This document is intended to provide staff and postgraduates with guidelines concerning good practice in preparing postgraduate research students for teaching roles within the School. The member of staff who is coordinating the teaching episodes in which the student is involved is responsible both for ensuring the quality of the student's input into his or her module and for ensuring the quality of the learning experience for the postgraduate student. The following are areas within SSHES that are covered by these guidelines: seminars, workshops, tutorials, lectures, practical laboratory sessions, marking and examination invigilation.



Underlying principles

The following principles are generic to all aspects of postgraduate teaching activities:

Postgraduates who are involved with activities related to teaching should be acquiring skills and contributing to the enhancement of the quality of teaching in the School.

Adequate preparation is required for all activities but the amount of preparation, and the way it is delivered, will vary as a function of the task and the individual student's previous experience.

Postgraduate students new to a task should, where possible, shadow a member of staff or experienced postgraduate student in the activity before taking responsibility for it.

The postgraduate student must be aware of the aims and objectives of the module, as well as the learning goals associated with the particular section in which he or she is involved, before the start of that involvement.

The teaching activity should always be reviewed so that the quality of the learning experience for all learners can be enhanced.

Examination invigilation

Familiarisation with the University rules governing formal examinations is essential. Postgraduates undertaking examination invigilation within the School should be supplied with the University regulations booklet and be familiar with its contents.


The following are examples of good practice which are recommended:

Discussion of the criteria for marking including, where relevant, weighting of sections of the work.

Discussion about expectations for the content of sections of the work.

Expectations about the level and content of the feedback provided for students should be explicit.

After the postgraduate student has marked some scripts the member of staff cross-moderates and any necessary adjustments are made before marking continues.

Cross-moderation involving all markers when all scripts have been marked.


Contact sessions with undergraduate or MSc students

1. Before the start of the module postgraduate teachers should:

Have an overall discussion regarding the aims and objectives, anticipated learning outcomes, content, teaching style, responsibilities and roles.

Understand the content of the module, including module readings and laboratory techniques.

Attend relevant lectures before taking a session.

Shadow the member of staff or more experienced postgraduate student.

2. During and after the module the following should occur:

Review of teaching involvement early in the module and again at the end when involvement is longer term (this a minimum. Depending on the nature of the involvement [e.g. team teaching] more frequent reviews may be necessary).

The review might involve the member of staff, a peer or a group of students and/or staff discussing relevant issues. It may involve someone sitting-in on a session with the postgraduate student, feedback about the session from students, self-assessment, discussion with a member of staff or a peer, or group reviews of a module.

Regular, planned contact between the relevant member of staff and the postgraduate student is assumed.

Supervision of projects and project proposals

It is recommended that postgraduate students who are taking some responsibility for project supervision should, whenever possible, have been involved with the undergraduate or MSc students at the proposal stage. This might involve shadowing the member of staff or taking some tutorial or group sessions with second year students. Clear definitions of what is expected at both the proposal and project stage should be discussed with the supervisor.

Other sources of support

The Academic Development Unit is responsible for running the University's Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education programme (PGCertHE) for those new to teaching or seeking the PGCertHE qualification. Workshops may be attended separately from the qualification and provide opportunities to discuss and practice teaching-related skills. It is strongly recommended that postgraduate students consider registering on the PGCertHE scheme, or at least attend relevant workshops.

Negotiating involvement

The School stipulates the expectations concerning postgraduates' contributions to the School (see Guidelines and Code of Conduct for Research Training), some of which will not fall into the category of teaching. The following are some points to note:

It is anticipated that this involvement will be negotiated between the supervisor and student, to fit in with the requirements of the higher degree study. The student must feel able to affect the nature and timing of the activities which he or she is asked to undertake.

Particularly in the first year of study it is important to ensure that students do not feel overburdened with teaching responsibilities to the detriment of their studies.

As far as possible all teaching involvement should be planned at the beginning of the academic year to ensure that is appropriately timed and anticipated. A heavy burden in one semester is likely to be undesirable.

If a student feels that he or she is not able to fulfill the requirements of the teaching role or is not receiving support or is overburdened then he or she should discuss the matter first with the supervisor or teaching advisor and then, if there is no satisfactory resolution of the problem, the Director of Research Training.

David Markland PhD C.Psychol
School of Sport Health & Exercise Sciences
Bangor University
George Building, Holyhead Road,
Bangor, Gwynedd, U.K. LL57 2PX.
Tel: (44) (0) 1248 382756 E-mail:

Author: David Markland Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 14:04