Teaching Assistants' Training Program

Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, 130 St. George Street, Robarts Library, 4th floor

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Learning in the U of T Classroom: Collaborative Facilitated Discussion for International TAs & Cis

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm EST


Wednesday, November 11, 2015
10:00 am - 4:00 pm EST
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Elective Icon
Blackburn Room, Robarts Library 4th Floor – ELECTIVE

Lauren Norman, TATP Sciences Trainer
Ahmed Kandil, TATP Social Sciences Trainer

International graduate students bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to the classroom in which they work. Applying these skills and knowledge in the classroom at the University of Toronto often necessitates navigating cultural differences in the role of instructors and students, expectations for student engagement, and communication strategies. This discussion workshop is geared toward International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) and International Course Instructors (ICIs). It is designed to elicit both similarities and differences among different classrooms in order to develop strategies and practices that bridge cultural differences. Participants will reflect on their own experiences through written responses to prompts that will be emailed a week prior to the workshop. These prompts are based on the eight areas of discussion below. These responses will form the basis for activities and discussion about understanding norms and expectations of Canadian academic culture with the goal of employing effective communication and teaching strategies in U of T academic settings.

8 areas for discussion:

  1. Ways of giving feedback
  2. Expectations for presenting information
  3. Expectations during classroom dialogue
  4. Ways of responding to disagreement or conflict
  5. Expectations for rule following and negotiation
  6. Strategies for saving face
  7. Differences in learner initiative in the classroom
  8. The extent to which students are comfortable critiquing the ideas of others


Blackburn Room


Lauren Norman
Ahmed Kandil