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International TA Candidates Approved to Teach After Taking New ESL Course

IN SPRING 2013, A PILOT ESL COURSE in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures saw all of its participants approved to teach by semester's end. The course, Academic Communication for International Teaching Assistants (ESL 5312), is based on the Theory of Deliberate Practice, which states that adult learners improve most in a skill if they self-determine what they need to improve and devise personally satisfactory means of improving on those specific skills.

IN THE NEW COURSE, INTERNATIONAL teaching assistant (ITA) candidates were placed into team-teaching partnerships within their academic departments, i.e. teaching observations in a chemistry lab. They assisted in teaching U.S. undergraduates once a week. Three to four times per semester they were observed by the ESL 5312 instructor and her TAs, and given specific, direct feedback on aspects of their teaching and classroom communication they needed to improve.

BASED ON THE FEEDBACK, THE ITA candidates self-selected the areas on which to focus their improvement; and they used their weekly team-teaching as an opportunity to practice and improve. At the end of the semester, all course participants were approved to teach, based on independently administered and scored performance tests.

2013 ITA Summer Workshop July 22-Aug. 9

See Texas Tech's ITA program Web site for information on the 2013 ITA Summer Workshop, as well as a link to a Web page showcasing Workshop instructors and teaching assistants along with recorded greetings from them.

More About Tech's ITA Program

THE ITA TRAINING PROGRAM at Texas Tech comprises an active and nationally visible center of ITA development research.

  • ESL 5310 (Spoken English Fluency) and ESL 5312 (Academic Communication for International Teaching Assistants) are two of the few ITA preparation courses in the United States taught by full time doctoral-level or advanced-degree faculty members and researchers with a combined 80 years of ESL teaching experience worldwide.
    Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Second Language Studies, teaches ESL 5312
    Instructor of Applied Linguistics and ESL, teaches ESL 5310, as well as TTU's academic writing course for international graduate students
    Instructor of ESL, teaches ESL 5310