Teacher Assistance Program (NIU-TAP)

NIU students working with high school and middle school teachers to make a difference in student learning

Piloted in Spring Semester of 2004

NIU-TAP PicThe college has formed informal partnerships with several school districts for the purpose of providing individualized instruction to at-risk students at both the high school and middle school levels through our Teacher Assistance Program. Our candidates in ILAS 301 serve as teacher assistants -- working with individual students and small groups of students, assisting with classroom instruction, performing administrative duties such as grading and taking attendance, tutoring students outside of class, and serving as a reference person for the students, among other possible responsibilities.

The schools benefit by having skilled and motivated NIU-CLAS teaching candidates assisting their teachers and students, and our teaching candidates benefit by getting significant hands-on experience and working with diverse student populations.

NIU students who are majoring in English, math, physical or biological sciences, foreign languages, and social sciences are paired up with teachers in their subject area to provide classroom assistance and to give individual attention to students who are struggling with reading, writing, and/or math skills.

Teachers at partner schools are sent questionnaires before each semester asking if they would like an NIU teaching assistant. Once the responses are received, teaching candidates from ILAS 301 are paired up with cooperating teachers based upon the teachers' schedules and the students' availability.

Typical teaching activities of the NIU-TAP clinical student:

  • Work with individual students or a small group of students to reinforce materials from class, or to give assistance with homework.
  • Act as a teaching assistant to the cooperating teacher to help in the delivery of lessons
  • Assist with seat work; clarify assignments for students
  • Lead discussion groups on topics being covered in class
  • Serve as a reference person to the students
  • Help students prepare for tests
  • Perform administrative tasks such as taking attendance and grading student work