Utilising graduate teaching assistants to implement active learning at university level

David Read, Stephen Michael Barnes, Charles Kenneth Harrison, Rachel Koramoah, Iveta Ivanova


Active learning is recognised as a crucial component of university courses in enhancing performance and retention. However, universities face numerous challenges in broadening the provision of active learning, including time constraints, and a lack of staff training and confidence to develop appropriate activities.  This article outlines an approach taken at the University of Southampton to engage a team of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in the process of developing, delivering, and evaluating active learning resources to support small-group teaching in chemistry on a Science Foundation Year programme.  A team of four GTAs developed nine activities during the 2015/16 academic year, with evaluation supporting their enhancement for 2016/17.  The article outlines the progress of this work over two academic years, providing evidence of a positive impact on students and teachers alike.

Keywords: Active learning; peer-assisted learning; GTAs


Active learning; peer assisted learning; GTAs

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New Directions in the Teaching of Natural Sciences

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