NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED569052
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 230
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-8386-6
Meeting the Needs of Foreign Language Teaching Assistants: Professional Development in American Universities
Angus, Katie
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Arizona
In our post-9/11 globalized society, the bifurcated governance structure that has traditionally dominated foreign language (FL) departments is no longer desirable. According to the 2007 Modern Language Association (MLA) report entitled "Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World," these departments need to strive to create "educated speakers who have deep translingual and transcultural competence" (p. 3). Whereas the report outlined in detail the implications this goal would have on undergraduate education, it made only two references to FL graduate students: programs should "provide substantive training in language teaching and in the use of new technologies" (p. 7) and should "enhance and reward graduate student training" (p. 8). This relative lack of attention is indicative of an undervaluation of graduate student teaching and professional development, despite the substantial percentage of university-level instruction provided by FL Teaching Assistants (TAs) (Laurence, 2001) now and in the foreseeable future. The goal of this dissertation is to better understand the current state of TA professional development, by exploring the perspectives of the TAs themselves. Previous studies (e.g., Brandl, 2000; Gonglewski & Penningroth, 1998) have surveyed and interviewed TAs about their professional development experiences. The present study updates and expands upon these studies, both in the scope of the questions asked and the range of participants. The first article explores the place and role of technology in the professional development of TAs by using data from the syllabi of teaching methodology courses (N = 31). The second article uses data from online questionnaires (N = 94) and Skype interviews (N = 16) to understand what TAs think they need to be successful in their current and future teaching positions, what professional development opportunities they participate in, and which factors limit their participation in some of them. The last article presents data from the same questionnaires and interviews about which professional development opportunities TAs consider to be helpful, what they find helpful about each activity, and what recommendations they have for improved professional development. All three studies address implications for graduate student education. [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