International Teaching Assistants Professional Identity Development in the United States: A Multiple Case Study Perspective

Hao Wang, Miguel Mantero


Informed by Critical Theory and Poststructuralist Theory and the intersections of power, ideology, identity, and language, this study investigated how three ITAs construct their professional identities as instructors at a US university. To gain an in-depth understanding of ITAs’ professional identities development, the researchers used a qualitative approach with a multi-case study design to examine various data and variables including a) undergraduates’ feedback to ITAs’ instruction and b) ITAs’ English language use in academic settings and its influence on their teaching. Through narrative analysis, the researchers analyzed data from interviews, classroom observations, and research journals. Findings suggest that students’ course evaluations and the ubiquity of native speaking norm influence the ITAs’ professional identity formation. As a result, the ITAs have become more concerned about how their English language could influence their teaching while backgrounding their expertise in the content knowledge.


professional identity; ITA; criticality; English language; knowledge production

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