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SLATE Language Program Coordination -- Holly Nibert, Western Michigan University

Event Type
Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education
Room 1060, Lincoln Hall, 702 South Wright Street, Urbana
Mar 29, 2013   2:00 - 3:00 pm  
Holly Nibert, Western Michigan University
Free and open to the public.
Originating Calendar
School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics Calendar

Teaching Assistant (TA) training programs and second language (L2) methods courses need to cover a plethora of content areas and skills in order to effectively prepare TAs for university teaching. Typically, direct feedback from TAs about the

effectiveness of such training comes solely in the form of one-time, end-of-term evaluations completed at the end of the L2 methods course. However, this feedback is limited in that it does not include other aspects of the TA training process, the overall language program, or the course curriculum that TAs are asked to implement. In short, language program directors often do not receive the direct feedback from the trenches that they need to identify areas of TA training and the curriculum that could benefit from positive change and greater TA buy-in.  This talk will present various strategies for increasing direct TA feedback and dialog during various stages of the TA training process, viewed as on-going over the course of a TA's graduate career. Basic information on leadership styles indicates that the most effective style is one that is participative and flexible in nature, according to the knowledge and skill sets of employees. This information points to maximizing TA feedback and input whenever feasible. Furthermore, it provides a useful framework for assessing one's own predominant leadership style(s) as language program director and, by default, as leader. Various examples will be presented to illustrate this self-reflective approach. Outcomes include increased self-awareness as a leader, increased awareness of the need for and usefulness of TA feedback in L2 programs, strategies for eliciting and implementing feedback, and ultimately, enhanced TA training programs, course curricula, and a more collaborative, positive work environment for TAs and directors.

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