"Not a Lick of English": Constructing the ITA Identity Through Student Narratives

Fred Fitch, Susan E. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Universities commonly rely upon International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) to teach basic courses. This use of ITAs is a considerable benefit to universities; however, there is substantial evidence to suggest that undergraduate students quite often object to being taught and graded by ITAs. If universities and their academic departments wish to foster a more productive learning environment for undergraduates who are taught by ITAs, it is vitally important that the ITAs be better prepared for this important teaching task. In this paper, we describe a narrative analysis of the stories of 25 undergraduate students. The study reveals that students have coherent, shared narratives of their experiences of ITAs. Based on an analysis of the narratives, we offer a number of positive suggestions for the development of more effective training for ITAs to teach courses at the undergraduate level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-310
Number of pages14
JournalCommunication Education
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Identity construction
  • Instructional communication
  • Intercultural communication
  • International teaching assistant
  • Narrative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics


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