Dissertation Information for Shenghua Zha
- Shenghua Zha
- Library and Information Science
- University of Missouri (USA) (2006)
- Gail Fitzgerald
- Sanda Erdelez
- Denice Christine Adkins
- Julie A. Caplow
- Margaret Gunderson
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: The effects of a technology-supported training system on second language use strategies for international teaching assistants
Abstract: As previous studies suggested that ITA training should focus on communicative competence and the management of a repertoire of language strategies could result in the improvement of communicative competence, effective instructional methods are needed to empower international teaching assistants (ITAs) with language use strategies in order to improve their communicative competence when taking on teaching roles. Strategy-based instruction has been identified in some studies that could improve students' usage of language learning and use strategies. In addition, as possible solutions to the shortage of training experts and time in current ITA training programs in American colleges, online peer discussion and case-based learning have been found in a number of studies that can improve students' learning autonomy, allow them to learn to solve teaching problems and apply those solutions in real settings. However, the effectiveness of these instructional methods in ITA training program has not yet been identified in empirical studies.
The purpose of this quasi-experimental study is to investigate the effectiveness of online strategy-based instruction facilitated through case-based peer discussion. This study also seeks to find out whether ITAs' backgrounds would affect their changes of self-reported and observed usage of language use strategies. Quantitative data are collected via a demographic survey, and two sets of pre- and post-tests in ITAs' microteaching presentations. The two sets of pre- and post-tests focus on ITAs' presentation and active listening strategies respectively. Qualitative data are collected through online interviews for ITAs' reflections of their online learning experience.
Results of this study reveal that online strategy-based instruction facilitated through case-based peer interaction is at least as effective as face-to-face strategy-based instruction facilitated through case-based peer interaction in learning and using language use strategies. Analyses of relationship between ITAs' demographics and changes of their self-reported and observed usage of language use strategies show that ITAs' study experience in U.S. colleges had significant influence on their changes of observed usage of active listening strategies. Themes extracted from the online interviews suggest that strategy-based instruction in this informal online peer-supported case-based learning environment help ITAs to acquire language use strategies and develop abilities to solve teaching problems.
This study also provides recommendations for instructors in ITA training programs and implications for future researchers who are interested in technology-supported ITA training.