Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Rebecca Adams

Committee Member

Rebecca RA Adams

Committee Member

Romy RG Ghanem

Committee Member

Lyn LW Wright


Abstract It has been shown in the past that International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) struggle with phonological and communication issues in the classroom (Pickering, 1999; 2001). This issue leads to misunderstandings between ITAs and undergraduate students, frustrating them both as well as the parents of the students and the departments. However, studies have shown that with the right training, ITAs can focus on suprasegmental features, improving their speech comprehensibility and intelligibility (Gorusch, 2011). This study investigates the effect of Computer Assisted Pronunciation Teaching (CAPT) via tutorial videos and visual feedback on the improvement of ITAs’ speech comprehensibility. Across 5 US universities, 60 Persian ITAs, a video group (n=20), a visual feedback group(n=21), and a control group (n=19), completed an oral production pretest and recorded five diagnostic sentences plus spontaneous speech files. Over the next six weeks, all groups received in-person non-CAPT instruction, but the video group received and watched extra eight tutorial videos designed to target suprasegmental features and the feedback group was exposed to Praat visual feedback. Participants were also paired with a pronunciation tutor who provided instruction and feedback once a week. A perception posttest was administered, and the same 5 sentences with the spontaneous talk were once again recorded. The pre-and post-treatment sentences were then rated by 169 undergraduate students for comprehensibility. The findings of this study provide a greater understanding of how explicit instruction of pronunciation through CAPT can improve the speech comprehensibility of ITAs. The number of international people in academic and professional contexts is rising, it is necessary to guide them through appropriate instruction to improve their communication quality. The results of this study suggest that even short intervention programs that include targeted in-person tutoring, tutorial videos, and visual feedback may improve ITAs’ communications. Results also imply the need for pronunciation support for ITAs in their respective academic institutions.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access