New International Teaching Assistant Courses for the Fall 2007 and Spring 2008

Fall 2007 Semester:

ESL 125 Teachniques of Oral Communication
Builds confidence by improving intelligibility through detailed and systematic focus on American English vowel and consonant sounds as well as on patterns of rhythm, stress, and intonation. Integrates grammatical forms and academic vocabulary. Provides listening and speaking practice on the sentence level and on longer spoken discourse in both the classroom and the computer language lab, support by a specialized software program. Helps students to evaluate and monitor their speech. Classroom activities include giving short formal academic presentations and informal classroom conversation and discussion.

ESL 290A Conversation Strategies in the Classroom - 3 credits
Develops informal conversational speaking fluency and listening comprehension for the fast, reduced speech typical of American classrooms. Helps students ask and answer questions effectively in the classroom, in the lab, and during office hours. Increases accuracy of pronunciation. With a focus on drama techniques, improves stress, rhythm, and intonation. Provides analysis and practice in academic oral grammar and appropriate vocabulary use. Provides micro-teaching practice and evaluation. Although designed primarily for International Teaching Assistants, other interested students may enroll. Recommended SPEAK Score: 40 or 45.

Spring 2008 Semester:

ESL 290B Speaking Strategies for Presentations and Discussion - 3 credits
Focuses on the formal language skills, cultural awareness, and delivery skills required for solving high-level problems in giving formal presentations as well as leading and participating in discussions and seminars. Classroom activities include viewing and listening to recorded lectures, giving prepared oral presentations, and simulating class discussions in the various disciplines. Develops speaking skills and listening comprehension. Increases oral grammar, appropriate vocabulary use, and cross-cultural awareness. Provides micro-teaching practice and evaluation. Although designed primarily for International Teaching Assistants, other interested students may enroll. Recommended SPEAK Score: 45 or above.
Course Goals
The goal is for American students to feel confident that they can understand what their teachers say and that they can effectively learn course material as presented by their ITAs. The goal is also for international graduate students to feel confident about their linguistic proficiency in English, intercultural and communicative competencies, and teaching performance in the university setting. With this confidence resulting from improved overall language and teaching skills, ITAs are better positioned to become, after they earn their graduate degrees, sought-after professionals in the workplace. In this way, they will reflect the outstanding reputation of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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