Teaching & Learning


Supporting others who teach and support learning at UCL, 22 March ( f2f)

22 March 2023, 1:00 pm–4:00 pm

Staff in groups working together

This symposium is aimed at all staff who support others who teach and support learning at UCL. It will bring together likeminded people from different disciplines, departments and faculties to create a space for sharing examples and stories of good practice.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff






UCL Arena Centre


UCL Careers seminar room
4th Floor, Room 413
40 Bernard Street
United Kingdom

 Wednesday 22 March, 1pm-4pm 

Arena will host a symposium centred on supporting others who teach and support learning at UCL. These ‘others who teach’ include Teaching Assistants, Post-Graduates with teaching responsibilities, adjunct, associate and junior lecturers, guests and outside speakers. 

Across UCL there are a great many individuals involved in such teaching support and development work – Module Leaders, Programme Directors, Professional Services teams and Educational Leaders - putting in place innovative practices and processes to help foster growth in the teaching staff with whom they work.  

The symposium will cover examples of support around:

  • Preparing for teaching. 
  • Preparing for marking.  
  • Further support and development.
  • Process management and organisation.
  • Wellbeing and pastoral care. 
  • Performance management. 


At the workshop

There will be three ‘themed’ sessions, each containing 2-4 10minute back-to-back talks. Following the presentations, there will be time for discussion around commonalities, insights and questions for each theme. 

13.00-14.00 - Managing Teaching Teams
  1. Menelaos Pavlou & Matina Rassias (Department of Statistical Science) 
  2. Sarah Warnes (School of Management)
  3. Peter Puxon (Centre for Languages and International Education)
  4. Silvie Cooper (Applied Health Research) 
  5. Discussion
14.15-14.45 - Developing feedback and marking practices
  1. Stefano Rossoni (SELCS)
  2. Kate Schobbrook (Psychology and Language Sciences)
  3. Discussion
15.00-16.00 - Building learning communities
  1. JP Salter (School of Public Policy)
  2. Jon Chandler (History) 
  3. Lorenzzo Lotti (BSEER) 
  4. Discussion 

By attending this workshop you will:

  •  Critically reflect on your own approaches to supporting others who teach and support learning in your local context 
  • Use different strategies to support others
  • Network with others in similar roles.

About the talks


Reflecting on a 10-year journey of mentoring PGTAs in a quantitative discipline 

Menelaos Pavlou and Matina Rassias | Department of Statistical Science
The post of the Mentor for the Postgraduate Teaching Assistants (PGTAs) was introduced in the Department of Statistical Science, in UCL, back in the academic year 2013-2014. Since then, we have strived to lead, motivate and support the PGTAs in their first steps into academic teaching. We also attempted to contribute to their development and growth within the discipline of Statistics and beyond, within the department and when appropriate beyond the department and the institution. Reflecting on this 10-year journey we would like to share our experience and discuss with colleagues about the challenges, the benefits and various outcomes achieved. We also reflect on lessons learned and further ideas and plans on: 

Establishing a mentoring scheme for PGTAs for quantitative disciplines 

  • Preparing novice instructors for teaching  
  • Preparing novice instructors for marking and feedback provision 
Supporting TAs through the term (overview)  - Working Together - Collaboration is Key   

Sarah Warnes | School of Management 

I would like to share my experiences of working with TAs since joining UCL and the SoM in 2013. I propose presenting a timeline which will show how I and my TAs work together as a team before the module starts, during the module and at the end of the module. 

Supporting TAs through the term 

Peter Puxon and Peter Bratby | Centre for Languages and International Education     

Supporting PGTAs in module planning, workshop design and pedagogical development. In this talk we will share our experiences of supporting PGTAs on a 3rd Year Literature Review module on the BSc Natural Sciences programme. We will discuss how we collaborated with the PGTAs to plan the content of the module based on principles which we all thought were important. We will also share how we worked together to provide ongoing pedagogical support.

Collaborating effectively across diverse teaching teams for short courses  

Silvie Cooper | Applied Health Research 
Continuous professional development teaching is often outside the core remit of university education and requires input from different groups of tutors and support staff to deliver effective teaching materials and experience in short courses   
Teaching teams may be made up of staff at different levels (administrative or professional services, early career research staff and senior academic staff, for instance) and often involves engagement with external stakeholders (people working in different practice settings or across various academic institutions). Creating common ground and shared expectations for teaching design and delivery is therefore important in this type of teaching  
Providing coordination for short course development through quality assurance processes and mentorship can support diverse teaching teams to successfully work together   
Mentorship in orientating colleagues to specific teaching approaches aligned with the “Connected curriculum” (Fung, 2017), with planning and communication being key skills that enable people supervising teaching design and delivery to bring teams together 

Training PGTAs for formative feedback and second marking

Stefano Rossoni SELCS  

This talk examines how we trained PGTAs to give formative feedback to students’ written tasks and to second mark. In addition to improving our students’ learning experience, rethinking formative assessment on our MA programme represented an opportunity to better support our PGTAs. We trained the PGTAs on how to provide formative feedback. We held a first meeting in which we shared our principle of good feedback and examples from previous years. We then revised the PGTAs' comments to the students and gave the PGTAs our feedback on their work. We also advised them on the action plans to agree with the students who got in touch with them after receiving their feedback. This experience was crucial to build the PGTAs’ confidence and help them deal with second marking. We then trained them on the criteria and principles of sample second marking to foster their autonomy. 
The talk focuses on the following aspects:  

  • Rethinking formative assessment  
  • Preparing the PGTAs for formative assessment and sample second marking  
  • How to share principles of good feedback and give feedback to PGTAs 
Training TAs – marking and feedback

Kate Shobbrook Psychology and Language Sciences     

Consistency in marking and the provision of good quality feedback are two areas that are highly valued by students.  On the MSc Speech and Language Sciences, we support staff to provide these through the following principles:
Time spent at the beginning pays off 
We typically have three markers per assignment, one of whom is the module coordinator (MC).  When work is submitted, we identify two or three assignments which everybody marks.  We then have a meeting to discuss these marks, how we interpreted the marking criteria and the qualitative comments we would provide.  We agree how we will provide feedback, such as format and wording.  
Sharing information supports the team of markers
We have a Teams channel for each assignment for relevant paperwork.  Within this is a ‘bank of comments’ where markers paste feedback they find themselves frequently writing.  Other markers can see these and use/adapt them for their own marking.  Markers keep in contact via email and discuss any problematic assignments or decisions in certain areas.
Communication between MC and markers contributes to quality teaching 
At end of the process, markers email a summary of key features of strong and weaker answers to the MC.  This helps us to see how learning from lectures is reflected in assessment and any changes necessary for future years.  Summaries from markers are compiled and shared with students when assignments are returned.

Building Learning Communities and Raising the bar    

J-P Salter  | School of Public Policy     

In the Department of Political Science I run two ‘teach-ins’ a term for staff. These are not information sessions (as in: “Here’s a presentation about the Dept’s policy on attendance”), but rather open fora where colleagues can get together and discuss pedagogy. They’re open to the entire Department, very well attended, and so far this year we’ve discussed: 

  1. Assessment and feedback: what students want vs. what they need; how to scaffold assessments through the teaching weeks; what we could do to shake up assessment format, etc. 
  2. Dissertation supervision: bringing students into a community of scholarly practice; coaching vs guiding vs mentoring vs instructing; etc. 
  3. PolSci vs ChatGPT: whether we think students will use it, and why we think so; what that tells us about what we think of our students and their motivations (/ morals!); what we could / should / can do about it/ 

These are great sessions. Everyone shares insights (seasoned colleagues; those on the teaching track with specialist knowledge of pedagogy; those with experience teaching in other universities) and everyone learns from everyone. They prompt deep thought on what we teach and how we teach it, and often changes in practice in various pockets of the Department’s teaching.

Developing a community: when the (research) student becomes the teacher: creating a community of practice among postgrads who teach 

Jon Chandler | History   

  • In this session I will discuss our attempt to create a developmental community of practice among our postgrads who teach in UCL History. I have attempted to develop a dynamic environment where postgrads who teach are supported and support each other as they develop from novice to experienced teachers.  
  • I will discuss the structures that we have put in place to foster this community including pre-application support; initial and ongoing training; peer observation and peer dialogue; and opportunities for further professional development. 
  • I will also discuss some of the challenges which arise mainly from the competing demands on postgrads who teach, who are expected to be simultaneously research students, teaching staff, and academic interns. 
Developing a Community

Lorenzo Lotti | BSEER 
As Deputy Director of Education for BSEER, I launched this year SHEI (Sustainability and Higher Education Initiative), which does a lot of external events (we have an open-to-public dissertation event in a few days, and we are writing a book for Springer with colleagues and students from many different countries and universities) trying to connect colleagues, sustainability community, students and alumni, but we also run internal training activities on teaching and I believe I could present on that! 
A few examples: 

  • back some months ago, in November, we ran an experiment making colleagues mark an AI-generated essay. This has been recorded so happy to share the recordings with Arena, even if now with ChatGPT the discussion moved forward quite a lot.  
  • we hired a theatre and movies actress and coach to work with PGTAs and lecturers on public speaking, it has been an amazing session really.  
  • next seminars will discuss activities we performed in the department: new peer dialogue strategy, new guidelines on groups work assessments, best practices on CMD, and a project with UCL careers to support BAME postgraduate students' careers  

The initiative per se is worth to be discussed I believe, but I can just focus on one of these aspects, eg AI experiment or the public speaking training! 

Who should attend

All staff who support others who teach and support learning