The Fluctuation of Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Confidence in Teaching

Research output: Conference PapersAbstractpeer-review

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  • Pit Ho Patrio Chiu


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2018


TitleThe Canada International Conference on Education
LocationUniversity of Toronto Mississauga
Period25 - 28 June 2018


Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) play an essential role in undergraduate teaching. They are tasked to provide face-to-face teaching activities to students. It is widely accepted that GTAs’ behavior and performance are directly related to their perceived self-efficacy [1], [2]. In the past decade, GTA training programs, or courses, appeared around the world [3]–[5] to prepare GTAs for their teaching duties. Researchers reported that such training programs can enhance GTAs’ confidence and self-efficacy in teaching, decrease their anxiety and improve their teaching behavior [6], [7]. It was assumed that GTAs were prepared to take on their teaching duties after completing the training program. It was uncommon to have follow-up scheme to monitor GTAs’ behavior after they were assigned teaching duties, even though the change of perceived self-efficacy in teaching may affect their performance.
The purpose of this study was to assess GTAs’ self-efficacy in their first three-year of postgraduate study. A validated instrument was used to gauge their perceived self-efficacy in several critical times during the first triennium of their teaching careers. A pretest-posttest study and a cross-sectional study for 3 cohorts of Ph.D students were carried out. Statistical analysis, T-test and ANOVA, were used to analyze the data. From the 323 responses received, a complete self-efficacy profile for GTAs in their first three-year of teaching duty was revealed. It was found that their self-efficacy values jumped right after they have completed the training program, which was similar to previously published works. However, as they progressed to their second year of teaching, their confidence in teaching dropped to non-significantly different as compared to those before taking the training course. In other words, they lost all their self-efficacy gained through the training program only one year after conducting face-to-face teaching. Miraculously, the self-efficacy values in their third year of teaching rebounded to the highest point, which occurred at the end of the three-year study period.
The findings of this study showed that GTAs experienced a ‘bumpy ride’ in term of self-efficacy in their first three-year of duty. Even a robust training program cannot offset the practical issues that they encountered in field. Although, the analysis shown an overall positive trend of confidence in teaching in the three-year period, it also revealed that GTAs still need guidance and support in their second year of teaching duty. The guidance could be in form of peer coaching or mentoring to help them through all the practical issues that appeared in class. The empirical results of this work evidenced such important issue for the management to rethink about the teaching support provided to GTAs.

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Citation Format(s)

The Fluctuation of Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Confidence in Teaching. / Chiu, Pit Ho Patrio.
2018. Abstract from The Canada International Conference on Education , Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Research output: Conference PapersAbstractpeer-review