Most first-year TAs serve as tutors in the University Writing Center for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty who use the center.
In August, new TAs attend a Writing Center Orientation.
During orientation sessions, TAs learn strategies to help them in the Writing Center as well as in the classroom. TAs learn how to tutor one-on-one and how to evaluate student writing effectively. In addition, TAs learn to teach and tutor students in writing in the disciplines, being responsive to different teaching and learning styles, as well as strategies and problems of teaching grammar and sentence structure.
New TAs in the Writing Center attend regular weekly TA meetings to discuss writing center theory and practice.
Topics include teaching the writing process (invention strategies, evaluating a draft, revision); teaching active reading, summary, and writing from sources; evaluating and responding to student writing; resolving classroom management issues; using peer response groups; and conferencing effectively.
As preparation to teach their own composition classes, TAs experience these training methods.
1. TAs enroll in Composition
Theory and the Teaching of Writing (ENGL 688), a three credit graduate seminar.
The seminar stresses theories and issues about the teaching of writing: topics include literacy, grammar, the essay canon in composition texts, and more. The course assists first-year TA's in selecting textbooks, designing their syllabi and writing assignments, and evaluating student writing in the ENGL 110 classroom. By the end of the course, each new TA is expected to develop his or her own ENGL 110 syllabus which follows the goals of the Department's Writing Program.
Here is a helpful resource for new instructors:
E110 Sample Curriculum
2. TAs enter a teaching apprenticeship with a seasoned instructor to teach a section of ENGL 110.
First year students are typically assigned to serve as an apprentice for an advanced class in their chosen field (Literature, Film, or Rhetoric and Composition). This allows students to further their understanding of teaching strategies in their field.
Most TAs will continue to tutor in the Writing Center and will teach their own sections of ENGL 110.
Teachers attend regularly scheduled gatherings with WP staff to discuss how their teaching is going and to share insights and issues.
During the term, a WP administrator visits each TA's class.