NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1143639
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Pages: 34
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0167-8507
Students' Orientations to Communication across Linguistic Difference with International Teaching Assistants at an Internationalizing University in the United States
Subtirelu, Nicholas Close
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v36 n3 p247-280 May 2017
Institutions of higher education (HEIs) in English-speaking countries have been engaged in internationalization for decades. Among the many factors driving their internationalization are commitments to increasing and celebrating diversity as well as a desire to foster cross-cultural cooperation. Nonetheless, the linguistic diversity of their multi-national student body and faculty poses challenges for HEIs, including the decades-old controversy surrounding international teaching assistants (ITAs) in the United States. Despite their commitments to respecting diversity, HEIs have generally adopted a deficit approach to ITAs' language, framing it as "flawed" and attributing communication problems to those "flaws". I argue that, despite its more nuanced understanding of the issue, applied linguistics has adopted an implicit politics complicit with this dominant framing which leads researchers to ignore the student's role in ITA-student communication. In response, I propose an alternative approach grounded in critical sociolinguistics. Working from this perspective, I examine students' discourse about their international instructors, arguing that their statements suggest contrasting orientations to communication across linguistic difference. Some students seek to cooperate with their international instructors, while others prefer to avoid them. I examine their justifications for these orientations in detail and discuss implications for higher education policy.
De Gruyter Mouton. Available from: Walter de Gruyter, Inc. 121 High Street, Third Floor, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 857-284-7073; Fax: 857-284-7358; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A