red Supported Site Western Michigan University: Early Teaching Experience

Successes

  • We increased participation in our Learning Assistants Program this year to 8 LA’s. Each LA acts as an assistant to professors in the calculus-based introductory courses that utilize an active engagement approach.
  • Beginning in the fall of 2007 we will be offering pre-internship experiences, which will be supervised by teachers in the community.

Challenges

  • Only a limited number of faculty are willing to utilize LAs in their courses. Some are willing but need help using the LAs to their fullest potential by giving them opportunities to reach their full potential as teachers.
  • The pre-internship experiences that we are offering this fall will be supervised by general methods instructors who may not have science teaching experience.

Lessons Learned

  • Enabled the LAs to engage the students; the students, LAs, and the instructors regard the LA program as successful. Continued funding is available through an endowment.
  • When a faculty member chooses to use LAs for the first time, sufficient support and guidance needs to be given so that they utilize the LAs in a manner consistent with an early teaching experience and not just as a tutor or grader.