The perceived benefits and problems associated with teaching activities undertaken by doctoral students

Jordan, Katy and Howe, Christine (2018). The perceived benefits and problems associated with teaching activities undertaken by doctoral students. Teaching in Higher Education, 23(4) pp. 504–521.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2017.1414787

Abstract

Postgraduate students involved in delivering undergraduate teaching while working toward a research degree are known as graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). This study focused upon the problems and benefits arising from this dual role as researchers and teachers, as perceived by GTAs at the University of Cambridge. To this end, GTAs at Cambridge were invited to participate in an online survey (n = 153). Teaching is seen to offer a wide range of benefits to GTAs, including benefits to the GTAs’ own research, transferable skills development, career development and teaching skills. Time pressures emerged as the principal problem associated with the role. The data are consistent with findings from previous studies, while also providing further detail about the nature of the benefits and problems. In particular, additional insights are offered relating to benefits and problems associated with different teaching activities, and disciplinary differences.

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