ERIC Number: ED360653
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Oral English Proficiency Requirements for ITAs in U.S. Colleges and Universities: An Issue in Speech Communication.
Dick, Robert C.; Robinson, Brenda M.
Significant progress has been made to enhance the oral English proficiency of International Teaching Assistants (ITAs), with the greatest strides being made in the linguistic aspects but little attention being paid to cultural communication and pedagogical dimensions. A survey of ITAs in the chemistry, mathematics, and physics departments at Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and Purdue University at West Lafayette indicated that 41% of the teaching assistants were ITAs, corresponding to national figures. By 1991, 17 states required institutions of higher education to certify the English language competency of their faculty before they enter the classroom. Two-thirds of those programs responsible for English proficiency of ITAs use structured or standardized tests to test for language competence. However, classroom communication goes considerably beyond the language competence of the instructor. Policymakers should not assume that English language proficiency is synonymous with the ITA's qualifications to communicate with a class. Even though ways have been developed and implemented to give some measurement of the prospective ITS's classroom abilities, those responsible for university-wide ITA screening should continue to refine their programs and interact more with faculty who have involvement in pedagogical and intercultural training. (One table of data and one table listing pedagogical training for teaching assistants in the three Indiana universities are included; 19 references are attached.) (RS)
Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Communication Research, Communicative Competence (Languages), English (Second Language), Foreign Students, Graduate Students, Higher Education, Intercultural Communication, Language Proficiency, Language Tests, Oral English, Screening Tests, Speech Communication, Teaching Assistants
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A