significant differences between pre- to posttest changes in the self-appraisals of teaching effectiveness for the groups.


Training Program Education Research Mentor Activity Teaching Effectiveness Student Rating 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbott, R. D., Wulff, D. H., and Szego, C. K. (1989). Review of research on TA training. In J. D. Nyquist, R. D. Abbott, and D. H. Wulff (eds.),Teaching Assistant Training in the 1990s (pp. 111–124). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  2. Bowen, H. R., and Schuster, J. S. (1986).American Professors: A National Resource Imperiled. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Buitink, J., and Kemme, S. (1986). Changes in student-teacher thinking.European Journal of Teacher Education 9(1):75–84.Google Scholar
  4. Carroll, J. G. (1980). Effects of training programs for university teaching assistants.Journal of Higher Education 51(2):167–183.Google Scholar
  5. Clinic to Improve University Teaching (1974).Teaching Analysis by Students System. Amherst: University of Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, J. (1977).Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  7. Doyal, G. T., and Forsyth, R. A. (1973). The relationship between teacher and student anxiety levels.Psychology in the Schools 10(2):231–233.Google Scholar
  8. Erdle, S., Murray, H. G., and Rushton, J. P. (1985). Personality, classroom behavior, and student ratings of college teaching effectiveness: A path analysis.Journal of Educational Psychology 77(4):394–407.Google Scholar
  9. Erickson, G. R., and Erickson, B. L. (1979). Improving college teaching.Journal of Higher Education 50(5):673–685.Google Scholar
  10. Flanigan, M. C. (1979). Observing teaching: Discovering and developing the individual's teaching style.Writing Program Administration 3(2):17–24.Google Scholar
  11. Parsons, J. S. (1973). Assessment of anxiety about teaching using the Teaching Anxiety Scale: Manual and research report. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (ERIC Documents Reproduction Service No. 079 330).Google Scholar
  12. Phillips, D. A., Carlisle, C. S., Hautala, R., and Larson, R. (1985). Personality traits and teacher-student behaviors in physical education.Journal of Educational Psychology 77(4):408–416.Google Scholar
  13. Siegel, S. (1956).Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  14. Spielberger, C. D. (1966). Theory and research on anxiety. In C. D. Spielberger (ed.),Anxiety and Behavior (pp. 3–20). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Witte, S. P., Daly, J. A., Faigley, L., and Koch, W. R. (1983). An instrument for reporting composition course and teacher effectiveness in college writing programs.Research in the Teaching of English 17(3):243–261.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Stallworth Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of OklahomaNorman

Personalised recommendations