The International Teaching Assistant is a graduate student within the university whose job is to assist the professor in a given course. They have teaching duties including class preparation. they prepare quizzes. they may assist in writing examination questions for midterms and finals. they correct papers. they grade exams. and have office hours to tutor students in the class (ITA Handbook, February, 2005).
It is beneficial for the U.S.A. students since they may not necessarily interact with other students beyond their ethnic group (Gravois, 2006. Academic Culture in the U.S.A. (ND)). Nathal (2005) states that, “In an ideal classroom, both the student and teacher would be enriched by the other’s cultural experiences. However. rather than being a seamless union, classrooms and labs have often become the sites of cultural collisions, marked by confusion over pronunciation, word usage and social customs”.
The attitude of the American students, in general, is very negative. They claim that they do not understand the ITA and that the ITA does not understand them. This leads to communication problems to the extent that State Representative Bette Grande from Fargo, North Dakota proposed a bill “…to prod public institutions of higher education…”. Under her bill the students have the right to withdraw from a class without academic or financial penalty if the students complained in writing that her/his instructor did not “speak English clearly and with good pronunciation” (Gravois, April, 2005).
Ms. Liu who flew from Shanghai, China to Fargo was on her way to begin a Ph.D. in communication at North Dakota State. She said that during the number of battery tests she was submitted to for language proficiency, she was treated equally compared to other incoming graduate students. It was ten days later that she felt out of place when she noticed