Chinese undergraduate students' preference for Chinese teaching assistants and American teaching assistants in the U.S. context

Ruochen Li, Purdue University


This study researches and compares Chinese undergraduate students' (N=70) perceptions of and preferences for American TAs and Chinese TAs, and identifies factors that play significant roles in influencing Chinese students' perceptions and preferences. Multiple independent variables were measured, including age; gender; years at Purdue; years in the U.S.; GPA; overall TOEFL score; experiences with Chinese TAs; effectiveness of Chinese TAs; effectiveness of American TAs; English ability of Chinese TAs; and native speaker preference, ethnic identity, and level of acculturation, among which ethnic identity and level of acculturation are the major variables the current study aims to examine. Preference for Chinese TAs and preference for American TAs are the dependent variables. Two validated scales, the Multigroup Measure of Ethnic Identity - Revised (Phinney and Ong, 2006) and the Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale (Suinn, Rickard-Figueroa, Lew, and Vigil, 1987), were used to measure participants' ethnic identity and level of acculturation respectively. English ability of Chinese TAs and effectiveness of Chinese TAs are found to be positive factors influencing the sample's preference for Chinese TAs. On the other hand, native speaker preference and level of acculturation negatively affect the sample's choice of Chinese TAs. Quite surprisingly, native speaker preference is the only factor that has a significant positive correlation with the sample's preference for American TAs. Contradictory to the existing literature, ethnic identity was not found to be significantly related with either of the dependent variables.




Roberts, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Linguistics|Asian Studies|Educational psychology|Ethnic studies

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