TA Training

For TAs new to teaching at Penn and for TAs working as part of teams in new types of instruction, CTL offers several different training programs.

TA Training for New TAs

From Wednesday August 24 to Friday August 26, 2022 new TAs in Arts and Sciences, Design, Nursing, Annenberg, Wharton and Engineering will participate in a three-day set of workshops on teaching and learning. Workshop topics include:

  • Leading Discussions in the Humanities and Qualitative Social Sciences
  • Grading in the Humanities and Qualitative Social Sciences
  • Grading in the Sciences, Quantitative Social Sciences and Engineering
  • Leading Problem-solving Recitations in the Sciences, Quantitative Social Sciences & Engineering
  • Leading Effective Lab Sessions in the Sciences and Engineering
  • Teaching Demonstrations
  • Challenges Facing TAs

More information about workshops

Apply to be a TA Trainer

Do you enjoy teaching? Would you like to help prepare your peers to enter the classroom next fall?

Every year the Center for Teaching and Learning asks experienced TAs to apply to help train new TAs. For 2022CTL needs doctoral students in the social sciences, sciences, and engineering to lead new TAs in workshops and facilitate teaching demonstrations and small-group discussions of scenarios. Because of the graduate admissions freeze in SAS in 2021, we are not hiring trainers for the Leading Discussions in the Humanities & Qualitative Social Sciences or the Grading in the Humanities & Qualitative Social Sciences workshops.

Trainers will prepare to train other TAs by participating in several day-long workshops. Applicants should expect to be available for three full days in May (dates to be determined by trainer schedules) and must be available 8:30am-5pm during the entire week of August 22-August 26, 2022. They will receive a $1,600 stipend. 

To apply please complete this form by 5pm on Friday, February 18. Questions? Contact Ian Petrie.

SAIL TA Training

For TAs working in Structured, Active, In-class Learning (SAIL) classes, CTL offers a SAIL-specific training program. This five-session program focuses on the following themes, as well as other issues that arise from TA’s experiences during the semester:

  • Managing group dynamics
  • Giving feedback to students
  • Guiding students through questions, including reformulating students’ questions so students can answer them
  • Breaking concepts and confusion into pieces so that students can address them in a step-by-step process
  • Preparing for an active learning class
  • Encouraging student preparation


Over the semester these themes will develop through the following sessions and activities:

  • Session 1 (shortly before classes start) – Introduction to TAing in a highly structured, highly active classroom.
  • Session 2A (first week of classes) – Practice guiding students in groups through virtual role playing.
  • Session 2B (first week of February) - Practice guiding students in groups through in-person role playing.
  • Individual observation (~weeks 2-5 of the semester) – Consists of a pre-observation meeting, an in-class recording and observation, and a post-observation meeting.
  • Session 3 (~week 5 of the semester) – Debrief on how things are going. What is difficult? What has been unexpected? What has gone particularly well?
  • Session 4 (end of the semester) – Debrief on how things have gone over the semester. Consider how participants will use this experience in the future.

For more details about this training, contact Cait Kirby.

To sign up for this training, fill out this form.

To read more about what the justification for this training read this paper.