Rationale: This activity gives TAs a chance to incorporate what they are learning about teaching into actual teaching practice. It is an opportunity for TAs to see themselves in their teaching role as students see them. It encourages TAs to engage in self-evaluation of their teaching and to use their peers as a source of feedback when working to improve their teaching. The activity is suitable for an extended TA orientation day, for ongoing TA training programs, or for advanced intensive TA workshops.
Method: Usually TAs are divided into groups of about 4 persons. During each microteach, TAs take turns giving a 10 minute presentation to the other members of the microteach group, who act as their students. TAs may use any teaching format they like, eg. small group work, demonstration, explanation or lecture etc. Each microteach presentation is videotaped by a member of the group. After all members of the group have given their presentations, the videotaped presentations are each reviewed in turn by the group. The group provides feedback to each presenter, helping one another other to identify strengths in their presentations and providing suggestions for areas in which they might improve.
Notes. It is best if the facilitator models the entire procedure prior to asking the TAs to engage in the task -- in other words, videotape an instructional segment, then review the videotape and ask the group to critique the teaching.
Also, if possible, the opportunity to do more than one videotaped microteach session should be provided for TAs. After TAs have been through the procedure once, they feel more comfortable and are better able to benefit from this opportunity to "practice teach".
It's a good idea to discuss the basic principles of effective feedback prior to conducting the microteaching activity. For example:
Helpful feedback is:
Each presenter should be given the opportunity to comment on their own performance and to indicate areas they would like feedback on before the group proceeds to provide feedback.
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Last updated June 24, 1997
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