TA Conference

The 45th Annual TA Conference for 2018–19 has passed. Please join our email list to be notified of our conference for next year!

The 46th Annual TA Conference is tentatively scheduled for Mon–Tues, September 23–24, 2019. 

Each year, the Office of Instructional Development TA Training Program organizes a conference to provide pedagogical training and resource information to both new and continuing TAs. Even if you will not TA in 2019–20, you are welcome to attend the conference in preparation for future teaching assignments. Throughout the two days, you will have the opportunity to attend a variety of specialized workshops and panels on topics ranging from lesson planning and assessment & grading to preparing a teaching portfolio and improving communication in our multicultural classrooms. 

Day 1



Check out the Events page for more detailed information. 

Discussion sections are often the most rewarding part of a class. Yet, as moderators of these discussions, TAs are often terrified that they will be staring at blank faces for an hour. Participants will take home strategies for eliciting participation from reluctant students, developing procedures for stimulating thoughtful discussion, and keeping discussions going beyond the classroom. 

Lab sections are often daunting for first-time TAs due to the responsibilities associated with keeping students safe, while also teaching important conceptual and technical information. At UCLA, safety is of utmost importance, which is sometimes hard to convey to students who are taking a lab class for the first time. This workshop will provide strategies for engaging students in different lab experiments, while emphasizing the importance of responsible conduct, safe handling of chemicals, and being mindful of others in lab settings. In addition, we will discuss ways to keep students on track to ensure they finish their experiments in the time allocated for conducting labs, as well as troubleshoot what to do when experiments go awry. 

How much are your students actually learning in your classroom? In this workshop, we will discuss various assessment techniques to help you evaluate student growth. You will learn to identify appropriate ways to evaluate student knowledge and develop a system for gauging your own effectiveness in the classroom. Additionally, we will identify and generate solutions to potential problems that can arise when grade-norming with other instructors.

In this workshop, participants will discuss strategies for creating respectful class communities that will minimize instances of cheating, grade complaints, and disruptive behavior. We will address setting clear class expectations, fostering students’ sense of personal responsibility, creating a course culture that facilitates active learning and participation, and dealing with disciplinary issues. We will practice a variety of classroom management scenarios as a group, and discuss individual concerns.

A well-constructed teaching statement must draw upon your genuine, specific, and informed beliefs about education, pedagogy, and creating inclusive learning communities. In this session and writing lab, you will begin to develop a personal teaching philosophy and practice reflective methods that will help track pivotal teaching moments, in order to articulate your own approach to teaching.

This workshop will cover relevant research from psychology and education that addresses strategies to proactively set norms supportive of an inclusive classroom, and to respond to moments of friction in class. The focus of this training is intentionally broad: it will touch on inclusive pedagogical practices with respect to race/ethnicity, language, gender, religion, ideology, ability, nationality, etc. Instructors will be explicitly encouraged to reflect on how these inclusive practices can be applied inside and outside of their classes.

Join us for a panel discussion of some of the benefits and challenges to TAing as an international student. Share your experience and/or fears, ask questions, or just come to listen to learn strategies from other ITAs. This will be an unmoderated question-and-answer format. Discussion will be facilitated by experienced International TAs. 

Teaching a language for the first time can be daunting, whether you are concerned about how a non-native speaker will be received or how a native speaker can relate to the students’ cultures. In the first half hour of this workshop, you will experience a “Shock Lesson,” a demo lesson of first-day teaching in an unfamiliar language, which shows how an experienced language TA would introduce a language without speaking English. A panel of experienced language TAs will be available to share their experiences and answer your questions.

Students are often asked to communicate what they have learned in writing. But strengths and weaknesses in their writing can boost or hinder their ability to communicate what they know. During this workshop, participants will learn how to identify the writing issues to address and ignore; how to preempt plagiarism and grade complaints; how to empower students to effectively edit their own work; and how to manage their time. 

Discover how to incorporate museum resources into your teaching practice. In this presentation by the associate director of academic programs at the Hammer Museum, you will learn about the Hammer’s free resources for UCLA TAs. Participants will learn how to utilize the museum’s recently developed toolkit for college educators, which provides specific resources to help humanities TAs integrate works of art into graduate-student-developed courses and discussion sections. The workshop will provide information about how to set up class visits to the Hammer Museum and the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts.  

This workshop gives an overview of how students learn and teaching techniques that will help your students achieve their goals. Examine why material you’ve learned has stuck with you and the best ways to help your students hold onto the content you teach. We will discuss the merits of student-centered instruction and when to use it in your classrooms. Our focus will be on practical application. 

What to effectively communicate with the students in your class? Want to be more inclusive of students from diverse cultural backgrounds when you teach? Come to this workshop to learn intercultural communication skills and pedagogical tools for teaching in multicultural classrooms. Through this workshop you will learn how to identify your own communication style, develop an understanding of how dimensions of culture can impact interactions between you and your students, and build skills for approaching intercultural interactions in an academic setting effectively and appropriately. As a participant in this workshop, you will consider real life examples to help you become a more effective teaching assistant! 

Many international TAs are concerned about adapting to new classroom environments and meeting student expectations. This workshop is designed to give you strategies for preparing, organizing, and presenting your lessons in an American university setting. 

When planned with intention and care, the first day can establish a vibrant and healthy classroom culture from day one. Through a combination of exercises, discussion, and group reflection, this workshop will model ways to encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning; how to support them in taking intellectual risks; how to overcome habituated anxiety about grades; and how to tap into their innate desire to learn.

By enhancing your ability to say Chinese names correctly, TAs promote an inclusive environment for Chinese students. Hearing and pronouncing the sounds of another language can be difficult if you are learning a language that does not share many of the sounds of the language(s) in which you are fluent. This workshop is created by the Dashew Center and teaches you to hear and pronounce the sounds of Chinese names more accurately so that you can articulate them with confidence.

This workshop addresses practical issues of evaluation and time management in design, arts, and performing-arts-studio classes while also exploring issues of power in feedback or critique-focused classroom situations.  During the workshop, we will practice critical-response processes that maintain agency for the artist receiving feedback. This workshop is designed for TAs who will be teaching in arts-based contexts, particularly classes in which students make and show their own compositions. 

Teaching portfolios are a unique platform for graduate students to collect, assess, and present evidence that demonstrates teaching efficacy, even when not requested as part of an application. During this workshop, participants will learn how to structure and build a portfolio. We will practice how educators translate instructional experiences into strong portfolio entries, leading to concrete starting points for you to begin and maintain a teaching portfolio throughout your teaching career.

Need a break from pre-quarter pressures? Join a facilitator from UCLA's MoveWell for a workshop to gain a “kit” of simple strategies to ease stress and anxiety. Use these tools for self-care and to incorporate them into your sections as a TA. Learn somatic, mindful and arts-based methodologies. Stay grounded, tolerate discomfort better, and cultivate focus.

Mathematical problem-solving is a skill taught in many different subjects, including mathematics, statistics, economics, and applied sciences such as engineering. This workshop will offer suggestions for leading problem-solving lessons that help students learn to solve problems themselves, rather than the TA giving students answers. Grading, often a critical and stressful aspect of being a TA, will also be addressed, including consistent grading by multiple TAs. In this workshop, participants will practice using different approaches to grading problem sets to help remove subjectivity. 

TAs are often expected to assign and evaluate student writing.  This session will prepare TAs to help students navigate the writing process. Participants will learn methods to help clarify writing assignments and teach students how to articulate their ideas most effectively.  Topics will include how to build to a long writing project with shorter assignments, maintaining student-centered writing instructions, and dealing with plagiarism. 

Writing is a critical part of the scientific process, but in an already packed syllabus, it can seem difficult to find time to help students improve their writing. This workshop will introduce participants to strategies for integrating writing pedagogy into existing lab courses, as well as general tips for teaching scientific writing.

This panel will address some common questions regarding the academic job search for Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences PhDs and PhD candidates in today’s market. The panelists include graduate students on the job market and faculty members.

Good lesson plans mean more effective instruction that maximizes student learning. This workshop is designed to be useful to TAs in many fields. Participants will learn how to craft an effective lesson plan based on student-centered, specific, and measurable learning goals, and to revise lesson plans after teaching them so they can be used effectively in the future. This workshop will also help TAs understand how much they can cover in a section, and how to tailor lessons to students with diverse levels of experience in your discipline.

University teaching is a unique opportunity to gain and hone skills often sought by employers in a range of industries. During this interactive workshop, learn how you can make the most of your teaching experience, as a work experience. We will discuss how you approach a classroom, not only to meet your learning outcomes with students, but to also gain valuable experience that can best position you for a future career.

Being a TA can be challenging. We all have to juggle research, teaching schedules, important meetings, and our personal lives. There is no universal roadmap for how to keep all of these priorities in the air and in the right place. This workshop will guide participants as they organize their schedules for the quarter, while accounting for varyingly demanding weeks, and as they prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. Participants will learn strategies to achieve balance and identify online and campus resource to support their time management goals.

Learning about our students helps make us better instructors. This panel, composed of a diverse group of undergraduates at different stages in their college experiences, will tell us about life as UCLA undergraduates and what kinds of academic experiences have benefited them most to date.