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Examining the Beliefs and Practice of Teaching Assistants: Two Case Studies Documents

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Examining the Beliefs and Practice of Teaching Assistants: Two Case Studies 

written by Benjamin T. Spike and Noah D. Finkelstein

In an effort to study the impact of teaching experience and preparation on the pedagogical beliefs of physics Teaching Assistants (TAs), we investigate the beliefs expressed by TAs following several semesters of teaching with the Tutorials in Introductory Physics. The beliefs of TAs mediate the actions they take in working with students, as well as the classroom norms they set for participation in the Tutorial activity. In this paper, we build upon existing analytic frameworks to characterize two distinct sets of TA beliefs gathered from pre- and post-semester interviews. We also present preliminary indications of coordination between these beliefs and the in-class practices of TAs. We then conclude with implications for the training of TAs in order to promote more pedagogically sophisticated beliefs at a potentially critical time in their professional development.

Published August 24, 2010
Last Modified November 8, 2010

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