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College Students' Perception Of Teaching Effectiveness in In

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Cierra Love Baker

on 31 March 2014

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Transcript of College Students' Perception Of Teaching Effectiveness in In

College Students' Perception Of Teaching Effectiveness in Instructors with Accents

Statement of the Problem
To present data related to college students’ perception of faculty with accents

To introduce an initiative to get students talking about communication in the classroom (Inside the Student’s Studio)


Thirteen focus group discussions
Trained student facilitators
Identical questions and format
Surveyed students
How do you feel a professor with an accent affects your academic performance?
What is your responsibility in understanding a professor that has an accent that is difficult to understand?
How do you go about selecting the courses and professors you register for?
Do you think professors with accents should only teach certain classes?
How do you approach a professor with an accent?
What advice do you have for faculty (and/or the university)?
What advice do you have for students?
Twenty-six item survey instrument
Six questions – demographics
Twelve questions – teaching
Eight questions - learning
n = 141 students

Cultural Competence (2014). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Retrieved from http://www.asha.org

Iberie, C. (2004). Foreign professors cultivate Seattle campus. The Spectator. Retrieved from http://spectator-online.com/

Ruben, D. L. (1992). Nonlanguage factors affecting undergraduates’ judgments of nonnative English-speaking teaching assistants. Research in higher education, 33, 511-531.

Cierra Baker, B.S., Beth Heringer, B.S., and Cait Plage Robertson, B.S.

Iris Johnson Arnold, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Owen Johnson, Ph.D.
College Students Perception Of Teaching Effectiveness in Instructors with Accents
Offices involved/funding provided by:
Student Affairs, Office of Diversity and Title III
TSU students voiced complaints concerning difficulty understanding professors with foreign accents
a distinctive mode of pronunciation of a language, especially one associated with a particular nation, locality or social class
Adults award accents from their own area more positive descriptions and fewer negative ones (Harris Poll, 2011)
Processing an unfamiliar accent takes more time and effort (Adank, Evans, Stuart-Smith, & Scott, 2009)
In 2002, Michigan senator proposed idea that students should be reimbursed for a class if they are unable to understand their professor (McPherson, 2002)
Serious consequences for frustrated students who may perform poorly or avoid some fields altogether because of trouble understanding lecturers (Schevitz, 1999)
Successful communication between faculty and students is critical in teaching and learning
Results: Focus Groups
Student facilitators
13 trained graduate and undergraduate students
68 SGA leaders and resident advisors
17 First Year
11 Athletics
8 African Student Association
6 Honors Program
8 Latin Student Association
TOTAL n= 141
13 Focus Groups with a variety of subcultures
What effect did the instructor’s accent have on the conveying of information?
81% of students surveyed indicated that the instructor’s
accent affected the way the information was conveyed.
*Faculty should undergo training process about the students and university before they begin teaching.
Research indicates that many students say that they appreciate the diversity of their campus and often enjoy the different accents (Schevitz, 1999).
Students travelled abroad vs Students w/no travel
47 of students that travelled and 46 of the students that did not travel felt that faculty with accents bring a wealth of knowledge to the classroom
Six students (who traveled) did not agree
41 were neutral
As a student, I should have a choice between having a foreign instructor or native English speaking instructor:

33 of students that travelled and 40 of the students that did not travel felt they should have a choice
15 students (who traveled) and 5 who did not said they
do not have to be given a choice
48 were neutral
Significant difference; p=.014

The majority of the students who did not travel outside the country agreed that they should have a choice
Comparison: Students By Classification
To meet with my instructor who speaks with an accent:
No significant difference between the classes
Comparison: Students By Classification
University’s responsibility to ensure my understanding of the coursework :
No significant difference between the classes
How do you feel a professor with an accent affects your academic performance?
What is your responsibility in understanding a professor that has an accent that is difficult to understand?
How do you go about selecting the courses and professors you register for?
“The student will try to talk to classmates and learn the info”
Does not affect academic performance much”
“Asking a professor to repeat themselves will not impact their performance –especially if the professor is knowledgeable”
“Sometimes it can make it better because you pay attention more”
“Just drop the class”
“I changed my major from engineering because of this”
“I just stop going to class”
“It’s unfair to the student”
“The accent can have a negative effect especially if the professor is unwilling to compromise”
“Professors shouldn’t teach if they have accents, how did they pass the interviews?”
“It can make a difference between being successful and failing at something the student is passionate about”
“There should be an equal responsibility (student & instructor)”
“Get professors with accents to write things down”
“Talk to professor; Ask a lot of questions before, during, after class”
“Read the chapter material ahead of time and talk to professor to gain clarity”; “Read textbooks”
Student’s responsibility is “to remain respectful, to talk to them one on one during office hours, to get outside help from teacher aides.”
Students MUST evaluate teacher
If student fails to do so, place hold on their account
Before they can register, a reminder code is sent
Grades won’t be received
Advice from academic advisors/advisement center
They consider the reputation of the professor; accent plays a role but the instructors reputation is more important
Use the university catalog
It doesn’t affect students in registering for classes
Talk to that professor who teaches the class
Research teachers
How the professors relate to their students
Accent has nothing to do with it
Ask friends
"Rate My Professor.com"
"Russian roulette" - "Take what you get"
“If the professor has accent, then I won’t take the class”
“If the professor’s name sounds foreign, I won’t register for a class”
"Students are warned about taking a professor"
"Look for someone you can understand"
"No choice at upper level"
"Ask friends"
Instructors’ accent effect on teaching the information
Students' responsibility to reach out to faculty
Students surveyed were divided on university's responsibility
Focus groups and surveys recommendation
Intercultural sensitization for undergraduates must complement skills training for {instructors who speak with an accent} (Rubin, 1992)
Student appreciation of wealth of knowledge and diversity that faculty from other cultures bring to the classroom
“While having a diverse student body is good, a diverse faculty is perhaps even more invaluable. As a college education is meant to open students’ minds ” (Iberie 2004).
Did questions really get to the heart of teaching and learning?
TSU population effect on generalization results
Speech and language have so many layers, it is difficult to completely address the communication and accent factors
Future Directions
Engage more students in dialogue
Commercials on campus television monitors
Train the trainer
Academic Advising
Skit/video presentation for all incoming freshman
New Student Orientation
Develop diversity module
University 1000 curriculum
Jennifer Dilbert
Johnecia Gallaird
Lauren Phillips
Lauren Prather
Mada Bahadi
Mazi Byrd
Montrell Wood
Rachel Price
Sherry'ce Butler
Simone Tunstall
Stephanie Austin
Stephen Iwuozo
Student Facilitators
Adriann Wilson
Amelia Dap
Beth Heringer
Cait Plage
Chareva McCullough
Charles Payne
Cierra Love Baker
Dalila Duarte
DesTriney Fleming
Erin Malone
Isabella Kearney
Jamel Simmons
Jatoia Potts
Full transcript