Moving towards democratic classrooms for the students at the University of Toronto

2012 IJRSET – Volume 1 Issue 2


Rouf, Kazi Abdur*
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto (


The Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI), University of Toronto (UT) has been organizing teaching assistance teaching sessions called “Teaching Assistants Training Program” (TATP) for the Teaching Assistants and the Course Instructors of the UT in the Roberts Library since 2002 for the promotion of democratic classroom learning to UT students. The UT Scarborough campus and UT Mississauga campus also facilitate some teaching learning workshops for TAs and for course instructors too. The idea behind this TAs teaching training program is to prepare TAs and students to be democratic in their practices of teachings and learning. As well to facilitate peer teaching and peer learning process among students. In fall 2011, CTSI facilitated seventeen workshops for UT graduate students and Teaching Assistants (TAs). The author attended eleven of them. Both TAs and graduate students of UT attended CTSI workshops from September 2011 to November 2011. Average numbers of participants were 30. This presents the basis of the author’s personal experiences that he gathered from the TATP workshops, classrooms experiences from different universities (York University and UT) and literature review on teaching learning. TATP workshops discussions and exercises were in the form of group conversations and dialogue among workshop facilitators and workshop participants for collaborative learning among them, TA and the graduate students. The author gained democratic effective teaching techniques from these workshops sessions. The democratic discussions and exercises in the sessions led to TAs and graduate students’ mutual growth, appreciation, deliberation, hope and autonomy. The author found many mature students, TAs (aged more than 45 years) and students with physical disabilities that attended these workshops had different learning styles than the younger students. Hence CTSI could include sessions on adult learning teaching strategies for older adult students and students with disabilities. Moreover, CTSI could include follow up on post-workshop TA performance in the classrooms.

Keywords: democratic classrooms; effective lesson planning; microteaching; peer teaching



*Corresponding Author