Department GTA Support: Mathematics

Posted in: Case Studies

This case study from Mathematical Sciences, is part of a series providing short summaries of some of the different good practice models and approaches taken to department level support for graduate teaching assistants (GTAs).

The Department of Mathematical Sciences has a long running internal programme for the training and development of very large numbers of postgraduate as maths tutors, set up and taught by Geoff Smith.

1. September (and January if necessary): one day in-house induction covering (inter alia)

  1. Housekeeping aspects of tutorials.
  2. Policy on purpose of tutorials.
  3. Marking and feedback to undergraduate students.
  4. Exposition technique, and the use of the board, chalk/pen and voice.
  5. How to report students who are losing their way.
  6. How to prepare for a tutorial.
  7. Keeping an appropriate social distance from first year undergraduates.
  8. How to get paid.
  9. Many maths postgraduate students have an international background. We discuss the traditions and expectations UK universities (which can be very different from overseas institutions).

2. Observations: all tutors are observed by a members of staff every year. A record is made of any clear development needs of the tutor and action taken. A confidential report is also given to the tutor which can therefore be very frank.

3. Undergraduate students fill in feedback forms concerning the quality of their tutorials. Action is taken when there is a significant problem.

If you would like more information, contact the Directors of Studies/Teaching in the department. Support for setting up or reviewing your own department’s support for GTAs, along with further information on the University level support and development and can be obtained from the Centre for Learning and Teaching (contact

Posted in: Case Studies