Courses for International TAs

Courses for International TAs

Courses that satisfy the Test of Oral Proficiency (TOP) requirement for international graduate students who plan to be TAs:

  • ESL 310 (formerly ESL 38B): Pronunciation for ITAs

This course focuses on the accurate articulation of sounds, word stress, linking and other features of fluent spoken English, especially with respect to classroom language and key terms from one’s own field. There is an additional emphasis on comprehending the fast, casual, idiomatic speech of undergraduate students.

  • ESL 311 (formerly ESL 38A): Classroom Communication and Intonation for ITAs I

This course focuses on stress, rhythm, and intonation in the context of classroom discourse. Course materials are based on video recordings of actual TAs, selected and edited into a series of short video clips of specific teaching events. The videos and transcripts are used as models of the discourse patterns commonly used to introduce a syllabus, explain a visual, field questions, and interact in office hours.

  • ESL 312 (formerly ESL 39B): Classroom Communication and Intonation for ITAs II

This course focuses on essentially the same skills as ESL 211—stress, rhythm and intonation in the context of classroom discourse. Though the courses are titled I and II, ESL 211 is not a prerequisite for ESL 212. For students who need a longer time and multiple courses in order to acquire the linguistic competence to serve as a TA, ESL 212 (like ESL 211) provides models of actual TAs, linguistic support and structured practice. The classroom contexts in ESL 212 include building rapport with students, giving instructions, encouraging participation, and organizing a lesson effectively.

  • ESL 313 (formerly ESL 39C): Presentation and Discussion-Leading Skills for ITAs

This course focuses on communicating effectively as a TA with an emphasis on making technical subject matter accessible to undergraduates. The curriculum is almost entirely performance-based (and class sessions are video-recorded) after week 2. After viewing their video performances outside of class, students meet in small groups with the instructor to discuss each performance in depth.

Students who receive a “provisional” pass on the TOP exam are not eligible to teach until they are enrolled in or have completed one of these four oral skills courses. These courses can also be taken by students preparing for the TOP exam and by students who have received a failing score and need to improve their oral communication skills before retaking the exam.

If you have questions about these courses, please contact Janet Goodwin: