A Transdisciplinary Approach to International Teaching Assistants: Perspectives from Applied Linguistics

Edited by: Stephen Daniel Looney, Shereen Bhalla

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Multilingual Matters
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234mm x 156mm

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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 This outdated positioning of ITAs as deficient diminishes the invaluable role they play within the academy.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

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.

Chapter 1. Stephen Daniel Looney and Shereen Bhalla: Introduction: A Transdisciplinary Approach to ITA

Chapter 2. Lucy Pickering: The Role of Intonation in the Production and Perception of ITA Discourse

Chapter 3. Stephen Daniel Looney: Co-operative Action: Addressing Misunderstanding and Displaying Uncertainty in the Undergraduate Physics Lab

Chapter 4. Shiao-Yun Chiang: Instructional Authority and Instructional Discourse

Chapter 5. Okim Kang and Meghan Moran: Enhancing Communication between ITAs and U.S. Undergraduate Students

Chapter 6. Jing Wei: Examining Rater Bias in Scoring World Englishes Speakers Using a Transdisciplinary Approach: Implications for Assessing International Teaching Assistants           

Chapter 7. Shereen Bhalla: A Community of Practice Approach to Understanding the ITA Experience

Chapter 8. Linda Harklau and James Coda: Situating ITAs in Higher Education and Immigration Policy Studies

Chapter 9. Greta Gorsuch: Using Course Logic to Describe Outcomes and Instruction for an ITA Course 

Chapter 10. Stephen Daniel Looney: Conclusion - Five Imperatives for ITA Programs and Practitioners

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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