The fourth TA orientation conference of the JI Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT-JI) was held on September 15, 2012, which aims to provide intensive training for the 51 teaching assistants who are working in the fall semester. Prof. Peisen Huang, Associate Dean for Education, Dr. Rachel Wang, Director of CLT-JI, and several JI faculty and staff members attended the conference.Prof. Peisen Huang welcomed the TAs and recognized their dedication.  He emphasized the important role of TAs as a bridge between the students and the instructors that serves a critical link in the teaching process. He inspired the TAs to be professional, responsible, and fair.
The morning sessions consisted of workshops and seminars on using the Sakai system, grading of homework and exams, and teaching the labs. TAs selected the sessions based on their job requirements and learned how to solve the problems.

Then Profs. Peisen Huang, Olivier Bauchau, David Hung, Qiang Zhang, Heinz Luegenbiehl、Kwee-Yan Teh, and Masako Iwamoto took part in the faculty & staff panel concerning “Roles and Responsibilities of the TAs.” Based on their experiences, the teachers expected the TAs to take initiative, to get involved, and to be responsible, strict, and fair. Through the exchange, the TAs learned a lot of helpful tips.

During lunch, teachers and TA’s had pleasant chats. One TA remarked that she liked this kind of free exchange, which made her more interested in becoming a TA.

The afternoon training involved team competitions in case studies of practical situations. TAs were divided into groups to tackle one of the three “sticky” scenarios, i.e., “how to meet the needs of students of different levels,” “how to organize English self-study courses,” and “what to do when students ask for higher grades.” Group members discussed, presented solutions, and debated with other groups. Four winning teams and three individual winners were selected by the judges.

Finally, Dr. Rachel Wang gave out awards to the winners of the competition and recognized the contributions of speakers and volunteers.

The TA orientation conference concluded successfully. The TAs were inspired and energized, ready to assume their important roles in the new semester. The observers from Zhejiang University commented that JI’s TA system is leading in China and is a model for other universities.