Speaking skills or communication? : What undergraduate students say makes an effective international teaching assistant
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The researcher conducted a hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) analysis of 2,688 online mid-semester surveys of the students of international teaching assistants (ITAs) at the University of Missouri using eight independent variables (IVs) and "overall teaching effectiveness" as the dependent variable (DV). The researcher's hypothesis held that, contrary to the common perception, "speaking skills," one of the eight IVs, would prove not to be the most important component of an ITA's overall teaching effectiveness. Hypothesis confirmed, the researcher conducted 12 additional T-tests, HLM and ANOVA analyses to determine the IVs most strongly associated with the DV in such disaggregations of the data as ITAs grouped by TA role, by language level, and by language culture. The analyses consistently showed "communication of subject matter" as the most important IV, "speaking skills" never ranking higher than third in importance among the eight IVs tested. The researcher also conducted a qualitative analysis of the verbal survey data to divine the survey respondents' definition of "communication of subject matter."
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