ITA Workshop Content & Evaluation Procedures

Workshop Content

Specific Language Skills

  • Pronunciation (English consonants and vowels)
  • Pronunciation of key field-specific vocabulary
  • Stress and intonation patterns
  • Reduction, linking, rhythm

Classroom Language Tasks

  • Short practice videos, reading out loud, role-plays (lab, class and office) with native-English speaking students, introductions of self and syllabus, announcements

Presentation Topics

Evaluation Procedures

Initial oral evaluation

On the first day of the workshop, there will be an initial oral evaluation, usually 5-6 minutes long. During this evaluation, participants are:

  • asked some questions about themselves, their experiences, and fields of study
  • given a passage of text from their major field of study to be read aloud
  • asked to give a 2-3 minute prepared talk in which they define a field-specific term and tell why it is significant. This term will be assigned in the workshop's introductory session. (click here for a list of terms by academic discipline)

    Example topics:
    • Math: probability, linear equation
    • Chemistry: titration, reaction
    • Political Science: electorate, polity

SPEAK test

Midway through the workshop, all participants will take the SPEAK test, a locally administered version of the original TSE (Test of Spoken English). This test is taped and lasts 25 minutes. A spoken English test is required by state law.

Additional evaluation procedures

A performance test based on videotaped and non-videotaped microteaching presentations on assigned topics before an audience of workshop instructors and professors representing concerned academic departments is administered.

  • Self-evaluation based on videotapes and audience feedback
  • Instructor evaluation based on test performance
  • Department chairs and representatives are invited to view participants' presentations and have access to all evaluation documentation.
  • A listening test

No one test solely determines the outcome of the final evaluation of a participant's English proficiency or readiness for teaching U.S. undergraduates. Rather, all of the information gathered in the evaluation procedures described in the foregoing text are considered when making a recommendation to each participant's department at the end of the workshop.

Recommendations Sent to Academic Departments Following the Workshop

Students approved to teach are permitted to work insofar as it is reasonable at a given level of proficiency.

Students not approved to teach have two options (see below) and should continue training in spoken English.

  • ESL 5310 (Spoken English Fluency) - offered for prospective ITAs during both long semesters
  • ESL 5312 (Academic Communication for ITAs) - offered to higher-scoring prospective ITAs whose departments agree to a supervised, team-building arrangement in their departments for the ITA candidate. Offered every Fall semester.
  • Repeat the workshop the following summer

Students not approved to teach may not perform instructional duties until qualified by a new evaluation. "Instructional duties" include duties as lab assistants.

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