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UZH Journal

Start! Teaching Assistant Qualification Program@UZH

The professional training program, offered by the Center for University Teaching and Learning, equips students who are interested in teaching – for example in becoming a teaching assistant – with basic teaching skills as well as specific soft skills, such as giving presentations, using digital technologies in teaching, and developing transdisciplinary approaches and critical thinking. “These sorts of transdisciplinary skills are set to become more important for graduates of all disciplines in future,” says Stefan A. Keller from the Center for University Teaching and Learning. Those who master these ‘future skills’ will also be able to interact effectively in an increasingly interconnected world, make critical decisions, analyze and solve problems, and cope with new situations.” This is reflected in the current coronavirus crisis, which has placed very special demands on the digital skills of teachers and students, and called for creative solutions.
The didactic training program offered via the OLAT learning platform is modular and comprises four basic modules that can be supplemented by various consolidation modules (e.g. using play in lessons). The prospective teaching assistants also participate in compulsory online meetings. As Stefan Keller explains, the idea behind this is that students learn from each other through mutual feedback, so they present their own designs for lesson scenarios and ideas for the use of digital instruments in tutorials, and then rate each other. The interdisciplinary exchange also aims to achieve another learning effect: Familiarizing students with the very different teaching principles and methods depending on the subject. “We want to consolidate these transdisciplinary approaches in the virtual meetings, and together think about how, for example, you could integrate discursive elements in a chemistry class, and more practical work in a seminar on German language and literature.”