NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED534924
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 223
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-4502-9
The Development of Beliefs and Practices of Foreign Language Teaching Assistants
Martinez, Ambre Leigh
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington
This dissertation examines what graduate teaching assistants believe about teaching and learning a foreign language based on their prior experiences. Additionally, it examines how TAs' beliefs develop as they begin teaching and how their classroom practice is subsequently shaped. The participants were five first-year TAs in three different foreign language departments at a northwestern university. Drawing on teacher cognition theory and taking a social constructivist view of the process of learning to teach, semi-structured interviews and classroom observations were conducted throughout the course of the participants' first two quarters. Findings indicate that based on their prior experiences, both in and out of the classroom, the participants held beliefs that were consistent with the principles of communicative language teaching, although they did not all have a conception of how to enact their beliefs in the context of a university foreign language class. Their initial experiences as teachers and the professional contexts in which they worked provided varying levels of support and significantly shaped their beliefs and classroom practices, either facilitating or hindering their development of a communicative approach. Interactions with colleagues, professors, materials, and students appeared to have a greater effect on TAs' thoughts, actions, and decision-making in the classroom than did their prior experiences. This dissertation presents an initial working model to theorize the trajectory of TA development based on the amount of support they receive from their department and their exposure to a practical model that demonstrates how communicative language teaching can unfold in a real classroom. This study not only provides insight into what TAs believe and how they think about foreign language instruction; it also provides implications for practice for TA coordinators, teacher educators, and those charged with improving the quality of foreign language instruction at the undergraduate level. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A