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Learning to learn: New TA preparation in computer pedagogy

Computers and Composition Volume 20, Number 3, ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


In examining graduate student teaching assistants’ (TAs’) adjustment to their first teaching experience in first-year composition (FYC) classrooms, scholars have recently noted that the experience mirrors that of their FYC students. Both groups—new TAs and new FYC students—are grappling with instantiations of Courtney Cazden’s (1988) notion of performance before competence. Specifically, both new groups work within initially uncomfortable but ultimately developmentally positive levels of ambiguity, multiplicity, and open-endedness. Because the computer classroom experience of new TAs is generally not examined, in this qualitative study several first- and second-year TAs recount, in personal narratives, some of their early personal and educational experiences with computers and recall their perceptions of their first semester teaching FYC in the computer classroom. Their voices, combined with computers-and-composition theory and learning theory, suggest that the temptation to respond to new TAs’ feelings of dissonance with more intensive computer training prior to their teaching may not ameliorate their discomfort and may, in fact, be counterproductive. After examining these new TAs’ experiences, a perspective on TA preparation for computer pedagogy, based on Etienne Wenger’s (1998) notion of communities of practice, is presented.


Duffelmeyer, B.B. (2003). Learning to learn: New TA preparation in computer pedagogy. Computers and Composition, 20(3), 295-311. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved June 8, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Computers and Composition on January 29, 2019. Computers and Composition is a publication of Elsevier.

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