W13: Training Statistics TAs to Teach for Conceptual Understanding and Foster Active Learning

With Jennifer Kaplan, Kristen Roland (University of Georgia); Roger Woodard (North Carolina State University); and Vickie Weber (Meredith College)


This workshop is designed for faculty who work with and train graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) in statistics. The overall goal of the workshop is to develop a set of evidence-based guidelines for best practices in training statistics TAs to facilitate active learning and teach for conceptual understanding. There are three main sections of the workshop:

  1. Discussion of the aspects of using active learning to develop conceptual understanding that are challenging for statistics TAs and the complexities of training novice instructors with subject matter knowledge typical for statistics graduate students.
  2. Illustration of ways to address the challenges and complexities evident in our project through the discussion of an activity that stresses conceptual understanding and videos of TA training and execution of the activity.
  3. Creation of a template for designing effective training sessions for statistics TAs that address the challenges and complexities identified by the workshop participants.

In first section of the workshop, the session leaders will invite participants to contribute ideas from their own experience in addition to presenting the issues that arose in our work. The second section of the workshop will be grounded in an activity developed for our project that provided rich data about the struggles statistics TAs face in teaching for conceptual understanding. We will use the activity and student responses from an open ended question to illustrate the ways we addressed the challenges and complexities we faced. In the last section of the workshop, the workshop leaders and participants will synthesize the ideas discussed in the first two sections of the workshop, leading to the production of a training template that participants can use at their own institution.