Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Megan Grunert

Second Advisor

Dr. Steven Bertman

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherine Obare


GTAs, discourse, PBL, constructivism, teaching practice

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) commonly function as instructors within undergraduate chemistry laboratories. This study sought to explore and describe GTA classroom discourse within two distinct instructional modes, using discourse analysis as the theoretical framework. Theclassroom discourse within a series of verification style labs was comparedto the classroom discourse produced within a set of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) labs. The results suggest three primary findings: (1) the apparent relationship between the instructional mode and form of GTA classroom discourse, (2) the patterns in classroom discourse observed within a given instructional mode repeat, irrespective of content, and (3) the classroom discourse observed within the PBL labs exemplified a constructivist learning environment. The findings of this study maybe used to guide stakeholders in generating discovery-driven and learner-centered classrooms where GTAs serve as instructors.