A Qualitative Study of Florida Tech Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Response to Coaching, Video Playback, and Coaching Paired with Video Playback with Regard to their Concerns, Self-Reflections, and Practice of Teaching
Fennell, Angela Marie
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Florida Tech’s campus-wide GTA professional development training, the GTA Seminar, has no clear theory on which it was designed, employs only measures of satisfaction and open-ended feedback, and performs limited follow-up on GTAs. Further, two pilot studies I conducted indicate that GTAs’ concerns may not be fully addressed by this seminar. This is notable because the GTA Seminar is often the only means of professional development available to more than half of the GTAs on campus. The purpose of my study was to investigate 13 GTAs’ teaching concerns, self-reflections, and practice when implementing three professional development sequences during their assignments over one semester: responsive coaching, video playback, and responsive coaching paired with video playback. I used a qualitative methodology, implemented 3 rounds of the professional development sequences, and collected different forms of data. I developed case studies for each member of the 4 groups in my study (i.e., including a comparison group). These case studies allowed me to describe each individual GTA, including his/her: background information; self, task, and impact concerns; levels of reflection; teaching practice; and apparent changes over time. Using these case studies, within-group and between-group comparisons were done to explore any influence of these professional development sequences on the teaching concerns, reflections, and practices of GTAs. Although I was unable to detect any influence of the professional development sequences, the outcomes of my study were somewhat consistent with Fuller’s (1969) theory in that beginner GTAs had self concerns. However, all 13 participants of the professional development sequences had concurrent task concerns. There was one unique participant in each group with additional high-level impact concerns and higher levels of self-reflection. These outcomes may be grounded in the GTAs’ multi-role status, the pre-organized nature of their assignments, and their level of maturity and/or educational course history. Further, the GTAs’ feedback indicated they preferred expert consultation and appreciated the professional development sequences of the GTA Seminar and this study.