The Learning Assistant Program at UNG
What are LAs?
Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who are hired to support student learning through research-validated teaching and learning pedagogical techniques.
What do LAs do?
- Support students in various aspects of a course including lecture, tutoring sessions, labs, and office hours.
- Collaborate in weekly meetings with faculty and instructional team members
- Prepare independently for student interactions
LAs work with their Lead Faculty to transform courses by creating environments in which students can interact with one another, engage in collaborative problem solving, articulate and defend their ideas, and explicitly discuss aspects of the nature of teaching and learning within their specific disciplines.
An LA’s Experience
Learning Assistants engage in three main activities as part of the LA Model: Weekly Preparation meeting (Plan with faculty), Pedagogy Course (learn and reflect on effective pedagogy), and Practice (work with and support students in the classroom).
LAs meet with their coordinators and/or faculty as a team at least once per week to prepare for future classes, develop deeper content understanding, explore specific pedagogical content knowledge, and exchange information about how students are progressing in the course
The pedagogy course introduces LAs to educational research, active learning, and strategies that support: (1) eliciting student ideas and helping all group members become active and engaged in the class; (2) listening and questioning; (3) building relationships; and (4) integrating learning theories with effective practices.
Learning Assistants interact with students by facilitating discussions about conceptual problems within the discipline. LAs focus mainly on eliciting student thinking and helping each student participate in developing a shared understanding.
Being an LA has helped me to see myself not just as a student, but as a member of an ecosystem where people work together to make things happen. This expanded sense of agency has been more valuable than anything I’ve gained in a class.
Jonathan Hopkins, PHYS 1111L/2211L LA, 2021
I feel like the experience I have gotten from being an LA is going to stay with me for the rest of my life. The ability to help someone understand something is definitely a skill that needs to be honed, and I am glad I had the chance to do that.
Sophia Story, ASTR 1010L LA, 2021
I’d encourage anyone to LA because it is very rewarding because you are able to help students learn. I have been able to sharpen my teaching skills that I know I will use in the future!
Ben Kronz, PHYS 2212 LA, 2021
I’ve been offered three part-time teaching jobs because of my experience as an LA. More importantly, I’ve learned more about myself, my peers, my career, and how to foster intellectual and personal growth with everything I do.
Lani Chastain, PHYS 3710 LA, 2021
Being an LA has helped me mature in different aspects of learning, teaching, and interacting with other students. It truly is an opportunity to grow in a new different way within the traditional classroom.
Ikechukwu Obi-Okoye, ENGR 1000 LA, 2021
Being an LA has not only helped me to teach my subject of interest, but it also deepens my own understanding of the subject.
Katie Foodman, ASTR 1010L LA, 2022