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

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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.

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Williams, L.S. The effects of a comprehensive teaching assistant training program on teaching anxiety and effectiveness. Res High Educ 32, 585–598 (1991).

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