Communicative Competence in Classroom: The Experiences of International Teaching Assistance

Creative Commons License

Bengü E.

Eğitim Yayınevi, Konya, 2022

  • Publication Type: Book / Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Publisher: Eğitim Yayınevi
  • City: Konya


Both ITAs and NTAs are “simply left to their own ‘sink or swim’ devices, hardly, a reasonable or humane convention, yet common place” (de Berly, 1995, p.9). However, institutions have recently put more effort into training programs, usually limited to and focused on basic issues, such as syllabus design, use of technological tools such as Blackboard, and effective grading practices (Shannon et al., 1998). In that sense, ITA training programs parallel NTA training regarding their failure to address the culture of higher educational institutions, pedagogical techniques, and classroom management (Gorsuch, 2003; Smith et al., 1992; Twale et al., 1997), and most importantly for the ITA training, blind spots of undergraduate student culture in the United States.

Nevertheless, ITAs do have issues distinct from those of native-born TAs, as they are generally less proficient in the language of instruction and less familiar with American culture, in general, and American academic culture, in particular. Therefore, they are often not acquainted with the types of behavior they may encounter in the classes they teach. Thus, ITA training efforts should be expanded, and, in order to help them to understand this new academic role, ITAs need evaluation and instruction in three basic areas: language skills, teaching skills, and academic and student culture (Civikly & Muchisky, 1991; Constantinides, 1987; Ford et al., 1991; Hoekje & Williams, 1994; C. Myers, 1994; S. A. Myers, 1994; Schneider & Stevens, 1987; Sequeira & Costantino, 1989; Smith, 1994).

The data that I used in this book was collected from University of Cincinnati (UC), where approximately 450 international graduate students enrolled for the Fall quarter of the 2008 academic year (UC, 2008). While pursuing their education, most of these international students who received a graduate assistantship devoted their effort to a combined program of formal study as well as their assigned duties of teaching, research, or administrative service (UC, 20202). Those with teaching duties are called teaching assistants (TAs) (UC, 2020).