Positive Working Relationships

Use communication skills to resolve conflict and provide or respond to feedback. The following resources are designed to help you construct positive working relationships with graduate student peers, undergraduate students, supervisor, mentors, and employers.

  • Teaching Assistant Training Program

    The Teaching Assistant Training Program is a hands-on, two-and-a-half- day session taught by current Teaching Assistants (TAs) and designed for new TAs embarking on their teaching careers. Learn about fair grading practices, diversity in the classroom, lecturing, and giving students feedback on written work. Choose from concurrent sessions designed to meet your specific discipline-related teaching needs such as vocal health for lecturers or using small group discussion methods in the classroom for tutorial leaders. Get real-time, hands-on teaching experience in our unique micro-teaching sessions, where you can try out your teaching skills and techniques with a small group of your peers and receive helpful, constructive feedback. At the end of the session, you’ll receive a certificate as evidence of your commitment to the development of your knowledge and skill as a teacher.

  • SGPS 9105: Collaborate for Community Impact

    The Collaborate for Community Impact course is designed to provide graduate students with the foundational knowledge to effectively collaborate with peers and community agencies to address community identified needs. Seminar topics will include foundations of community engagement, examining social inequalities and power relations, knowledge translation and mobilization, and principles of effective partnership among others. This course will also give graduate students the opportunity to experience Community Engaged Learning as a teaching pedagogy and reflect on how they can incorporate it within their professional careers. Specifically, students will be challenged to work collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team and a community partner to complete a community-based project.

  • The Language of Advanced Discussions

    Much of the discussion that takes place in classrooms, during meetings with supervisors, and in social interactions involves being able to justify why you think what you think. Articulating your opinion successfully requires a familiarity with patterns of reasoning and persuasion in English. In this program, you will learn the language for debating, managing a class discussion, and articulating your opinion. Participants will have an opportunity to apply what they have learned by facilitating a 15-minute discussion on a topic of their choice

  • The Language of Difficult Conversations

    This 8-hour program introduces international graduate students to the interpersonal and linguistic skills required to engage in difficult discussions. Participants will explore cultural differences in conflict resolution and practice strategies to engage in difficult conversations in ways that achieve positive outcomes and enhance relationships.

  • Cross-Cultural Team Communications

    Navigating, contributing and building effective teams may be the single most important skill that spans disciplines and industries in our current and diverse workplaces. In this online module, learn tools and techniques to build your awareness of multicultural team performance, navigate workplace cultural communication, and use effective conversations to deal with conflict in international and multicultural team settings.

  • Managing Project Timelines

    In this online module, you will learn strategies to reach project deadlines with less stress. Gain techniques and tools to help you create realistic project timelines and manage your time and energy. Using a customized project planning tool, you'll be reaching your project deadlines with energy and time to spare.

  • Teaching in the Canadian Classroom

    Teaching in the Canadian Classroom is a 16-hour short course designed for international graduate students who would like to explore cultural differences in the classroom and gain confidence as a teaching assistant in the Canadian academic setting. We will discuss common teaching topics, such as lesson planning, active learning, feedback, and classroom management, through a cross-cultural lens. Participants will gain hands-on experience by practicing instructional techniques in microteaching sessions where they receive constructive feedback from peers and the instructor.

  • Communication in the Canadian Classroom

    Communication in the Canadian Classroom is a 12-hour short course designed for international graduate students who would like to develop their English language skills for teaching. Workshop activities include discussions of cultural differences in the classroom, role plays involving giving feedback to students, and opportunities to practice expressing ideas concisely. Participants will develop their English communication skills in a supportive atmosphere among graduate students from a variety of disciplines and cultures.

  • Future Prof Series

    These interactive seminars for future professors and professionals provide valuable insight into teaching and career-strategies across the disciplines. The workshops in this series are constantly evolving to meet the current interests of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

  • SGPS 9500: The Theory and Practice of University Teaching

    SGPS 9500 is a graduate level credit course on teaching and learning in higher education. The goals of the course are to deepen your understanding of foundational theory and research relevant to university teaching, and to provide an opportunity for engaging in course design and facilitating student engagement. The course begins by exploring how to devise and align learning outcomes, assessments, and active learning activities. Then, over the semester, students have the chance to develop and revise a teaching philosophy statement, receive feedback on short teaching presentations, and create a comprehensive course syllabus. In small groups, students will also develop a webpage and seminar presentation on a pedagogical topic of their choice. SGPS 9500 is an interdisciplinary course, meaning that students will engage deeply with educational theory and practice alongside instructors and peers from across academic disciplines.

  • Advanced Teaching Program

    The Advanced Teaching Program (ATP) is a 20-hour short course designed for advanced graduate students who would like to develop practical teaching skills for current and future teaching roles. Topics include course design strategies, active learning, authentic assessment of student learning, and maintaining a culture of respect and community in the classroom. Participants gain hands-on experience by practicing instructional techniques in microteaching sessions where they receive constructive feedback from peers and an experienced team of instructors. Participants also design a workshop on teaching in their discipline. Graduates of the program have the opportunity to submit their capstone projects for publication in the Teaching Innovation Projects Journal.

  • TA Day: Graduate Student Conference on Teaching

    This one-day conference introduces graduate students to teaching at Western and helps prepare them for their roles as Teaching Assistants. Conference highlights include a keynote presentation by an award-winning faculty member and a panel of experienced Teaching Assistants from across the disciplines. Participants choose from a variety concurrent workshops that focus on different teaching topics including: facilitating discussions, managing difficult situations, communication strategies, and more. Graduate students also have the opportunity to hear from key campus partners including Western Libraries, the Writing Support Centre, Learning Skills Services, the Wellness Education Centre, the TA Union (PSAC Local 610), and the Society of Graduate Students.

  • Wellness Forum and Candid Conversations

    The Wellness Forum features keynote speaker Kathleen Moore, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Kathleen's dissertation focuses on graduate student mental health and barriers graduate students face in graduate school. Following Kathleen's talk, participants will work in groups and discuss graduate case scenarios led by the Ombudsperson, Equity & Human Rights Services, Wellness Education Centre, and Teaching Support Centre.