GTA preparation from a Communities of Practice Perspective

Nicola Justice (Pacific Lutheran University)


Many institutions across the nation are faced with the challenge of preparing of statistics graduate students to teach and assist with teaching introductory statistics. As many of these graduate students, often called graduate teaching assistants (henceforth GTAs), have little experience or interest in teaching, the scope, nature, and role of professional development to prepare GTAs continues to be of issue. As investing in GTAs to teach statistics can be a time-consuming and exhausting endeavor, departments need solutions for how to invest their limited resources for preparing and supporting their GTAs for teaching.

This session introduces a research-based "Communities of Practice" perspective to GTA professional development related to teaching. Rooted in the communities of practice first offered by Lave and Wenger (1991), general principles will be offered for reexamining one’s own GTA preparation program. These principles will be supplemented with ideas for how to efficiently invest resources to better prepare and support GTAs for teaching.