Meeting the Needs of Foreign Language Teaching Assistants: Professional Development in American Universities

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/318794
Title:
Meeting the Needs of Foreign Language Teaching Assistants: Professional Development in American Universities
Author:
Angus, Katie Beth
Issue Date:
2014
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
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.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
professional development; teacher training; teaching assistants; technology; Second Language Acquisition & Teaching; foreign language
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Second Language Acquisition & Teaching
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Dupuy, Béatrice

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleMeeting the Needs of Foreign Language Teaching Assistants: Professional Development in American Universitiesen_US
dc.creatorAngus, Katie Bethen_US
dc.contributor.authorAngus, Katie Bethen_US
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractIn 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.en_US
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectprofessional developmenten_US
dc.subjectteacher trainingen_US
dc.subjectteaching assistantsen_US
dc.subjecttechnologyen_US
dc.subjectSecond Language Acquisition & Teachingen_US
dc.subjectforeign languageen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineSecond Language Acquisition & Teachingen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDupuy, Béatriceen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDupuy, Béatriceen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWarner, Chantelleen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberReinhardt, Jonathonen_US
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