Exploring STEM Teaching Assistants’ Self-Efficacy and Its Relation to Approaches to Teaching

Cody R. Smith, Deepika Menon, Annette Wierzbicki, Jenny M. Dauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants (TAs) play large roles in introductory undergraduate education despite having little to no teaching experience or professional development (PD). Self-efficacy and teaching approach have each been studied as inde-pendent variables that impact teaching performance and student learning in the absence of practiced skill or developed knowledge. This study explored relationships between TAs’ teaching approaches and teaching self-efficacy. Self-efficacy was measured using the Graduate Teaching Self-Efficacy Scale (GTA-TSES), and teaching approach was measured using the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI). The following research ques-tions guided the study: What is the relationship between TAs’ approaches to teaching and their self-efficacy? How do approaches to teaching and self-efficacy interact to impact the model of TA self-efficacy? Both ATI subscales correlated strongly with the GTA-TSES learning environment subscale and weakly with the instructional strategy subscale. High self-efficacy TAs demonstrated more concern with impacting student learning, which may contribute to a more student-centered teaching approach. Results indicate that TAs with more confidence in their teaching ability may have a more student-centered approach than teacher-centered approach to teaching. Implications include enhancing TA PD with peer mentoring, constructive feedback, and reflection and incorporating learning concerns in the model of TA teacher efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberar6
JournalCBE Life Sciences Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring STEM Teaching Assistants’ Self-Efficacy and Its Relation to Approaches to Teaching'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this