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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Ben Lutz and Laura Rios
Learning assistants (LAs) are peer educators who work alongside faculty to facilitate active learning activities and help students develop conceptual understanding. LAs and LA training programs are becoming increasingly prevalent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) gateway courses in the United States, and research continues to document the positive impacts on students and LAs in LA-facilitated classrooms. While evidence accumulates regarding positive student impact, relatively less work has investigated the ways LAs themselves might also be impacted by their participation in these programs. To improve LA training and student learning in STEM, it is vital that educators better understand the ways the experiences of LAs can promote personal and professional growth as members of the STEM community. To address this gap, we explored the epistemological development of LAs who participated in an LA program (i.e., pedagogy training and classroom practice) at a large, public, teaching-focused university. LAs participated in semi-structured interviews at the beginning and end of the academic term and completed bi-weekly reflections where they described impactful events and challenges. Using qualitative coding, we operationalized Baxter Magolda's epistemological reflection model to identify the impactful experiences that provoke epistemological development or reorientation. Our findings highlight three impactful experiences that help promote epistemological development for LAs: (i) recognizing the importance of language and listening; (ii) observing more knowledgeable others struggle with content; and (iii) providing students with the "wrong" answer to a question. We argue that these experiences can promote epistemological development in ways that help LAs become more effective in facilitating student learning and, ultimately, more thoughtful members of STEM disciplines.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 020133
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Communication
= Language
- Sample Population
= Instructor: TA
- Teacher Characteristics
= Pedagogical Content Knowledge
Education Practices
- Classroom Management
- Pedagogy
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
Other Sciences
- Engineering
- Geoscience
- Graduate/Professional
- Professional Development
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020133
Keywords:
LA effectiveness, LA pedagogy, LA training, Learning assistant skills, TA pedagogy, TA skills, Teaching assistant pedagogy, Teaching assistants, learning assistant pedagogy
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created November 28, 2022 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
April 6, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
November 14, 2022
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AIP Format
B. Lutz and L. Rios, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18 (2), 020133 (2022), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020133).
AJP/PRST-PER
B. Lutz and L. Rios, Impactful experiences and their effect on learning assistant epistemological development, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18 (2), 020133 (2022), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020133>.
APA Format
Lutz, B., & Rios, L. (2022, November 14). Impactful experiences and their effect on learning assistant epistemological development. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 18(2), 020133. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020133
Chicago Format
Lutz, Ben, and Laura Rios. "Impactful experiences and their effect on learning assistant epistemological development." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18, no. 2, (November 14, 2022): 020133, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020133 (accessed 19 April 2024).
MLA Format
Lutz, Ben, and Laura Rios. "Impactful experiences and their effect on learning assistant epistemological development." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18.2 (2022): 020133. 19 Apr. 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020133>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Ben Lutz and Laura Rios", Title = {Impactful experiences and their effect on learning assistant epistemological development}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {18}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020133}, Month = {November}, Year = {2022} }
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%A Ben Lutz %A Laura Rios %T Impactful experiences and their effect on learning assistant epistemological development %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 18 %N 2 %D November 14, 2022 %P 020133 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020133 %O application/pdf

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%0 Journal Article %A Lutz, Ben %A Rios, Laura %D November 14, 2022 %T Impactful experiences and their effect on learning assistant epistemological development %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 18 %N 2 %P 020133 %8 November 14, 2022 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020133


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