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SoTL Insights: Fostering Community, Confidence, and Growth Mindset in Teaching Assistants Through Peer Observation.

October 24, 2022 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


UBCO | CTL Event

Modality: Multi-access
Location: SCI 331 & Zoom

Facilitators: Megan Barker

The UBC Okanagan Centre for Teaching and Learning invites you to join us for a SoTL session to support TA students in their teaching. You have the choice of joining us either in person or online via Zoom.

Teaching Assistants (TAs) are a cornerstone of many courses, but they often have little experience and a sense of isolation in their work. Supporting TAs’ skills- and community development is incredibly important, but has practical challenges. One approach to support TAs in their teaching is through peer observation. This SoTL talk will present a study that integrated peer observation and reflective practice directly into the role of TAs in a large first-year biology course to foster community and increase confidence. The training first introduced the concept of supportive, constructive, and goal-directed peer observation. TAs were then trained to use an observational protocol (modified from COPUS (Smith 2013) & RIOT (Paul & West, 2018)). Following the observations, TAs participated in structured feedback conversations.  Pre/post-surveys were used to measure the impact of the intervention on TA confidence, community, and mindset using. Over the semester, TAs reported an increase in their confidence and sense of community and in general more familiarity with resources and supports available to them. They also shared that peer observation helped them feel more connected to their department and peers. From an instructor’s perspective, this approach built community during TA meetings and had minimal impact on workload. The presenter will describe the project’s research plan, TA management, and key findings. This will be an interactive session with time for questions.

Megan Barker is a Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University.  With an interdisciplinary background in biochemistry and in science education, her work focuses on supporting student learning and community in large classrooms and in the teaching lab.  She is interested in inclusive teaching approaches, unmasking the process of science, and how we can best support our wide range of students to get what they need out of their education.  She’s always looking to learn from new colleagues, so find her on twitter @meganbarkerase to start a conversation.

All UBCO instructors are invited to register.

If you have any questions, please email us at ctl.ubco@ubc.ca

Please select one of the following registration options:

Register for In-Person Session               Register for Zoom Session 





October 24, 2022
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Science Building (SCI)
1177 Research Road
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
+ Google Map

Additional Info

Room Number
SCI 331
Registration/RSVP Required
Yes (see event description)
Event Type
Personal and Professional Development, Student Learning, Teaching