NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ984050
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-1356-2517
Creating Space: Maximising the Potential of the Graduate Teaching Assistant Role
Fairbrother, Hannah
Teaching in Higher Education, v17 n3 p353-358 2012
Creating space for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) to work as active members of the department and take ownership of certain learning and teaching activities has many potential benefits. Allowing GTAs the autonomy to pursue personal projects and share their enthusiasm for their subjects could help GTAs to develop a sense of professional identity and offer a firm grounding for a future academic post. Reconceptualising the role as an academic traineeship in this way also has positive repercussions for students who will benefit from both curricula and pedagogy that develop research-mindedness rather than simply coverage of course material. If GTAs use their PhDs to inspire their teaching, students will have access to up to date and active research and an awareness of how knowledge is created. Indeed the real value to be added to students' learning by being taught by GTAs is the latter's ability to exploit the research-teaching nexus to the maximum. GTAs are in an optimum position to engage in and promote an ethos of research-informed teaching. However, it must be acknowledged that in maximising the potential of the role, GTAs risk exploitation both in the present (teaching workloads may not reflect payment and may detract from core research work) and the future (the continued prestige of research output in terms of papers over teaching experience may hamper progression in academia). The author hopes this article will prove useful in highlighting the tensions inherent in the GTA role, and will offer a rationale for how it might be reconceptualised.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom