Responding to your TA’s feedback
Your TAs received student feedback last Friday with you copied. The attached letter from Engineering Learning Initiatives, ELI, accompanied the feedback.
For many TAs this will be first time they receive this kind of feedback, so it has the potential to hit them hard. Your support, thoughtful advice, and encouragement to ‘reflect’ on the feedback can help them decide on reasonable steps to take to improve their teaching over the remainder of the semester and help them see the feedback as a professional development opportunity.
Conversation with each TA
Have a short conversation with your TA(s) about their feedback – mostly listening and asking probing questions, so they will reflect and set a few tangible goals.
- Let them share what they perceive as their greatest strengths (gleaned directly from the feedback)
- Thank the TA for their effort. Remind them of the value of the teaching work they do, both for their students and, also, for their own development as professionals explaining their field
- Then, based on their experience and the feedback, ask them what they would like to do better or differently
- Help refine their ideas and add any comments/suggestions of your own
- Finally, suggest setting 2-3 achievable, specific, goals based on what they have learned. Ask them to write the goals down and send them to you.
If you have many TAs, you may need to have a group meeting to give context for the feedback and to ask them each to send a short email with their reflections on the feedback and goals based on it.
ELI has found with their undergraduate educators (AEW Facilitators) that with written reflection on strengths and challenges and very specific goal setting, change is more likely to happen.
You might want to make a few notes for yourself about your TAs’ teaching in case you are later asked for a recommendation.
Thank you to you and your TAs for this attention and effort,
Celia Evans, Lisa Schneider -Bentley,
ELI - Teaching Assistant Development (ELI)
McCormick Teaching Excellence Institute (MTEI)