Reflective Teaching: What Instructional Assistant Reflection Can Inform Us About Transformation in Higher Education


  • Patricia Hemans University of California, San Diego
  • Maxie Gluckman University of California, San Diego
  • Lauren Ferry University of Mississippi
  • Jace Hargis NYU Shanghai


reflection, reflective teaching in higher education, transformative learning, metacognition


This study discusses the transformation and challenges of Instructional Assistants (IAs) as they engaged in a quarter long professional development (PD) course concurrent with their first teaching experience. Universities have responded to the need to prepare these future instructors for the demands of teaching in higher education in diverse ways. However, past research has not focused specifically on IAs’ perspectives on these institutional offerings of PD. This study addresses this gap in literature by carefully examining the views of IAs participating in an eight week, non-credit bearing course offered by the institutional Center for Teaching. We detail the action research case studies of three IA participants engaging in the first offering of this “Survival Skills for IAs” course. The participants engaged in multiple levels of guided reflection during the course, providing insight to their transformation, mainly as it relates to self-efficacy and sense of community with the other participants. Barriers to transformation from the perspectives of the IAs are also addressed, with implications for generating solutions to address challenges IAs face as new instructors in higher education settings.

Author Biographies

Patricia Hemans, University of California, San Diego

Ph.D. Student, Department of Education Studies

Maxie Gluckman, University of California, San Diego

Ph.D. Student, Department of Education Studies

Lauren Ferry, University of Mississippi

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

Jace Hargis, NYU Shanghai

Clinical Professor of Teaching and Director, Center for Teaching






Research Articles