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International teaching assistants’ initiation of negotiations in engineering labs

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This study explores nonnative English‐speaking teaching assistants’ interactional practices in engineering labs. Specifically, this study examines how the international teaching assistants (ITAs) initiate meaning negotiation while interacting with native English‐speaking undergraduate students. The data for the study consist of 415 minutes of video‐recorded interactions between four ITAs and undergraduate students in the engineering labs of an American university. The qualitative, discourse‐driven analysis of the data revealed that the ITAs, initiating negotiations on the students’ turn, employed various unspecific initiators (e.g. ‘what?’) which were least effective in locating a problem. Initiation of negotiations occurred in multiples and was delayed. The findings highlight the importance of second language interactional competence, specifically the knowledge of how to handle a problem in the context of an engineering lab. . , . , 415 . , ( ‘what?) . . 2 , .
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Keywords: 2; L2 interactional competence; engineering education; nonnative English‐speaking teaching assistants; unspecific meaning negotiation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2016

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