The Impact of a Pedagogy Course on the Teaching Beliefs of Inexperienced Graduate Teaching Assistants.
ABSTRACT: There has been little attention given to teaching beliefs of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), even though they represent the primary teaching workforce for undergraduate students in discussion and laboratory sections at many research universities. Secondary school education studies have shown that teaching beliefs are malleable and can be shaped by professional development, particularly for inexperienced teachers. This study characterized inexperienced GTAs' teaching beliefs about student learning and how they change with a science-specific pedagogy course that emphasized student learning. GTA teaching beliefs were characterized as traditional (providing information to students), instructive (providing activities for students), and transitional (focusing on student-teacher relationships). At the start of the course, traditional, instructive, and transitional beliefs were emphasized comparably in the concept maps and presentations of inexperienced GTAs. At the end of the course, although GTAs' beliefs remained mostly teacher focused, they were more instructive than traditional or transitional. GTAs included teaching strategies and jargon from the course in their concept maps but provided minimal explanations about how opportunities for active student engagement would impact student learning. These results suggest there is a need to provide ongoing discipline-specific professional development to inexperienced GTAs as they develop and strengthen their teaching beliefs about student learning.
Project description:Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) play important instructional roles in introductory science courses, yet they often have little training in pedagogy. The most common form of teaching professional development (PD) for GTAs is a presemester workshop held at the course, department, or college level. In this study, we compare the effectiveness of presemester workshops at three northeastern research universities, each of which incorporated scientific teaching as the pedagogical content framework. The comparison of GTA PD program outcomes at three different institutions is intended to test theoretical assertions about the key role of contextual factors in GTA PD efficacy. Pretest and posttest surveys were used to assess changes in GTA teaching self-efficacy and anxiety following the workshops, and an objective test was used to assess pedagogical knowledge. Analysis of pretest/posttest data revealed statistically significant gains in GTA teaching self-efficacy and pedagogical knowledge and reductions in teaching anxiety across sites. Changes in teaching anxiety and self-efficacy, but not pedagogical knowledge, differed by training program. Student ratings of GTAs at two sites showed that students had positive perceptions of GTAs in all teaching dimensions, and relatively small differences in student ratings of GTAs were observed between institutions. Divergent findings for some outcome variables suggest that program efficacy was influenced as hypothesized by contextual factors such as GTA teaching experience.
Project description:Although there is considerable evidence to support the direct effects of self-efficacy beliefs on academic achievement, very few studies have explored the motivational mechanism that mediates the self-efficacy-achievement relationship, and they are necessary to understand how and why self-efficacy affects students' academic achievement. Based on a socio-cognitive perspective of motivation, this study examines the relationships among academic self-efficacy, students' expectancy-value beliefs, teaching process satisfaction, and academic achievement. Its main aim is to identify some motivational-underlying processes through which students' academic self-efficacy affects student achievement and satisfaction. Student achievement and satisfaction are two of the most important learning outcomes, and are considered key indicators of education quality. The sample comprises 797 Spanish secondary education students from 36 educational settings and three schools. The scales that referred to self-efficacy and expectancy-value beliefs were administered at the beginning of the course, while student satisfaction and achievement were measured at the end of the course. The data analysis was conducted by structural equation modeling (SEM). The results revealed that students' expectancy-value beliefs (Subject value, Process expectancy, Achievement expectancy, Cost expectancy) played a mediator role between academic self-efficacy and the achievement/satisfaction relationship. These results provided empirical evidence to better understand the mechanism that mediates self-efficacy-achievement and efficacy-course satisfaction relationships. The implications of these findings for teaching and learning in secondary education are discussed.
Project description:The social construction of knowledge within medical education is essential for learning. Students' interactions within groups and associated learning artifacts can meaningfully impact learning. Situated cognition theory poses that knowledge, thinking, and learning are located in experience. In recent years, there has been a reported decline in time spent on anatomy by whole body dissection (AWBD) within medical programs. However, teaching by surgeons in AWBD provides unique opportunities for students, promoting a deeper engagement in learning. In this study, we apply situated cognition theory as a conceptual framework to explore students' perceptions of their learning experience within the 2014 iteration of an 8-week elective AWBD course.At the end of the course, all students (n=24) were invited to attend one of three focus groups. Framework analysis was used to code and categorize data into themes.In total, 20/24 (83%) students participated in focus groups. Utilizing situated cognition theory as a conceptual framework, we illustrate students' learning experiences within the AWBD course. Students highlighted opportunities to create and reinforce their own knowledge through active participation in authentic dissection tasks; guidance and clinical context provided by surgeons as supervisors; and the provision of an inclusive learning community.Situated cognition theory offers a valuable lens through which to view students' learning experience in the anatomy dissection course. By doing so, the importance of providing clinical relevance to medical teaching is highlighted. Additionally, the value of having surgeons teach AWBD and the experience they share is illustrated. The team learning course design, with varying teaching methods and frequent assessments, prompting student-student and student-teacher interaction, was also beneficial for student learning.
Project description:Evidence-based teaching is a highly complex skill, requiring repeated cycles of deliberate practice and feedback to master. Despite existing well-characterized frameworks for practice-based training in K-12 teacher education, the major principles of these frameworks have not yet been transferred to instructor development in higher educational contexts, including training of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). We sought to determine whether a practice-based training program could help GTAs learn and use evidence-based teaching methods in their classrooms. We implemented a weekly training program for introductory biology GTAs that included structured drills of techniques selected to enhance student practice, logic development, and accountability and reduce apprehension. These elements were selected based on their previous characterization as dimensions of active learning. GTAs received regular performance feedback based on classroom observations. To quantify use of target techniques and levels of student participation, we collected and coded 160 h of video footage. We investigated the relationship between frequency of GTA implementation of target techniques and student exam scores; however, we observed no significant relationship. Although GTAs adopted and used many of the target techniques with high frequency, techniques that enforced student participation were not stably adopted, and their use was unresponsive to formal feedback. We also found that techniques discussed in training, but not practiced, were not used at quantifiable frequencies, further supporting the importance of practice-based training for influencing instructional practices.
Project description:Student overconfidence challenges success in introductory biology. This study examined the impact of classroom learning communities and self-assessment on student metacognition and subsequent impact on student epistemological beliefs, behaviors, and learning. Students wrote weekly self-assessments reflecting on the process of learning and received individual feedback. Students completed a learning strategies inventory focused on metacognition and study behaviors at the beginning and end of the semester and a Student Assessment of their Learning Gains (SALG) at the end of the semester. Results indicated significant changes in both metacognition and study behaviors over the course of the semester, with a positive impact on learning as determined by broad and singular measures. Self-assessments and SALG data demonstrated a change in student beliefs and behaviors. Taken together, these findings argue that classroom learning communities and self-assessment can increase student metacognition and change student epistemological beliefs and behaviors.
Project description:This study describes feedback on the effects of changes introduced in our teaching practices for an introductory biochemistry course in the Life Sciences curriculum. Students on this course have diverse educational qualifications and are taught in large learning groups, creating challenges for the management of individual learning. We used the constructive alignment principle, refining the learning contract and re-drafting the teaching program to introduce active learning and an organization of activities that promotes the participation of all the students and helps their understanding. We also created teaching resources available through the university virtual work environment. Our research aimed to measure the effects of those changes on the students' success. Monitoring of the student performance showed a continuous increase in the percentage of students who passed the course, from 2.13% to 33.5% in 4 years. Analysis of student perceptions highlighted that the teaching methodology was greatly appreciated by the students, whose attendance also improved. The recent introduction of clickers-questions constituted a complementary leverage. The active involvement of the students and better results for summative assessments are altogether a strong motivation for teaching staff to continue to make improvements.
Project description:Teaching large numbers of students can be a challenge for both teachers and students. Implementing new teaching strategies may be 1 way to address the problem. This article presents the impact of using Gagne's 9 events of instruction on student learning and course evaluations over a 3-semester period. Student evaluations indicated enhanced teacher mastery, effectiveness, and enthusiasm. Overall student final grades increased.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To determine the cost-effectiveness of Gynaecology Teaching Associate (GTA) teaching versus conventional pelvic model (manikin) teaching of pelvic examination skills for final year medical students within a UK undergraduate obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) curriculum. METHODS:An economic evaluation was carried out alongside a randomised controlled trial involving 492 final year medical students. 240 students received manikin teaching, and 241 GTA-led teaching. 418 (85%) students completed their assessment. Proficiency in gynaecological pelvic examination on GTAs was estimated by a senior clinical examiner, blinded to the method of teaching, using a standardised assessment tool. University of Birmingham Medical School thresholds were applied to determine proficiency levels; competence (pass) 50%, merit 60% and distinction 70%. Costs incurred in the delivery of both the educational pathways (control and intervention) were combined. All costs are reported in 2013-2014 prices and earlier costs adjusted using inflation indices. OUTCOME MEASURES:Cost per student competent in pelvic examination at completion of a 5-week clinical O&G placement. RESULTS:GTA teaching was more effective compared with conventional teaching with 12 more students considered competent at pass level and 28 more students competent at merit and distinction levels, respectively. However, the average cost of GTA teaching was £45.06 per student compared with £7.40 per student for conventional teaching, with an increased cost of £37.66 per student. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio demonstrated that it cost an additional £640.20 per competent student and £274.37 per student competent at merit level and £274.37 at distinction level compared with conventional manikin-based teaching. CONCLUSIONS:GTA teaching of female pelvic examination at the start of undergraduate medical student O&G clinical placements is shown to cost more and be more effective. GTA teaching is likely to be considered cost-effective in the context of other tests, and over the lifespan of a competent doctor's career. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:NCT01944592.
Project description:Student-centered strategies are being incorporated into undergraduate classrooms in response to a call for reform. We tested whether teaching in an extensively student-centered manner (many active-learning pedagogies, consistent formative assessment, cooperative groups; the Extensive section) was more effective than teaching in a moderately student-centered manner (fewer active-learning pedagogies, less formative assessment, without groups; the Moderate section) in a large-enrollment course. One instructor taught both sections of Biology 101 during the same quarter, covering the same material. Students in the Extensive section had significantly higher mean scores on course exams. They also scored significantly higher on a content postassessment when accounting for preassessment score and student demographics. Item response theory analysis supported these results. Students in the Extensive section had greater changes in postinstruction abilities compared with students in the Moderate section. Finally, students in the Extensive section exhibited a statistically greater expert shift in their views about biology and learning biology. We suggest our results are explained by the greater number of active-learning pedagogies experienced by students in cooperative groups, the consistent use of formative assessment, and the frequent use of explicit metacognition in the Extensive section.
Project description:Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have a large impact on undergraduate instruction but are often poorly prepared to teach. Teaching self-efficacy, an instructor's belief in his or her ability to teach specific student populations a specific subject, is an important predictor of teaching skill and student achievement. A model of sources of teaching self-efficacy is developed from the GTA literature. This model indicates that teaching experience, departmental teaching climate (including peer and supervisor relationships), and GTA professional development (PD) can act as sources of teaching self-efficacy. The model is pilot tested with 128 GTAs from nine different STEM departments at a midsized research university. Structural equation modeling reveals that K-12 teaching experience, hours and perceived quality of GTA PD, and perception of the departmental facilitating environment are significant factors that explain 32% of the variance in the teaching self-efficacy of STEM GTAs. This model highlights the important contributions of the departmental environment and GTA PD in the development of teaching self-efficacy for STEM GTAs.