University Science Instruction: Factor’s Affecting STEM Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Teaching Self-Efficacy

Monday, December 12, 2011 -
2:00pm to 4:00pm
Sue Ellen DeChenne
Speaker's Institution: 
University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have a large impact on undergraduate instruction.  Unfortunately, many STEM GTAs are poorly prepared to teach.   Teaching self-efficacy – a teacher’s belief in their ability to teach specific student populations a specific subject – is an important predictor of teaching skills and student achievement.  The GTA literature indicates that teaching experience, peer relationships, supervisor relationship, departmental facilitation of teaching, and GTA professional development can be modeled as sources of teaching self-efficacy for GTAs.  The model is tested using regression path analysis with 128 STEM GTAs from a Pacific Northwest university.  For this population of STEM GTAs, teaching experience, GTA professional development, supervisor relationships, and departmental facilitation of teaching are related to STEM GTA teaching self-efficacy.  Several of these factors are often under the direct control of the department faculty indicating the important influence that these faculty can have on GTA teaching.