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ERIC Number: ED411684
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 35
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Cultural and Pragmatic Miscues: A Case Study of International Teaching Assistant and Academic Faculty Miscommunication.
Jenkins, Susan
A study explored communication patterns between Chinese international teaching assistants (ITAs) and faculty in a university mathematics department. Nine experienced faculty, selected because they had expressed opinions about ITAs' needs, and seven ITAs participated. The ITAs had all met the mathematics department's language proficiency test requirements, and had been through an intensive English training program. Data were gathered through unstructured or semi-structured interviews with faculty and ITAs, student journals, classroom observation of ITA and faculty teaching, and written evaluations of ITA teaching by a mathematics faculty supervisor. Results indicate that while faculty held ITAs' mathematics proficiency in high regard, they attributed negative causes to their behavior outside the realm of mathematics. ITAs' polite deference and concern for maintaining face for unequal- status interactions was manifested as silence and avoidance in formal contacts with faculty, within and outside the classroom. Faculty interpreted this behavior as lack of motivation, isolationism, and unwillingness to cooperate in ITA instructional assignments or in improving English skills. The students attributed their own behavior to stressful situational pressures and to the mixed messages they received from faculty about the amount of time they should devote to English. Implications for ITA training are discussed. Contains 40 references. (Author/MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A