Investigation of international teaching assistants’ perceptions of their teaching self-efficacy and their understanding of culturally responsive teaching pedagogy : a case study.


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It has become a trend that U.S. universities depend more on international teaching assistants (ITAs) to teach introductory undergraduate level courses. However, many ITAs have complaints filed against them from U.S. undergraduates caused by issues related to ITAs’ language abilities, teaching skills, and cultural awareness. Previous research pointed out the importance of improving ITAs’ pedagogical skills and their teaching selfefficacy. The purpose of this descriptive case study was to describe how ITAs perceived their teaching self-efficacy at a U.S. university and how they understood the use of a culturally responsive teaching (CRT) pedagogy in classroom teaching. The participants in this study were purposefully selected from Chinese ITAs, who were doctoral students in the STEM fields, and had individually instructed a course or lab for at least one year at a U.S. university. Data were collected from two face-to-face semi-structured interviews, one focus group discussion and two reflective journals from the ITA participants. Gay’s definition of CRT and the categorization of four essential elements were used as the theoretical framework, and Bandura’s concept of teaching self-efficacy was also discussed in this study. Findings from the current study suggest that four factors would bring significant influence on ITAs’ teaching self-efficacy, ITAs partially applied CRT strategies in their teaching, and CRT could help increase ITAs’ teaching self-efficacy. Based on the research findings, the researcher also provided implications as well as recommendations to ITA program directors and faculty members from ITAs’ academic departments. Moreover, suggestions for future research focusing on ITAs’ teaching selfefficacy and use of CRT, and expansion on the current study were proposed by the researcher. Keywords: International teaching assistants (ITAs), teaching self-efficacy, culturally responsive teaching (CRT).



International teaching assistants (ITAs). Teaching self-efficacy. Culturally responsive teaching (CRT).