M.A. and Ph.D. students in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures often serve as Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs) as part of their funding package. The department prides itself on the training and support that it offers both new and experienced GTAs. It strives to make sure all GTAs are effective teachers and that they have opportunities for ongoing professional development. In recent years, several of our GTAs have won the Graduate Associate Teaching Award, the university’s highest recognition of the exceptional teaching provided by graduate students at Ohio State.
Foreign Language Graduate Teaching Associate Workshop
Most GTAs begin as undergraduate language teachers. New GTAs are usually assigned to a section of Russian 1101 (Elementary Russian I), so GTA training focuses on general pedagogical training and specific skills needed for elementary language instruction. (Note, however, that teaching assignments are ultimately determined by the needs of the department, the language skills of the GTA, and other factors.)
The department requires graduate students to successfully complete the Foreign Language Graduate Teaching Associate Workshop prior to being allowed to serve as GTAs. The workshop is run by the Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Ohio State, and jointly taught by the Language Program Coordinators from all of the modern language departments. New Slavic GTAs interact with and learn alongside new GTAs from these departments. The Graduate Teaching Associate Workshop is held in the two weeks prior to the beginning of the school year.
Graduate students must also enroll in Slavic 7801 (College Teaching of Slavic and East European Languages) during the first semester that they serve as GTAs, and fulfill other training requirements. Slavic 7801 introduces GTAs to the teaching practices within the department and acquaints them with the research behind these practices. The Language Programs Coordinator teaches this course and GTAs practice teaching and giving each other feedback on a regular basis throughout the semester.
Language Programs Coordinator and the Team-Teaching Model
The Language Programs Coordinator supervises all GTA instructors assigned to language classes. GTAs teaching different sections of the same language class work closely with each other as well as with the Language Programs Coordinator. Each team of teachers meets weekly with the Coordinator to discuss teaching methods, issues, and students, as well as to plan and revise tests and quizzes. The Coordinator also conducts classroom observations of language classes, and provides guidance and feedback.
In addition to teaching classes, language teachers are expected to attend the respective language conversation tables on a regular basis and to hold office hours for three hours each week for their students.
Ongoing Professional Development
Advanced graduate students have the opportunity to teach higher level language classes, as well as undergraduate culture and literature classes under the supervision of a faculty member.
Ongoing opportunities for GTAs (and faculty and lecturers) to develop their teaching skills are available through the department, the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT), and the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW).