Reflections on Peer Facilitation of Graduate Teaching Assistant Training


  • Richard Bale Imperial College London
  • Hannah Moran Imperial College London



graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), peers, peer teaching, co-facilitation, teaching community


This paper outlines a recently designed programme of training for graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), focusing on peer elements embedded in the programme. In particular, we describe our approach to co-facilitation of training, with sessions facilitated by the GTA programme lead and an experienced Peer GTA. Peer GTAs have at least one year of teaching experience and are able to provide practical, contextualised and discipline-specific input, which helps to address the challenge of balancing generic and discipline-specific training in GTA programmes. We describe a small case study of co-facilitation and reflect on the benefits of this approach for new GTAs and for the Peer GTAs themselves. The paper is co-authored by the GTA programme lead and a Peer GTA, who provides first-hand reflections on her experiences.


Becker, E., Easlon, E., Potter, S., Guzman-Alvarez, A., Spear, J., Facciotti, M., Igo, M., Singer, M. & Pagliarulo, C. (2017). The effects of practice-based training on graduate teaching assistants’ classroom practices. CBE – Life Sciences Education, 16(4), 1-14.
Boman, J. (2013). Graduate student teaching development: evaluating the effectiveness of training in relation to graduate student characteristics. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 43(1), 100-114.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77-101.
Browne, J. (2010). The Browne Review: Securing a sustainable future for higher education. Retrieved 9 August, 2019, from
Chadha, D. (2015). Evaluating the impact of the graduate certificate in academic practice (GCAP) programme. International Journal for Academic Development, 20(1), 46-57.
Chadha, D. (2013). Reconceptualising and reframing graduate teaching assistant (GTA) provision for a research-intensive institution, Teaching in Higher Education, 18(2), 205-217.
Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2018) Research Methods in Education (8th ed.). Oxford: Routledge.
Dearing, R. (1997). The Dearing Report: Higher education in the learning society. Retrieved 9 August, 2019, from
Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: an activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit.
Fowler, F. J., Jr (2013). Survey Research Methods (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Higher Education Academy, Guild HE & Universities UK (2011). UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education. Retrieved on 9 August, 2019, from
Hollar, K., Carlson, V. & Spencer, P. (2000). 1 + 1 = 3: unanticipated benefits of a co-facilitation model for training teaching assistants. Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development, 7(3), 173–181.
Hopwood, N. & Stocks, C. (2008). Teaching development for doctoral students: what can we learn from activity theory? International Journal for Academic Development, 13(3), 187-198.
Meadows, K., Olsen, K., Dimitrov, N. & Dawson, D. (2015). Evaluating the differential impact of teaching assistant training programs on international graduate student teaching. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 45(3), 34-55
Nyquist, J., Abbott, R. & Wulff, D. (1989). The challenge of TA training in the 1990s. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 39: 7–14.
Park, C. (2004). The graduate teaching assistant (GTA): lessons from North American experience. Teaching in Higher Education, 9(3), 349-361.
Postareff, L., Lindblom-Ylänne, S. & Nevgi, A. (2007). The effect of pedagogical training on teaching in higher education, Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 557-571.
Rouf, K. (2012). Moving towards democratic classrooms for the students at the University of Toronto. International Journal of Research Studies in Educational Technology, 1(2), 3-15.
Savin-Baden, M. & Howell Major, C. (2013). Qualitative Research: The Essential Guide to Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.
Thapar-Bjökert, S. & Henry, M. (2004). Reassessing the research relationship: location, position and power in fieldwork accounts. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 7(5), 363-381.
Wulff, D. & Nyquist, J. (1996). Working effectively with graduate assistants. London: Sage.






Case Studies