Penn Graduate Student Center

Navigating the Classroom

About Navigating the Classroom

Navigating the Classroom seeks to help graduate teaching assistants be successful in the classroom through workshops and resources. This program is cosponsored by Penn Graduate Student Center and GAPSA.

The Center for Teaching and Learning and the Library offer extensive programming to assist graduate student teachers in the classroom.

Teaching Workshops

Center for Teaching and Learning and the Graduate Student Center co-sponsor a series of workshops for graduate students, especially TAs, who are interested in learning and improving their teaching skills.

Teaching with Objects

Monday, March 30, 2015, 11:30 AM - 01:00 PM
Room 305 (3rd Floor)

Objects can liven up a classroom. They can turn abstract discussions concrete, elicit new forms of student participation, and energize new modes of learning and engagement. In this workshop, we'll explore ways to use objects to reach your own teaching goals and get students excited about your field. We'll discuss types of objects that can be used in teaching, precious or quotidian, as well as which types of objects are best used in what ways to reach specific pedagogical goals. We'll have a person from the Penn Museum who, drawing from her own experience, will help guide our discussion. Led by Phil Webster.

Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map: Teaching With Maps

Thursday, April 02, 2015, 03:30 PM - 05:00 PM
Conference Room (2nd Floor)

Mapmaking challenges students to examine information differently, possibly revealing patterns or trends in information and texts that are not always noticeable at first glance. In the session, participants will discuss how to present and engage students with course content in spatial ways. This workshop welcomes students from disciplines like Earth and Environmental Science, that lend themselves easily to mapmaking, as well as other disciplines like English, where mapmaking has recently become an important classroom tool. In all cases, participants will consider several mapmaking applications (including those available at Penn and others that are freely accessible online) to discover how to design a useful mapmaking assignment, and create a map of their own. Led by Ben Chrisinger.

CTL Mini-Course: Evidence-Based Teaching
Show dates

This four-meeting mini course is designed to give graduate students and post-docs an introduction to research applicable to student learning which may be translated into concrete teaching strategies across the disciplines.  As a group, we will read Susan Ambrose et al., How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (2010), which is available as an e-book through Franklin.  For the seminar to work, participants need to commit to doing this reading. CTL will offer one section in the Spring of 2015 on Mondays from 5:00 to 7:00. The seminar will meet April 6, 13, 20 and 27.

To register or for more information contact Ian Petrie. ***Please note that registering here does not automatically get you into the course--it simply forwards your email to Ian.***

Apply Now!

Help Lead TA Training - $1500 stipend!

Every year the Center for Teaching and Learning asks experienced TAs to apply to help train new TAs. The Center needs students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities to lead new TAs in workshops such as:

  • Grading in the Humanities and Qualitative Social Sciences
  • Grading in the Sciences, Engineering and Quantitative Social Sciences
  • Leading Discussions in the Humanities
  • Leading Discussion in the Sciences and Quantitative Social Sciences
  • Teaching Problem-Solving Sessions in Engineering
  • Teaching Problem-Solving Recitations in the Sciences and Quantitative Social Sciences
  • Being an Effective Lab TA

Trainers will prepare to train other TAs by participating in several day-long workshops. Applicants should expect to be available for three days in May and must be available during the entire week of August 17-August 21. They will receive a $1,500 stipend.

You can find a copy of the application here:

Applications (which should include the applicant’s CV) are due Friday February 20th. You may send completed applications electronically to

If you have questions about TA training contact Stan Najmr at or SaraEllen Strongman at

Common Room Hours

Monday-Thursday: 9AM-8PM Friday: 9AM-6PM Weekends: 12 NOON-6PM

Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221