TA Days

The next session of TA Days will be offered in August 2020.


Roles and responsibilities for teaching assistants vary across the Institute. In recognition of this, the Teaching + Learning Lab has organized TA Days: a series of workshops that addresses many of the common roles, responsibilities, and concerns of MIT teaching assistants. 

We encourage you to register for the workshops that are most relevant and interesting to you. Please note that while TLL does not require TAs to attend any particular sessions, your department might.

 

Workshop Descriptions

 
Leading a Problem Solving Recitation
This 2-part session will provide you with a basic outline for a lecture or recitation session, examples of techniques that you can use to actively engage students in the STEM classroom, and the research-based rationale for including those elements. This session is geared towards leaders of recitation sections that focus on problem solving, but all are welcome.
 
Leading a Discussion
Conducting a discussion section presents unique challenges as instructors must balance their own preparation with interpersonal skills and be open to improvisation while still fulfilling learning goals. This 2-part session will provide you with a generalized outline for leading an active class discussion and specific strategies to get students engaged. This session is geared toward discussion sections, particularly in humanities and social science subjects, but all are welcome.
 
Communicating with Your Faculty
Clear communication between TAs and faculty instructors is critical to creating and effective and synergistic relationship between reciations and lectures. In this workshop, you will learn what questions to ask your faculty members in meetings, how to clarify their expectations for your work, and how to approach potentially difficult conversations with them.
 
Presenting a Class Session (incl. prep for Microteaching)
The thought of leading a class session can be intimidating. This session will present useful strategies for communicating with your audience, both visually and verbally.
 
Supporting Students as Teaching Assistants
In this workshop, led by Student Support and Wellbeing, you will learn how to recognize the signs of distress, as well as ways to support your students and peers. Student Support and Wellbeing is part of the Division of Student Life, providing advice and advocacy for students and acting as a hub of resources, referrals, and information across the MIT community. Student Support and Wellbeing staff are integrated with other resources, including Student Disability Services, to provide comprehensive academic and personal support to undergraduates.
 
TA Panels
Three panels of experienced TAs from different courses and schools will share the most important things they learned about being effective TAs and answer questions from the audience about how to get started as a new TA. 
 
Facilitating Office Hours & Tutorials
In this workshop, you will learn how to better assess where students are in their thinking, use questioning techniques to encourage students to explain their thinking, and help students enhance their learning by connecting solution steps to course concepts. This workshop will also present research on effective tutoring.
 
Giving Feedback on Student Writing
Feedback on writing assignments can be a challenging and often time-consuming activity as a TA. In this workshop, you will learn how to formulate helpful feedback for your students, while balancing your feedback betwee style and content. We will also discuss ways to grade writing more efficiently and effectively.

Although this session is designed for writing assignments typical in the social sciences and humanities, it is open to anyone who wants to learn to give better feedback on non-technical writing assignments.