Cues, emotions and experiences: How teaching assistants make decisions about teaching

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Scholars of teaching and learning have increasingly acknowledged the significance of attending to the experiences and development of undergraduate and graduate student teaching assistants (TAs). The present study aims to contribute to this growing body of research by exploring the ways in which TAs at one Canadian university make decisions during and about their teaching. Drawing on data from semi-structured interviews, which were supported and supplemented by audio-recordings and observations of participants’ teaching wherever possible, we consider what cues, factors, experiences and relationships shape and inform TAs’ thinking and actions as educators, as well as how these junior instructors experience the process of making decisions while teaching. Ultimately, the findings suggest the need for more sustained attention to both the immediate, concrete processes of teaching in university classrooms and the affective components of this work, laying the groundwork for new branches of research and development focused on early-career educators in higher education.


  • Elizabeth Marquis
  • Breagh Cheng
  • Mythili Nair
  • Alan Santinele Martino
  • Torgny Roxå
External organisations
  • McMaster University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pedagogical Work


  • emotion, graduate student development, pedagogical decision-making, teacher noticing, Teaching assistant development, zones of thinking
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number1
Early online date2018 Jan 1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch