A Transdisciplinary Approach to International Teaching Assistants Perspectives from Applied Linguistics Edited by: Stephen Daniel Looney, Shereen Bhalla

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26 Sep 2019
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


North American universities depend on international teaching assistants (ITAs) as a substantial part of the teaching labor force, which has led to the idea of an ‘ITA problem’, a deficiency model which is framed as a divergence between ITAs’ linguistic competence and undergraduates’ and their parents’ expectations. This outdated positioning of ITAs as deficient diminishes the invaluable role they play within the academy. This book argues instead for an approach to ITA which recognizes them as multilingual, skilled, migrant professionals who participate in and are discursively constructed through various participant frameworks, modalities and activities. The chapters in this volume offer state-of-the-art research into ITA using a variety of methods and approaches, and as such constitute a transdisciplinary perspective which argues for the importance of dialogue between research and practice.


Based on leading-edge research and current practices from a wide range of well-respected researchers, this transformative book is a must-read if we want to move from the ‘ITA problem’ to a 21st century multidisciplinary perspective where ITAs are truly valued. Having read the book, I’m encouraging everyone I know involved in ITA preparation to read and discuss it.

- Colleen Meyers, University of Minnesota, USA

I value this book for shifting the discourse on the 'ITA problem' to 'ITA resource'. The authors insightfully draw from transdisciplinary research approaches to expand the orientation from purported grammatical deviations to social interactions, identity negotiations, and cultural resources that demonstrate the creativity and complexity of ITAs. This book is bound to change the conversation on ITAs for years to come.

- Suresh Canagarajah, Pennsylvania State University, USA

Author Biography:

Stephen Daniel Looney is an Associate Teaching Professor in Applied Linguistics and Director of the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Program in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. His research analyzes teacher-student interaction in university classrooms. He is coeditor of The Embodied Work of Teaching (Multilingual Matters, 2019) and has recent publications in Journal of Pragmatics and Linguistics and Education.

Shereen Bhalla is the Director of Education at the Hindu American Foundation, Washington, DC, USA. Prior to joining HAF, she was the Online Manager at the Center for Applied Linguistics and has over ten years of experience teaching both English learners as well as pre-and in-service educators on how to best meet the needs of their students. Her research focuses on identity construction within the South Asian community as well as the Three Language Formula and the role of Indian English.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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