The current study is dedicated to explore the attitudes towards and experiences of varieties of English among undergraduate and graduate, multilingual, international Chinese students in a western Pennsylvanian university. The study utilizes both online survey and semi-structured interview to unfold different experiences and attitudes towards varieties of English in the world. Through the comparisons and contrasts of their experiences of diverse English prior to and after their arrivals to the United States, this study aims to discover more about what the students understand about the relative values of different kinds of English. The goal of this study is to deconstruct the concept of “standard” English, enhance equal recognition of varieties of English, and to reexamine the conception that varieties of English other than the “standard” one are substandard and stigmatizing.
A recent study by Nicholas Subtirelu (2015) illuminated bias ratings non-native English speaking professors received compared to native English speakers on the popular student evaluation website RateMyProfessor.com (RMP). Subtirelu found that mathematic teachers with common Korean or Chinese surnames received low scores for “clarity” and “helpfulness” compared to teachers with common U.S. last names, due to their accents. Since students sometimes use a professor’s ratings to select classes, are college students privileging native-English speaking American professors over non-native professors? This study will expand Subtirelu’s experiment by examining the productivity of native and non-native professors in all disciplines at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). The paper will discuss the outcome of the research study and the implication for how students select classes and use sites such as Rate My Professor.